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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Hello, I am engaged to be married June 2014. I currently

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I am engaged to be married June 2014. I currently rent an apartment with my fiance, but our lease is up at the end of February and they will not let us keep the same monthly rate if we extend it until the wedding. My fiance wants to buy a house together before we are married in June and I am afraid it might be a bad decision financially. I am getting mixed opinions on this topic, and want to know what the best decision would be, preferably from a professional. Please help me out.

Thank you,


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. Congratulations!

Buying the house together before the wedding will only present problems if only one of you puts a name on the loan/title or you do not go through with the wedding. If you buy the property together, you are each 50% owners. If you should split up, you would each be entitled to 50% of the property. If you are not married and only one of you is listed on the home, then the home is the sole and separate property of that spouse and the other spouse may have trouble obtaining part of the home if they later divorce.

When a married couple buys a house together, they can title it as "Tenants by the Entireties." Only married couples can take advantage of this form of home ownership. It means that a creditor of only one spouse cannot touch the property. It is possible to execute a deed after you are married transferring the deed from John Doe and Jane Doe, as joint tenants to John Doe and Jane Doe, as tenants by the entirety. The need deed would be recorded with the county and would offer the same protections as if you were married before the property were purchased.

One solution to this dilemma may be to go to the courthouse before your lease is up, have the marriage done, and then proceed with the purchase. Another option is to sign a prenuptial agreement before the home is purchased stating that the home is considered marital property and will be split equally between the two of you if you ever divorce. You could agree that one spouse would add the other to the title later, but a signed prenuptial agreement provides more protection.

If your concern is that buying the house before the wedding will eat up funds set aside for the wedding, require that you downsize the wedding, or leave you unable to pay unexpected wedding expenses, that's a little different. Those are valid concerns. In that case, you'd want to go over your finances in detail with your fiance so he understands why it's a problem. You may also want to consider whether you can find a month-to-month rental for a lower price from February until after the wedding when you're ready to buy.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for going into detail on that. My main concerns were if we were to split up or if one of us died while we owned the house unmarried. I worry that in the case of one of us dying, the other would have to take on their share of the house and I read somewhere that you cannot sell it right away if that happened. What I really don't want is something happening between February and the wedding in June and one of use having a huge amount of financial debt because we bought the house before we were married. People were saying it's a bad decision because of this.

I guess you would recommend the prenuptial stating what would happen if these cases were to occur.

I know these situations are unlikely to occur within that short amount of time, but I just want to be certain we are making a decision we won't regret later.




If you're both on the title as joint tenants and one of you dies before you married, the other becomes solely responsible for the home, just as if one of you dies after the marriage. If only one of you is on the title and that person dies before the marriage, the property would go to any children the person has, or his parents - the remaining person would have no claim to it. That could be avoided by getting a will that states who gets to keep the house.

A prenuptial agreement only speaks at the time of divorce, so a separate will would be needed. You may also want to see if the bank offers any sort of life insurance that can be used to pay the loan in the event of the death of either of you. That's good protection, whether you're married or not.

It is always good to plan for things like unexpected death. Don't feel like you have to apologize. It's better to have a plan and be prepared for something you never need to worry about than to need a plan and not have one.

I have an appointment, but if you have more questions, I'm happy to answer them when I return.
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