How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Kara K. Your Own Question

Kara K.
Kara K., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 185
Experience:  14 years experience as a real estate attorney - licensed in 3 states
9162015
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Kara K. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I want to buy a house with my girlfriend. Were not ...

Resolved Question:

I want to buy a house with my girlfriend. We''re not married and don''t want to be, but we both want to make sure we''re protected. What do we need to do and what benefits are we missing out on by not being married?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Kara K. replied 6 years ago.
Hello, and thanks for contacting Just Answer,

You ask a very good question, and one that other people should ask more!

When you own property as joint owners, you each own a 50% interest (unless you designate a different percentage in the conveyance). This is not a problem when both people contribute about that percentage to the expenses - including the down payment, the mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, improvements, maintenance, etc...

The problem arises when one person contributes more than 50% and then they split up and the person who contributed more feels the situation is unfair. When a property is sold, everything is paid off and the balance should be split 50/50. This might seem unfair if one of the parties contributed 75% but only gets 50% of the sale proceeds. Or, as happened recently, one person gave the entire down payment on the house and wanted to get it back.

It is a good idea to consult with an attorney to have a contract drawn up which will determine how the proceeds of the house will be split in the event you and your girlfried split up. In that contract, you will also address how one person who may have contributed more to the purchase price will be paid out. It's always best to have everything worked out in advance. The cost of an attorney now will save you much more if there is a dispute in the future.

Another thing to think about - if one of you has credit problems, owes lots of money (such as high student loans), that person's creditors can obtain judgments and liens on the house. Also, the IRS can put a lien on the house for any delinquent taxes - so can the state. So, if those might be concerns, it would be better to have only one of you on the title of the house.

If you are married, you can take title to property as "Tenants by the Entirety" (TE). That is only available to married couples. Unmarried couples would take title as Joint Tenants (JT). The two types are very similar but the TE has added benefits - the creditors of one spouse cannot foreclose on the house for unpaid debts or judgments. But, if JT, a creditor could actually petition the court to sell the house to pay the judgment of one of the owners. Both tenancies allow the survivor to get full ownership if the other person passes away.

I hope this information helps - please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.

Kara K., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 185
Experience: 14 years experience as a real estate attorney - licensed in 3 states
Kara K. and 4 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Last | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4813
    16 years of legal experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/lawpro/2012-6-25_171315_PT206740s.64x64.jpg Law Pro's Avatar

    Law Pro

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6227
    20 years extensive experience in real estate law, foreclosure, finance, and landlord tenant law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/barristerinky/2012-6-10_22423_office.64x64.jpg Barrister's Avatar

    Barrister

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4966
    13 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 24+ years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    4446
    I've more than 27 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/rayanswers/2012-6-7_23346_Untitled1.64x64.jpg Ray's Avatar

    Ray

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    4030
    Texas Attorney for 29 years dealing in real estate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2377
    12+ yrs. of experience including real estate law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/mnphillips2/2009-03-13_203105_10984459-249293407.jpeg Phillips Esq.'s Avatar

    Phillips Esq.

    Attorney-at-Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2355
    B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Real Estate Lawyer
Kara K.
Kara K.
Real Estate Lawyer
185 Satisfied Customers
14 years experience as a real estate attorney - licensed in 3 states