Real Estate Considerations For Unmarried Couples

Unmarried couples
Unmarried couples need to consider various things prior to buying real estate together.

Buying a house with your partner is a huge step, and for unmarried couples, it adds an extra layer of complexity. The excitement of finding your dream home can overshadow some crucial listing considerations. By being prepared and upfront about your situation, you can navigate the listing process smoothly. Below we discuss some things to consider for unmarried couples looking to either buy or sell real estate.

Understanding ownership structures

Before diving into listings, it’s crucial to understand ownership structures for unmarried couples. Here are the two most common options:

  • Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS): This means you both own the property equally, and if one partner passes away, the other automatically inherits the entire ownership stake.
  • Tenancy in Common (TIC): This allows you to own separate percentages of the property. You can decide on a 50/50 split, or customize it based on your down payment contributions. Unlike JTWROS, ownership doesn’t automatically transfer upon death; it goes to whomever you designate in your will.

Mortgage considerations for unmarried couples

Unlike married couples, unmarried partners typically apply for mortgages individually. This can limit your borrowing power. Be clear with your realtor about your financial situation and explore options like qualifying for a co-borrower mortgage if it makes sense.

Listing considerations for unmarried couples

Both Names on the Deed: If you decide to go with JTWROS or TIC, ensure both your names are on the listing and future deed. This clarifies ownership for yourselves and potential buyers down the line.

Lead Name Selection: For simplicity, some couples choose to have one name listed first on documents. Discuss this beforehand and ensure both partners are comfortable with the order.

Break-Up Clause: Consider including a clause outlining the process for selling the property or buying out a partner’s share in case of a separation. This can save a lot of heartache (and legal fees) down the line.

Transparency with Real Estate Agents: Be upfront with your real estate agent about your unmarried status and chosen ownership structure. They can guide you through paperwork and ensure everything is documented correctly.

Disclosure requirements for unmarried couples

Transparency: Some states require disclosure of unmarried co-ownership on the seller’s disclosure form. Check your state’s regulations and ensure your real estate agent is aware of the situation.


As with any real estate transaction, it is always a good idea to consult a real estate attorney. In this case, consulting a real estate attorney specializing in co-ownership for unmarried couples is highly recommended. They can guide you through the legalities of ownership structures, listing agreements, and potential break-up scenarios.

Are you thinking about buying or selling real estate in the South Florida area? We can help! Contact Natasha at Live South Florida Realty, Inc. today! Also, be sure to download the free Florida Home Search app for your smartphone or tablet.

By natasha moore

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.