Joint property ownership with individuals other than a spouse or partner is a trending option for those who are struggling to purchase alone. The benefits of joining forces – and incomes – include:
- A sense of stability
- Easier to qualify for a mortgage
- Split the costs of the down payment and monthly mortgage payments
- Ability to curtail the expense of monthly utilities and household expenses
- Opportunity to build wealth through home equity
Co-Ownership Title Options
To co-own property, you’ll need to decide how you want to take and hold title to the property. Here is a general overview of the two common choices:
- Tenancy In Common (TIC). This is the most popular form of co-ownership because of the flexibility it provides. Each owner, or co-tenant, owns an individual undivided interest in the entire property and will have an equal right to possess and use the property. In some instances, co-tenants will agree to own a different portion of a building such as a certain unit or floor. The mortgage, property taxes, and maintenance expenses are shared between co-tenants. Each co-tenant also holds a share in the value of the property as it appreciates and begins to build equity.
- Joint Tenancy. With this form of ownership, joint tenants share an equal interest in the rights and financial responsibilities of the property. It is often referred to as Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship because upon the death of a joint tenant, that joint tenant’s interest in the property automatically passes by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant(s), avoiding the need for a probate case or any other legal proceeding.
The decision to own a home with friends or relatives should not be taken lightly. It’s important you sit down together and discuss what you each want to get out of home ownership. Then, confer with a real estate attorney to execute an agreement that lays out the rights and responsibilities of all parties involved.
At First American, we understand the value of homeownership and the importance of protecting your property rights. For more information about the home buying process, or to find a First American branch near you, visit www.gofirstam.com