A house is quite possibly the biggest investment that you will ever make in your lifetime. Buying a house with somebody is a big step into any relationship because it solidifies the fact that you are expecting a great future with that somebody.
Purchasing a home together not only means that you are in love with a person but also that you are picturing a long-term future with this significant other.
But what happens if the relationship falls apart and you have to break up with somebody that you own a house with?
Read along as we explore different ways on how you can go about this delicate situation
1. Make sure that you have your ducks in the row
Before you go forward with breaking up with somebody that you own a house with, you have to make sure that you are ready for this next step emotionally and financially. It will be emotionally draining going through a breakup but you have to think about yourself as well and you have to make decisions based on what’s best for you.
If you think that the relationship is beyond repair or you have simply grown apart, it is best to walk away.
Before you walk away, you have to make sure that you have exhausted all options and tried everything to make the relationship work. You can’t walk away and then have regrets or have what-if scenarios running through your head that might lead you to regret your decision.
Make sure that this is what your heart truly wants because it is not fair to the other person as well. After all, he is also emotionally invested in the relationship.
Getting your plans organized and straightened out also means that you will have to make sure you can handle the financial burden of either moving out of the house or keeping the house by yourself. I think it’s sad that people want to break up and they are still stuck in the same house that they have with the other person just because they can’t afford to move on.
2. Open the communication lines
Once you have decided to part ways, you should be mature enough to keep the communication lines open. You have to do this because you have shared a lot of things, invested in a house together, and probably co-own a lot of material things together.
It might be hard to talk to a person especially after you have broken up with him, but this is crucial in making sure that both parties get what they want or what they deserve when it comes to dividing up property.
You have to communicate to the other person what you want to have happened and how you want things to happen. He might not agree with you but if you keep great communication with him, you can probably get to a compromise that would best suit both parties.
3. Be open to legal help
To protect yourself, the house that you co-own, and your assets, you might have to enlist the help of a legal professional. A lawyer can help you explore options and different scenarios that you might not have thought of.
Seeking the help of a third party who has no intention or conflict of interest with what you and your ex-partner have, is also beneficial because you have an impartial person who is willing to give you counsel.
A lawyer can also help you navigate through the confusing process of either transferring the house to your name so that you can buy out your ex-partner’s share or vice versa. If this is not a feasible solution, another option is to continue owning the house jointly and agreeing on a deadline on when you can either sell the home and split the proceeds in half or have one party buyout the other.
Unfortunately, breaking up with somebody that you own a house with is not going to be a clean break because there are a lot of elements that you have to figure out. It will be easier if the other person is willing to work with you and is communicative but it is more difficult when the other person is combative and unwilling to reach a compromise.
If this is the case, you should seek the help of a lawyer.
4. When you come into an agreement, put it in writing
This is probably the most important thing that you can do to protect yourself and your assets. Once you have come into an agreement of who gets what and what to do with the house, put this in writing so that it essentially becomes an enforceable contract.
Both parties have to agree and sign the contract and this makes it legally binding.
The agreement can also go over specific agreed-upon figures if a party decides to sell his share to the other party. It can also go over the items, furnishings, and fixtures that are inside the house if you decide to divide this and decide about who gets what.
Having all these in writing will enable you to get a clear picture of how things will happen which is a better thing than going in blindly and not knowing what you are doing.
By having this in writing, you are not only protecting yourself but the other person as well. Even if you have an amicable breakup, there is no telling what will happen a few years down the line.
Priorities and motivation can change which can affect what you are trying to do.
If eventually down the road, the other person does not follow the written agreement, then there will potentially be legal repercussions. A written agreement puts checks and balances in the situation so that it cannot be changed or modified without getting both parties to agree on it.