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Once you have found your property and the purchase process is coming to an end, there is one more decision to make– and that is how you will jointly own your property.

 

Your decision will have huge and lasting consequences, and there isn’t a ‘one-fits-all’ option.

 

Rebecca Habgood de Burgh, Conveyancer from Lamb Brooks solicitors in Basingstoke gives a brief overview of the different options, along with the pros and cons of each.

 

When it comes to owning your home, there are typically 3 choices;

Sole Ownership

The named person on the deeds is the legal owner and has full legal power to sell the house, even if a partner has contributed (either via a deposit or mortgage payments). This can be tempting for tax saving purposes or if one party is in poor credit, impacting on their mortgage ability, but in most cases the risks outweigh the benefits. The risk here is one partner selling the house or passing away without the home or any profits from the home going to the other party.

Joint Tenancy

You share equal 50/50 ownership of the property and have the same legal rights. If one joint tenant dies, the other automatically becomes the owner of their share, even if their will states otherwise. The main advantage of this is that the property is guaranteed to go to the surviving spouse without the expense of probate proceedings whether they are married or not. However, it is worth remembering that joint tenancy shouldn’t be a substitute for a will – there are many other factors to consider aside from home ownership. There also isn’t any flexibility of owning the house in unequal proportions.

Tenants in Common

This is usually the most common way for unmarried couples to own their home. When one tenant in common dies, his or her share of the property if left to the heir named in their will. Tenants in common can also own their home in unequal shares – for example 80%:20%. The biggest risk here is a homeowner passing away without a valid will, or someone changing their will at any point.

It is likely that your own personal circumstances or wishes will affect which option is best for you and your partner, but it is worth talking through the options with your Solicitor.

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.