If I buy a house with my boyfriend and provide the down payment, how do I protect myself in the event that we break up?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I buy a house with my boyfriend and provide the down payment, how do I protect myself in the event that we break up?

I will be receiving a Trust fund valued at approximately $90,000 and would like to purchase a home. I am currently living with my boyfriend who will not be providing any funds. My credit is really good but I am not currently working but he is, so I would need him on the mortgage to show income. Is there a document that could be created if something should happen and we break up? I do not want to lose my home or my investment.

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can draft an agreement under which you will provide the down payment, he will pay the monthly mortgage, and that if the property is sold, the amount of equity you will each receive from the sale will be figured out by your respective contributions to the principal. For example: say it's a $350k home, you will put $50k down (20%) and that by the time the home is sold, he has paid $25k towards the principal (the principal share of his mortgage payments). Out of the $75k total in principal paid in this example, you paid 2/3, him 1/3, and so the two of you will split the equity in that ratio (2/3 to you, 1/3 to him). The agreement could further provide that either of you could require the home be sold on, say, 90 days (or whatever amount you are comfortable with) notice, so that if you break up, you're not both indefinitely locked into co-homeownership. Or the agreement could specify that on notice from one of your that he or she wants the home sold, the one who to date has paid more of the principal balance can buy out the other's interest by reimbursing the amount of principal the other paid to date. There are other possibilities, too: the short answer is, you can have an agreement that protects you as long as you enter into *before* buying the house, and ideally should work with an attorney to draft it so as to protect you in the specific ways you want.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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