New Homebuying Trends Show More Couples Saying ‘I Do’ to Real Estate Purchases and ‘I Don’t’ to Marriage

New Homebuying Trends Show More Couples Saying ‘I Do’ to Real Estate Purchases and ‘I Don’t’ to Marriage

Everyone remembers the old children’s rhyme, “First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage,” but within the past few years there’s been a growing trend for couples of all ages to put real estate deals first before marriage, or in some cases, just forgo that stroll down the aisle altogether.

According to a recent survey, 31% of all Americans and 41% of 18-to-34-year-olds indicate they’ve purchased a primary residence with someone who is not their spouse. In addition, 55% of Americans and 68% of 18-to-34-year-olds say they would consider buying property with a partner who is not a spouse.

The survey showed the most common co-buyers are romantic partners who are not engaged or married (15%). However, Americans are also open to buying with extended family members or roommates.

Andrea Collins, Home Insight Expert with Hippo Insurance, an InsurTech firm offering homeowners insurance in almost all 50 states, notes that many couples are now skipping expensive weddings and instead, diving head-first into home purchases. “Couples need to have a very clear picture of each other’s financial status—including savings, student loans and other debt—prior to purchasing a home together,” said Collins. “Then, they need to have a solid discussion around the plans with the property and future financial goals.”

Some of the items that couples need to consider are who will be named on the mortgage and title, will they need a property agreement, will they be living full time at the property and who will get the tax deductions?

Collins recommended that partners secure an attorney to help draft a property agreement to avoid any legal troubles in the future. “A property agreement is a legally binding document that dictates the share of finances when it comes to paying off the mortgage, utilities and other household expenses, and most will include information on who will own the property in the event of a breakup or change in plans,” she explained.

In addition to unmarried couples considering home ownership together, Collins noted that there are also other non-traditional homebuyers out there including friends who want to increase their wealth and can’t afford to buy something alone, and family members who have decided they want to own a property together.

Anthony Ruperto, an agent with J.Philip Real Estate LLC in Briarcliff Manor, has dealt with several unmarried couples—both straight and gay—who are seeking to buy a home together. “The majority of those who I see tend to be younger—under 35—and many have plans to be married in the future,” he said. “I’ve also had people who have been together for 15 to 20 years and just don’t want to get married.”

Many of Ruperto’s clients are also from the LGBT community and are not currently considering marriage. “I personally don’t see marriage as a requirement for buying a home together,” he revealed. For those who choose to forgo marriage, Ruperto recommends discussing their purchase with an attorney to set up contingency plans should they break up.

After almost three years together with his partner, Ruperto said they would be looking to purchase a home together in the Beacon area of Dutchess County, where they current reside. As far as married versus unmarried clients, Ruperto said there’s really no difference in the way they search for homes. “Some people have very similar tastes, while others are opposite,” he added. “In fact, I’m working with a married couple now who have been together over 15 years. Whenever one of them likes a home, the other doesn’t, so it’s been very tough to find something for them.”

A recent home ownership survey conducted by Hippo found that 39% of single respondents who purchased a home with a partner were from the western part of the U.S., while 30% hailed from the South, and 22% from the Northeast. Less than 10% lived in the Midwest.

“We’ve seen that regional trends can loosely tie to professional hubs and higher cost housing markets,” said Collins. The survey also found that about 80% of those partners purchased single-family homes, as opposed to multi-family dwellings, condominiums or co-operative apartments.

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