March 21, 2019 at 6:35 pm #838014
We’ve had a joint checking account since we started living together, then when we got married, we got joint versions of all the accounts – savings, investment, etc. We’re also authorized users on almost all our credit cards and I use YNAB to budget so I get a deep dive on our spending – the husband’s got access to it but usually doesn’t look (he’s in charge of investments). Our pre-marriage money is separate, but the money we make now goes straight into our joint account. It worked well then with one joint account and it works well now with more. We also got a prenup.March 22, 2019 at 8:04 am #838039
@portia – did one of you enter the marriage with significantly more money than the other or you just wanted to protect yourselves with a prenup? How did that conversation go with each other?March 27, 2019 at 10:03 am #838977
Could I get some thoughts on couples buying a property before marriage or even engagement? Did any of you do it? My immediate reaction is always “Oh wow”. I just think of how it could be messy. But in my limited circle of friends and acquaintances, fairly educated, the people who bought places did get engaged and married later. Of course every couple is different and they likely had a serious conversation. I’m just not sure why I have a traditional view, initially at least.March 27, 2019 at 10:14 am #838978
@hfantods My mom always says it’s easier to get out of a marriage than it is to get out of a mortgage. I purchased my home while single and the only way I’d refinance and put it in both our names is after marriage. Personal preference but I’m not making any purchases that big unless we are married.March 27, 2019 at 10:15 am #838979
I did not, and don’t think I would. I think you’d have to KNOW you have a strong future together and either be engaged and planning a wedding OR know that marriage isn’t for you but you’re completely committed. And hire a lawyer to write up a contract. Because if the relationship ends, how are you going to get your money out of the house? How are you going to handle things like upgrades and repairs.
And most importantly I guess, WHY would you decide to make the huge legal commitment of purchasing property together before the commitment in your relationship is there?March 27, 2019 at 10:34 am #838982
I wouldn’t do it. The couples I know who are unmarried but living together in a home that is owned, the deed is only in one person’s name (the person who bought it while still single/before they lived together).
Anecdotally, an old coworker of mine owned a house that she bought while she was single. She didn’t want to sell her house and purchase a new one with her then-boyfriend unless he proposed. He was dragging his feet on a proposal for the entire two+ years we worked together. She sold her house and bought with him anyway. They broke up not too long after moving into their new, shared house. It was a mess, legally and emotionally. And they were stuck living in the house together hating each other for a bit.March 27, 2019 at 10:40 am #838984
I am not sure I would want to buy a house with someone I wasn’t at least engaged to. I own my home and when my ex-boyfriend moved in with me we had a landlord-tenant agreement. We shared some expenses such as the bills, groceries and things that could be easily split up if we broke up, and I paid for anything permanent in the house. If we had stayed together we agreed that when we got married we would buy another house together and it would be in both our names, but I wouldn’t put him on anything that had to do with this house. I am so glad we did it that way since we eventually broke up, it made things a lot less messy and we were able to cut ties pretty much right away.March 27, 2019 at 10:45 am #838985
I’m with everyone else. Don’t buy a house together unless you’re engaged and planning a wedding, or as Kate mentioned, you’ve discussed your long term plans/commitment with one another and you also talk to a lawyer/protect yourselves.
Thinking back, I don’t know any one of my friends or family members who purchased a home together until they were engaged. I know a few who moved in together prior to engagement and rented. I also know a couple of people where one owned a home or condo, like Ver’s situation.
I think it’s a smart move to not entangle yourself financially unless there is an extremely strong commitment.March 27, 2019 at 10:52 am #838987
Just anecdotally, while I was separated and in the process of divorcing, I bought – from my parents – the condo that my first husband and I were living in (they had put the down payment on it and we were paying them the mortgage payments). Then, my dad figured out what my husband’s share of the equity in the condo would be, and wrote him a check for that amount. And the agreement was that my husband would agree in divorce court that we didn’t own any assets that needed to be divided.
So I mean, what if my dad wasn’t in the picture to write him that check? What would I do? Sell the condo and forfeit the opportunity to have it keep growing equity? Write my husband an IOU? No idea.March 27, 2019 at 11:29 am #838992
BOF* and I bought our condo together while we were engaged but not yet married. We wrote up a contract basically saying that we would agree to sell the condo and get back what we put into it.
Even though it worked out for us, I am with everyone else in thinking that it’s a bad idea to do before you are married. The economic advantages of home ownership are greatly overstated. If you are not ready to be married, you shouldnt buy a a house together. The house is in some ways harder to disentangle.
*BOFMarch 27, 2019 at 11:30 am #838993
BOF=Bride of Fyodor, though she was at the time, but his fiance.March 27, 2019 at 12:01 pm #838999
I usually lurk now but just chiming in to say my husband and I bought our first condo before we were engaged. We were already planning to have a wedding that year with a short engagement so we started house hunting, and we found something sooner than we realized. I put down all of the down payment and we had a lawyer draw a contract up to protect myself. The night we got the keys, we did a walk through, and he proposed. We’ve been married 5 years now and I Was confident in my relationship, but I agree it’s a risky choice to make. I would not live together for years in a jointly owned home without marriage. One couple we know are actually breaking up now and it’s a mess because they had nothing in place to plan for a breakup.