Texas housing market: First-time homebuyers finding solutions – WFAA.com

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If you partner with someone else to afford a home, there are ways to protect your investment.

TEXAS, USA — In a report last year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that 18% of first-time homebuyers were unmarried couples. That percentage was a record. 

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Additionally, NAR found a record percentage of first-time homebuyers (5%) who described themselves as “other household compositions”. In those cases, NAR says, “We can assume that these would be roommate situations.” 

According to November 2023 figures provided by NAR, those two groups of people who are buying their first home have ticked down to 16% and 3%, respectively, in 2023. But historically speaking, that is still a significant chunk of buyers purchasing their first home with someone other than a spouse. 

A few things about that in my latest installment of my “Home Schooling” series, where I have been sharing important information I learned while getting my Texas real estate license. According to my trusty Modern Real Estate Practice book, unless you specify otherwise, unmarried co-homeowners in Texas are presumed to have formed a “tenancy in common“. 

In a tenancy in common, you own a portion of the property, but have the right to use all of it. Each owner (tenant in common) has the pressure of making sure that mortgage is paid in full and on time each month, otherwise all co-owners could get dinged on their credit history. Also, each co-owner is free to sell their share without the consent of the other tenants in common and to leave their share to someone else if they die.

I heard from someone recently who was thinking of a tenancy in common arrangement where both people would own the home equally, but this person planned to contribute more because they earn more. They planned to just work that out and settle up if they ever sold the home.

There is a more secure way to protect both peoples’ investments in the home — by making sure that such a detail is stated in the deed. For instance, if someone is paying 60% and their friend is paying 40%, those percentages could be expressed in the deed. Otherwise ownership shares would get divided equally even though one co-owner is paying more for the home than the other co-owner. 

If you are unmarried and buying with your partner or with other relatives or friends, you should make sure your ownership percentage plans are known to your real estate agent, lender and title company. 

Some unmarried co-homeowners might want their share of the home to go to the surviving co-owners in the case of death. This might apply in situations like several relatives who co-own a home or two business associates who co-own a business property. In those cases, a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship may be the preferred option. More information about that here

As always, consult an attorney if you have legal questions about anything having to do with real estate. 

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