Emilie Broughton Real Estate Blog

Home Buying Tips for Unmarried Couples

According to the U.S. Census Bureau the number of unmarried partners living together nearly tripled in the past 20 years. There are some special financial and practical considerations for couples of all ages who want to buy a home together but have no interest in getting married.

  • How do you know if you and your partner are ready to buy a house?
  • Who should apply for the mortgage?
  • Who should hold the title to the house?
  • What if we break up?
  • What are the tax benefits?

Readiness:  How will repairs, taxes, and other home expenses be handled? Financial advisors recommend a joint bank account, dedicated to house expenses, such as repairs.

Mortgage-holder:  If the couple breaks up, this person will be solely responsible for the debt. Should this be the person with the highest income?  If the couple applies together, with both incomes and debts combined, the lowest of the two FICO scores will be used.

Title-holder:  Of more importance to buyers 65 and older, this can play a crucial role if one partner dies.  Tenants in common tends to be one of the most common forms of holding title, but if a deceased partner doesn’t name the surviving partner as the beneficiary of the dwelling, the survivor could be co-owner with the late partner’s relatives or heirs. 

Break-up:  Some options are a forced sale, or one partner can buy out the other.  A partnership agreement spelling our rights and obligations of each partner to the dwelling is recommended.

Tax benefits:  If one partner itemizes and claims the mortgage interest, property taxes, and all other allowable deductions, the other can take a standard deduction—this would maximize deductions over what a married couple can claim.

It is worth talking to a financial planner to resolve these issues when contemplating homeownership.

Estate planning is important and I would be happy to connect you with professionals to discuss a plan that works for your situation.

Based on ‘Couples say “We Do’ to owning homes.”  Wall Street Journal, November 4, 2020, p. B5.

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About Emilie

A transplant from the Pacific Northwest, Emilie has first-hand knowledge of the ins-and-outs of first-time home ownership and remodeling. She has become involved in the local art community and all the diversity Southern California has to offer and more recently has expanded her knowledge to include New Mexico.

Emilie’s passion to be involved in her community led her to become a licensed Realtor and Broker.  She continues to educate herself on different aspects of real estate to support clients with a variety of needs.  She is certified as a Military Relocation Professional (MRP) to work with U.S. Service families and veterans to find affordable housing solutions.

Having worked for both a small boutique firm and a company with a global presence, in 2023 she formed Emilie Broughton Real Estate to work with buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants in California and New Mexico.

Splitting her time between the Land of Enchantment and the Golden State, Emilie focuses on Los Angeles County and the Greater Albuquerque metro area, helping her clients achieve their real estate goals in both Mountain and Pacific Time Zones.

Emilie represented her region as a California Real Estate State Director for three years.  She has served as President of the Pasadena Foothills Association of Realtors and is a multi-year recipient of the Five-Star Real Estate Professionals Award for the outstanding service she provides to her clients.

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