Purchasing as co-habitees: Love is blind….but don’t be blindsided.
Deciding to purchase your dream home with a partner is an exciting time. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure that the process proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Early discussions with a Financial Advisor will indicate how much you can borrow and whether or not you are both in a position to secure a mortgage. If only one of you can secure a mortgage, then the property needs to be taken in that person’s name only. When arranging a mortgage it would also be prudent to seek advice on life insurance/assurance which can cover such issues as redundancy, illness and building and contents insurance.
- After finding a property upon which you would like to make an offer, contact your solicitor at Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace who will advise you on current market conditions. Thereafter interest can be noted and an offer submitted on your behalf.
- If an offer is accepted, it is usually around six to eight weeks for all legal and financial matters to be completed and thereafter you would receive the keys and take entry to your new home. Your full mortgage application should be made as quickly as possible after any offer is accepted to ensure that you have your loan finds in place in time for the date of entry.
- When buying with a partner, it is always prudent to consider entering into a Minute of Agreement before the completion of the purchase. If you are both providing part of the deposit, the Agreement would cover what happens in the unfortunate event of a separation. It may be a parent is providing some of the funding and they may wish to protect any financial assistance they have provided. It is much better to deal with these difficult issues at the outset as failure to do so may result in court proceedings being required to resolve matters. At Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace we are happy to assist with the preparation of the necessary Agreement.
- You may also wish to consider having a Will drafted. This is the simplest way to ensure that any property is passed to a surviving partner in the event of a death. The law relating to co-habitees is not the same as it is for spouses and certainty as to what is to happen in the event of a tragedy is always best. Careful consideration needs to be taken as to who is to be an Executor and these are discussions which might require to take place with partners, parents, brothers sisters or close friends. A Will does not require to be too complicated and it is always capable of being updated during your lifetime as and when circumstances change.
- You should aim to have a deposit ready to transfer to your solicitor in good time prior to the entry date. It is useful to check whether your bank has any limits on the amount you can transfer per day as this may mean you need to give yourself extra time to transfer any funds.
- On the date of entry, keys will be handed over once the purchase price has been paid and you can then begin the mammoth task of unpacking!
It is fair to say that love can be blind, but by bearing the above points in mind and preparing yourself for as many bumps in the road as possible, you can both look forward to the future, secure and content in the knowledge that whilst hoping for the best, you have planned for the worst.
Raeburn Christie Clark and Wallace are a full service legal firm, able to provide you with independent financial advice, but also impartial legal advice on the acquisition of property, and the preparation of Minutes of Agreements and Wills. Please feel free to contact us at any of our offices or via our website to find out more.