The Risks: Purchasing Real Estate With a Boyfriend or Girlfriend


I wish there was a drug television commercial for love. Whenever I sit down to watch some television, I always encounter a commercial that tells me about a new pharmaceutical drug, what it is, and how it can help customers achieve a change in their lives. Even with all the possible benefits the drug may offer, the pharmaceutical company is required to explain the negative side effects and possible dangers. This often is the scariest (and weirdest, if I’m honest) part of the commercial. Who the heck wants to hear that something that could be helpful could also bring danger and complications?!?

If life was fair, maybe we’d all be forced to watch these types of commercials for all of life lessons and decisions from an early age. Maybe, just maybe, television commercials explaining both the positives and dangers of things like love, credits scores, college costs, saving, etc. would be helpful to society!

The fact is individuals thrive when provided all the necessary information before decisions are made. The saying, “knowledge is power” may be cliché but is absolutely true. This is even more so true with love and relationships, which can thrive, fade, break, and blind us hardcore.

Full disclosure, I am no love guru. So why am I writing about love?!? Isn’t this a post about purchasing real estate? Wait for it—it is coming!

As a real estate broker, I interact with couples looking to purchase property together on a regular basis. Sometimes while working with clients I am asked the question, “Should we buy real estate together?” This question often comes from couples who are not yet protected by the laws of marriage. When I hear that BIG question, I know they don’t want me to speak about their love and commitment; the world has already sold the ideas of the “American dream” and the “happily ever after.” What hasn’t been shared is the scariest part, the “what ifs” of purchasing real estate together.

"Individuals thrive when provided all the necessary information before decisions are made... This is even more so true with love and relationships, which can thrive, fade, break, and blind us hardcore."

Unfortunately, when encountering this question, I cannot tell my clients how to navigate their decision-making process. I can, however, describe some of the complications that could arise and that should be considered before their decision is made!

To bring it all together, below is my take on a television commercial script for purchasing real estate with an unmarried partner,

COMMERCIAL TITLE: THE RISKS


CAMERA enters fine restaurant with smiling couple sitting alone at private table.

Beautiful Deep Voice: “Are you in a relationship and interested in purchasing property? Did you know that Urban District Realty is here to help?! [Cheap plug, right?!? Told you this was a commercial!].

CAMERA shows both couples dreaming from their seats at the restaurant. View focuses above them with bright blue sky and white light fluffy clouds. Camera shot pans down from sky until couple is standing in front of amazing home, couple looking into each other’s eyes.


Beautiful Deep Voice: The benefits associated with purchasing property together include the following:

  • Taking that relationship to the next level, the closest thing to marriage without the contract. [Couple now sitting, smiling, and have pens in their hands, signing contract]

  • Oh, so many more choices. [Couple standing in front of a million dollar plus house, shaking hands with a real estate agent…again from Urban District Realty!]

  • Protection from liability of going at it alone! [Couple now stands in front of same home with damaged roof, but couple is holding hands and STILL smiling]

Beautiful Deep Voice: Possible side effects of purchasing real estate with that special someone who isn’t your spouse include the following: [One individual from couple sitting alone on the side of the bed, with head down into hands, shown from the back]

  • Complicated compromise conversations.

  • Navigation and negotiations within the couple. Deciding who will support the purchase, whose name will be on the deed, what will happen to the property if the relationship ends? [Show the house they found split into two, with one individual on each side]

  • Worried thoughts of “Wait, this contact is for real?” and “This basically is marriage.”

  • Possibility of partner lowering your credit score. [Couple is now fighting, looking at the computer screen]

  • And possible death! [just kidding, just had to make it seem like a real pharmaceutical commercial]

CAMERA flashes back to couple sitting at restaurant, both looking stunned. They nod at one another and start smiling again.


Beautiful Deep Voice: See how you can brighten your future by securing real estate with your significant other! [END]

The truth is love is an amazing force of nature in so many aspects of life and it brings the possibility of purchasing real estate together. But understanding and evaluating the possible risks and rewards BEFORE any real estate contract is signed is fundamental!


About the Author: Ryan Fiero is the Principal Real Estate Broker and CEO of Urban District Realty, LLC, operating in Washington, DC and the Commonwealth of Virginia. His successful real estate background includes sales, property management, and development. Ryan currently lives in the Truxton Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC with his husband and exceptionally large Newfoundland pup.


Contact Information:

Ryan.Fiero@UrbanDistrictRealty.com

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