(Closed) Buying a house together before getting engaged?

posted 10 years ago in Waiting
Post # 17
Member
1474 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I think its perfectly fine to purchase a house before you are engaged/married. Would I do it? No, but it works for some people.

Post # 18
Member
2396 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I refused to do this. We rented for a year, and then he inherited a house from a family member, so we were in a strange situation. When we rented, I didn’t have my name on the lease, and my name won’t be on the house deed until we are married. This was my choice – I didn’t have a problem giving him cash each month for rent, etc. but I wanted to give myself a clean out in case he never committed. We had discussed purchasing a home before we found out that he had inherited one, and it was decided by both of us that buying before being married would not be a good choice.

I would talk to him seriously before starting to look at houses. Once you have a house together, it would be so easy for him to fall into the ‘well, we are already practically married’ excuse, since you are both locked in financially. Tell him how you feel, that this is not coming from impatience, but coming from serious concern about being so financially responsible for something so big without the commitment you want. I just feel strongly about this because of the situation I was in…I’m all for people doing what they want, but just make sure that you put all your feelings out there before jumping in with both feet!

Post # 19
Member
1098 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I wouldn’t do it, not unless we were engaged with a date set.

I have seen more than a few couples who bought a house together then were stuck owning a house with their ex after the relationship ended.  It very rarely turns out well.

The couple has to then decide who gets to keep (or gets stuck with) the house. Usually one of them can’t afford it alone.  So they try to sell, but usually one is living there during the time the property is on the market.  The one living in the house can’t afford to pay the mortgage alone and wants help from the other.  The other one is still liable on the mortgage but also has the expenses of a new place and can’t afford to help (and doesn’t want to anyway).  The house lingers on the market.  Maybe there is an offer, but one of them decides it is too low and won’t consent.  This can drag on for months.  Maybe one moves their new SO into the house. They both start dating other people, but still have this unfinished business with their ex.  

Or maybe one decides to keep the house.  The one who moves out wants the other to refinance, but he can’t qualify for the new mortgage on he income alone, so he delays doing so, and then starts to be late on payments because he’s having a hard time maintainin on one income the house they purchased with both incomes. Then she realizes her credit is being ruined and the bank doesn’t care that she deeded her interest to him or that he and she had an agreement, because she is still liable on that loan.

Maybe there is an offer on the house. If they are lucky enough to get an offer high enough to pay off their mortgage and closing costs, then they may find themselves disagreeing on how to divide the proceeds.  If one put down a larger part of the downpayment, does that one also get a larger share of any appreciation?  What about the one who put on the new roof?  He feels he should get compensated.  She wants to split the money evenly based on financial contribution only.  If the house is now worth less than the mortgage + closing costs…they are either stuck owning a house with an ex who may be less than cooperative or have to decide how to divide the losses and how much money each will bring to closing just to get disentangled from each other.

Often these disputes end up with one or both having their credit damaged or simply being unable to buy anything new because they already have one mortgage in their name and don’t have the income to qualify for a second.  The ultimate solution is a partition action in court…which can drag on as long as and cost as much as a divorce.

Now, if ONE of you bought the house and you both lived there, with the understanding that upon marriage it would then belong to you both, that is entirely different.  But I would be very leery of getting into something with that much liability that can be very hard (and expensive) to undo if I weren’t absoloutely certain the relationship would end in marriage.

 

Post # 20
Member
726 posts
Busy bee

@Butterbee: Tell him exactly how you feel. If he wants you to commit to a HUGE purchase, than you have every right to know what his intentions are. I agree with a few other posters, you don’t want to commit to a home and then have him decide “well, its like were married already because we own a home, why do we need a piece of paper.”

You don’t have to nag him about it, but you deserve a straight answer so you can decide if going in on a house is the best thing for you.

Post # 21
Member
2396 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@Neva: god what a nightmare that would be. Exactly why I didn’t want to be on the deed! In no way could I afford our house on my own!!!

Post # 22
Member
1295 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I did it. No regrets. 

Those of you saying to make sure that your name is/isn’t on the deed: check your local laws. In some places (like here) the home become a matrimonial home once you are married or common law. That means that the property belongs equally to each party even if only one name is on the deed. 

Post # 23
Member
2223 posts
Buzzing bee

Personally, I would never do it without being married. If you can’t share your last name with me then you can’t share 200K worth of debt with me.

However, I did buy a house before I was engaged. But, –>I<– bought the house, my bf just happens to live with me there. My name is on the mortgage and if our relationship goes downhill I can still afford the payments on my own. I always wanted to be a homeowner, marriage or no marriage.

Think about it before you jump. A mortgage doesn’t guarantee a proposal. It only guarantees a house. I’m not saying going either direction is inherently bad, they just need to be carefully considered.

Post # 24
Member
7321 posts
Busy Beekeeper

Nope, not unless the date is set and the engagement is official, maybe not even then. I’ve seen so many of my friends buy houses with their boyfriend under the guise of “If we do this first, we’ll have less pressure when we get married.” And they are still waiting for a proposal. Now they feel like they can’t bail because they own a house with this person, but the marriage talks stopped. I wouldn’t want to get myself into that situation.

Post # 25
Member
833 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

We did it, and some people had things to say about it, but we didn’t care, it worked out for us financially.  We knew that we would be together always, so had no problem signing the mortgage under both of our names. 

We didn’t want to waste our $ paying someone elses mortgage, so we bought a condo, he proposed about a year after we closed. 

Some of my relatives told me that he ‘would never propose’ after we lived together, that he would get ‘too comfortable’..bla bla.. but I never doubted him and we are happily married now.

ETA: Just wanted to add that amongst our group of friends it is very common to do this.  With the cost of paying a mortage vs renting a place, imo, if you have the downpayment $, it is not worth it to rent.  It also worked out for us, because we were able to put down a nice down payment, and then spent 2 years saving for our dream wedding. We could not have imagined waiting to buy a place until we were married..oh the stress that would’ve been!

Post # 26
Member
2515 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

We bought our house first…2 years later we got engaged. We both felt renting was a waste of money and the market was dipping that we felt it was a good opportunity (our house has appreciated significantly). We were together for 2.5 years at the time we moved in together. Marriage was brought up basically from month 3? So we both knew marriage was in the cards for us.

We both also agreed that it was a good idea to live together before getting engaged to make sure we could live together for the next 80 years. Let’s not lie in that first year of living together we almost broke up like 10 times! We are both glad we decided to live together before even getting engaged because the engagement process has been very stressfull so had we added on the new living situations I’m not sure I’d survive all the meltdowns!

Our friends recently got married and bought their house about 6 months before the wedding, it was really stressful for them to figure out the move, decorate this entire house, AND plan a wedding. They were so overwhelmed neither of them remembered to plan a honeymoon! So…they didn’t take one.

We are very glad that we only have to worry about planning the wedding right now and not worrying about buying a house on top of that. It took us about a year to find the house we live in currently.

Post # 27
Member
4858 posts
Honey bee

I think it’s very “normal” in that I have some friends who did it (by the way, all the girls are still “waiting”).  We made a point of getting engaged literally days before we moved into the house we bought – pretty much as soon as we found “the house” we got started right away on having “the ring” made (it was supposed to be ready before closing but was at least ready before we actually moved).  It was important to both of us that we live in “slightly less” sin, lol (my mom jokes that we’re living in sin but she’s only half joking since she’s very traditional but also loves him and is so proud we bought the house).

Post # 28
Member
254 posts
Helper bee

No way would I do this. Just wouldn’t want to have the risk that something what @Neva described would happen. And maybe some people would say, “Oh that doesn’t apply to us, we’re never going to breakup” … but if that’s true, why aren’t you married? I just feel like you’re supposed to decide who you want to spend your life with, and THEN enter into long-term legal/financial commitments with them, not the other way around.

Post # 29
Member
1382 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

@Neva:

I have seen more than a few couples who bought a house together then were stuck owning a house with their ex after the relationship ended.  It very rarely turns out well.

On the flip side it has turned out well for everyone I know.

View original reply
@Molly929:

And maybe some people would say, “Oh that doesn’t apply to us, we’re never going to breakup” … but if that’s true, why aren’t you married?

To answer your question directly, granted mine was a unique situation. We knew we would get engaged and married prior to purchasing our first home. Had I not known that I probably would have reconsider purchasing the house with him. Our reasons for waiting on engagement had nothing to do with him or I. It had to do with the fact that my family was against us dating. And it was important for us that they were happy and supportive of us when we got engaged and on our wedding day. We waited 9 years to get engaged because of that. And it was absolutely worth it. But life still goes on meanwhile, when the opportunity came up for us to buy a house together we did.

Just trying to show that not all situations are as simple as you state.

To OP, do what feels right to YOU. If you don’t feel comfortable entering this huge commitment (never mind financial) with your BF, then by all means don’t. But if you do then do it. It’s a gamble but hey for most people marriage is a gamble as well.

How do close friends and family feel? Seeing as how only they know your relationship and we don’t. We’re all making guesses on past relationships we have seen and personal experience.

My family as traditional as they are were oddly supportive of us purchasing a home together prior to marriage! But at that point they were already supportive of us as a couple. Purchasing the home meant pushing the engagement back for us.

ETA: I just want to clarify. I’m by no means saying this works out for everyone. Obviousyly by all the other poster’s stories we know that it does not work out for some. I’m just trying to let the OP know that for a lot of couples it does work out.

Post # 30
Member
2933 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

We kind of did this – we shopped for a house together and picked one out that we both loved for our future together and I contributed several thousand dollars to the downpayment… but he is the sole signer of the mortgage.  I split the mortgage with him evenly, and we’ve done several expensive home rennovations together, but at the end of the day this is still his house until we get married in May. 

This gave us the commitment level we were looking for – we were buying a house! – but it also gave us both an ‘out’ in case things didn’t work out.  It was really living together in our house that helped us become engaged.  We’d spent so much time together before, and had some hiccups during out first couple months in the house, but now we are now absolutely certain that we want to be together for the rest of our lives.

Post # 31
Member
254 posts
Helper bee

@regberadaisy: Yeah, I would probably not be as rigid if it were just some technical reason that we weren’t married yet, but it was something that we both definitely wanted. It sucks to not have the support of your family! A friend of mine is going through this with her finance – they don’t support them because he is of a different religion/culture. And it just sucks because they are such a wonderful couple, but they don’t want to get married until her family is more accepting.

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