3 things you must consider when buying a property

Buying a property can be an exciting and busy time. If you are planning on buying a property, then there are a number of things you really should consider. Here are three things you must think about.

First of all, are you planning on buying the property with your partner but you are not married to each other? 

If so, did you know that there are two ways of owning land and property in England and Wales, either as joint tenants or tenants in common (please do not be confused by the use of the word ”tenant”).  If you own as joint tenants, then there is a presumption that you both have an equal interest in the property. If one joint tenant dies before the other, then their interest will automatically pass to the surviving owner. If you own as tenants in common, then you can specify the interests you hold in the property, which can include unequal shares, and on death, interests do not automatically pass to the surviving owner.

Think very carefully whether you want to own your home together as joint tenants or tenants in common. This is especially so if one of you is contributing more to the purchase than the other. If that is the case, you might want to consider buying the property as tenants in common in shares reflecting what you are putting in. That might be because you have sold a property you owned previously in your sole name and are putting more of a deposit down than your partner. It may be because you were a council tenant and have earned a significant discount towards the purchase of your council property. Or it could simply be that you have saved up more of a deposit. These are just a couple of scenarios where this might be the case.

Are you buying a property in your sole name but your partner is going to be living in it with you? 

There may be a number of reasons why a property is bought in one partner’s name. The question to ask is whether it is your intention for you both to have an interest in the property? If so, what are those interests and how best to make that clear? One way may be to have a document drawn up called a Declaration of Trust. Living together/Cohabitation agreements can also be useful, particularly as they can also set out what financial arrangements you have decided to make while living together.

Living together/ Cohabitation agreements can also be very useful should your relationship breakdown as they can set out how property and assets should be divided should that occur. These can be made at any time but it is best to consider this and have one in place at the very beginning.

Finally, have you considered what should happen to your share of the property should you die before your partner?

As mentioned above, if you own as joint tenants, it will pass to the surviving owner, but what if you own as tenants in common? What would you want to happen to your share then? Do you want it to go to your partner, or to children or someone else? Do you want your partner to be able to continue living in the property? Have you got a will and does it make the sort of provision you want it to?

Buying a property is only the beginning. How you own it, live in it and what happens if your relationship breaks down or your partner dies are just a number of the important things you need to consider and provide for. We have a team of experts here at Josiah Hincks to help you find the right answers to those questions. 

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Buying a property




Radmila Balac | Partner