Jaco Rademeyer Estates explains love and the mortgage - Seven essential tips for couples buying property together

AUGUST 15, 2016

Couples in committed relationships often have to decide whether to shop for the sparkly engagement ring, or to rather go for something equally shiny and precious - keys to a new home.

Where a couple chooses to purchase a property, one must consider that married couples are protected by the body of law, which indeed protects their rights should their marriage be dissolved. However, unmarried couples are faced with a situation where the law is not exactly clear.

Couples should consider the following tips before buying property together;

1. Be transparent - I suggest that, should you and your partner seek to purchase your dream home, have an honest discussion of each other’s financial history. When it comes to qualifying for a mortgage, your salary, credit card debt, savings are all on the table. Therefore, it is crucial to disclose this information that could possibly prevent you from obtaining a low rate on a home loan.

2. It is advisable to have the property registered in both parties’ names so that each would individually own a registered right in immovable property. The acquisition of property (whether held by them individually or only by one owner) could attract adverse tax implications.

3. You and your partner, as purchasers, should calculate what you can afford or what you are willing to spend and furthermore what type of property you wish to purchase.

4. Once you and your loved one have decided to enter into the property market, and know in which area you would like to purchase, an important step is to consult a reputable estate agency that specialises in your area.

5. When a couple is ready to make an offer on a property, contact your attorney to discuss the offer you want to present to the seller. Your attorney can assist you with drafting your offer to purchase, provide you with an estimation of the conveyancing fees and explain the different cost items you may face. Also ask if you may need to update your Will with details of the new property.

6. Put your agreement in writing - a couple should contact their attorney to prepare a written document, such as a sale, lease or partnership agreement, which clearly stipulates the full details of the necessary arrangements, which will include the percentage of the homes equity each partner is entitled to, which is important in cases where you and your partner contributed different amounts to the down payment as well as what will happen to the property should you split up.

7. Lastly beware of Restrictive Title Conditions when purchasing a house. Check the title deed for any existing restrictive conditions – a potentially disastrous mistake for a couple, who has ‘big’ plans for the property and not having beforehand familiarised themselves with the title deed of the property.

 For more information, contact; Tel: 041 367 1151  •  www.jacorademeyer.co.za