Tag Archives: gay homeowner

Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Forms of Same Sex Joint Home Ownership

When you purchase a home with your LGBT partner, you will need to designate how you would like to hold ownership. Unfortunately, many partners do not understand the ramifications of home ownership until it is too late to do anything about it. Depending on the state that you live in, following are the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of same sex home ownership.

CoupleJoint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
This designation means that when a partner dies, ownership of the home will transfer to the surviving partner as a matter of law. The advantage of this type of ownership is that there is no need to go through probate court to claim ownership of the home. You would simply take the death certificate to the register of deeds in the county where the property is located or file for a new deed in your name indicating that one of the owners is deceased. It should be noted that if there is a mortgage on the home, it will remain after the partner’s death unless he or she had some type of insurance that pays the mortgage in full upon death.

The disadvantage, in some cases, is that you both have equal control of the home during your lifetime. This means that you cannot get a loan against the home, sell it, give it away or will it to anyone else without your partner’s permission. Even if a partner bequeaths his interest in the home to another party in his will, it will have no effect and his interest will still revert to the surviving partner. If you decide you would like to sell the home and your partner will not agree, you could go to court and request a partition or a sale of the home. This generally becomes an issue when a relationship breaks up and one partner wants to keep the home.

Another disadvantage of this type of ownership is that either partner can break the designation. All that is needed is for one partner to go to the register of deeds and transfer his or her interest in the home to tenancy in common. That action automatically destroys the joint tenancy with right of survivorship designation.

Tenancy in Common
With this designation, both partner’s own a percentage of the home. The percentages do not have to be equal. For example, one partner could own 60 percent and the other 40 percent. The portion owned by each party is generally dictated by the amount that each partner contributed to the purchase of the home.

The disadvantage is that when one partner dies, ownership does not automatically transfer to the surviving partner. His or her half interest in the home will be distributed according to a will, if he had one, or according to the state’s intestacy laws where he resided. Intestate means to die without a will. Homes owned by tenancy in common do have to go through probate, even if the partner left a will designating the surviving partner as the beneficiary.

The exception to the above is when there are liens against the home, or the deceased’s estate does not have enough assets to pay off his or her final debts. In that case, creditors could file for a partition in a court of law to sell the home.

The legal ramifications of home ownership designations can be confusing. In order to protect your rights, you should speak with an LGBT real estate agent or attorney who is knowledgeable on the local state laws regarding real estate. If you and your partner are considering purchasing a home together, you should contact a reputable LGBT real estate agent by conducting a search on GayRealEstate.com. He or she will be aware of the local and state laws and ordinances that affect home ownership and will know a reputable attorney in the area that can advise you of your options related to home ownership.

Posted on December 20, 2014 in Buying a Home, Home Buyers, Home Ownership, Homeowner, Homeowners

How Gay Couples Can Buy a House Without a Breakup

Purchasing a home is an exciting but stressful life event and emotions can get out of hand. For example, disputes can arise if you prefer the cute little house on Leaf Street but your partner prefers the condo located closer to town, or the home one partner prefers costs more than the other partner is comfortable spending. downloadFollowing are some tips on how gay couples can buy a house without a breakup.

1. First and most importantly, sit down and talk! Discuss the top priorities of the type of home that you would like to purchase and come to an agreement on something that would work for both of you. For example, is a garage mandatory, how many rooms and baths would you like, and is a small lot or several acres preferred? Although your preferences may change once you begin looking at different homes, you will have an idea of the type of home that you would suit each of your preferences.

2. While you are discussing suitable homes, you should discuss how you want to own the home so that there are no misunderstandings down the road. For example, joint tenancy with right of survivorship, tenants in common or tenancy by the entirety. The ownership options vary depending on the state that you live in. States that allow ownership by tenancy by the entirety make it available to married couples only. For more information on forms of ownership, see our article Exploring Forms of Home Co-ownership for LGBT Unmarried Couples.

3. Put it in writing! Prepare an agreement that outlines all of the issues that you have agreed upon. You can add to the agreement as issues come up and you make additional decisions about buying a home together. Generally, the agreement is to resolve any potential disputes and is not a legal document. An agreement is only legally binding when it constitutes a legal agreement that a court of law will enforce. Those types of agreements must contain an offer and an acceptance where one party is agreeing to provide money, goods or perform services in return for something of value such as other goods, services or money.

4. Hire a real estate agent who specializes in working with LGBT clients. He will discuss the steps involved in purchasing a home and answer any questions that you may have. Having an agent that you trust will help relieve a lot of the stress involved in purchasing a home. For more information, see our article Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Gay Realtor for your Home Purchase.

Buying a home should be a fun adventure; relax and enjoy your search. We hope these tips on how gay couples can buy a house without a breakup will help you find and purchase your new home with a minimum of stress.

Legalities of Gay Marriage and Buying Your First Home Together

The legalities of gay marriage and buying your first home together vary depending on factors including the state that you live in. If you are married and live in a state that recognizes same sex marriages, the procedure for buying a home is the same as it is for heterosexual married couples. Those that do not live in a state that recognizes their marriage will be forced to purchase their home as individuals rather than as a married unit.

imagesOnce you have found a home you would like to purchase and have worked out the details, you will need to complete a legally binding purchase agreement. That document includes the price and the terms of sale that are being agreed upon, specific property information including any known defects, contingencies and the names of all parties involved including buyers, sellers and agents. Contingencies are conditions that must be met before closing and can include a home inspection, financing and other specific actions by either the buyer or the seller.

The seller is legally required to disclose any defects in the home. Defects may include termite damage or plumbing, heating and air conditioning and electrical problems. Although not legally required, it is best to have a home inspection completed before you purchase the home. It is not unusual for sellers to overlook or have no knowledge about a defect of the home that an inspection will uncover. Licensed inspectors are trained to find and disclose current and potential future problems.

As part of the buying process, you will need to purchase title insurance. The title insurance company will conduct a title search on the property to make sure that there are no liens or easement issues against the property that have not been disclosed.

Once those procedures are complete, if you have not already done so, you will need to find a mortgage lender. The mortgage company that you choose will check both of your credit scores and will count both of your incomes in making a decision. It would be best to shop around to find the best terms available based on your personal and financial goals.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, there are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination against same sex spouses, but some states do have expanded laws in place. Knowing the laws in the state where you live will help you avoid discrimination based on your sexual orientation. If you live in a state that recognizes same sex marriages, mortgage lenders should recognize your marriage and, if you qualify, allow you to obtain a loan as a married couple rather than as separate borrowers on the same loan. The lender should also give you comparable interest rates to other couples with similar credit scores and income qualifications.

The legalities of gay marriage and buying your first home together are complex and can be confusing. Hiring a local LGBT friendly real estate professional at GayRealEstate.com will help take the stress out of buying your new home. They have the knowledge and expertise to help you make informed decisions that are in your best interest, negotiate on your behalf and ensure that no legal documentation is overlooked throughout the process.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Gay Realtor for your Home Purchase

Purchasing a home is a huge investment of your time and money. It makes sense that you would want a professional who understands your needs to assist you in the process. Below are the top 10 reasons to hire a gay realtor for your home purchase.

Gay Realtors1. You can be yourself so that you can develop a trusting relationship with your realtor. He will listen to and understand your needs. If you do not trust your realtor and do not believe he or she is working on your behalf, the process can be stressful and you could be taken advantage of.

2. Your gay realtor will assist you through the process of finding and purchasing your new home. He will keep track of all the paperwork and ensure that deadlines are met including during negotiations on pricing, inspections, etc. up to closing.

3. Laws in each state continue to change often and can have a huge affect on your rights in relation to real estate issues. Your gay realtor will be on top of housing laws and guidelines that affect the way that gay couples can purchase a home.

4. He will protect your rights during the buying process so that you can avoid the typical pitfalls that can delay or end the transaction. For example, deadlines, title issues, insurance and promised repairs.

5.  Your gay realtor will have the inside track on homes that may be perfect for you but have not yet been listed on the market. This can give you an advantage by being first in line to bid on the home.

6. Your gay realtor will let you know if a home is over or under priced and will assist you in making a reasonable offer. He will also submit the offer and negotiate with the seller on your behalf.

7. As a part of the gay community, your gay realtor will be able to tell you about the area including gay friendly businesses, local organizations, safe parks and nightclubs.

8. Your gay realtor can introduce you to members of the local LGBT community that may give you additional insight on the neighborhood and surrounding area that you are interested in.

9. Your gay realtor will know the best lenders that will work fairly with you and your particular situation.

10. Your gay realtor will be a great resource after you close on your home.

Before you hire a gay realtor for your home purchase, contact a couple from GayRealEstate.com and chat with them both to ensure you’ll get along with he/her and that you are comfortable relying on his/her advice. If you are not comfortable, you should continue your search until you find someone you trust. Building a relationship with your realtor will help take the stress out of purchasing a home and make the adventure enjoyable.

Exploring Forms of Home Co-ownership for LGBT Unmarried Couples

The forms of co-ownership available to unmarried LGBT couples include joint tenancy and tenancy in common. Note that while tenancy by the entirety is a common designation, it is only available to married couples. When you put both your names on a deed, you must designate the form of co-ownership that is best for both of you.

Gay Realtors Can HelpJoint tenancy automatically gives ownership of the property to the surviving partner when one of you dies. In some community property states including California, the term ‘with right of survivorship’ must be added to the joint tenancy designation to ensure that the parties intended the other party to inherit. The right of survivorship overrides any attempt to change ownership including a will. When one partner dies, there is no remaining interest to give to anyone else because all interest in the property automatically vests in the surviving partner. Both partners will have an undivided equal ownership, share equal rights to possession of the property and cannot finance or sell the property without both parties consent.

Tenancy in common property can be owned equally or with unequal shares of the home. For example, one partner could own 60 percent and the other partner 40 percent. Each partner will have the right to sell or will all or a percentage of his interest in the property to a third party. If one of the partner’s die without a will, his percentage in the property will be distributed according to intestate laws in the state of his residency.

If you own a home and decide to put your partners name on the deed, it should be kept in mind that by doing so, you are giving a gift of some percentage of the home to your partner. You will have no legal right to remove or force your partner to deed the property back to you. Adding your partner’s name to the deed could also trigger gift taxes, and could trigger the mortgage company to force you to refinance if there is a due on sale or transfer provision in the mortgage contract.

Before signing a co-ownership deed, it would be a good idea to prepare an agreement that details how expenses and ownership will be shared and what will happen to the home if you separate. While this may not seem important, if the relationship deteriorates, an agreement will help avoid major disputes.

Property laws vary between states. Always consult with a gay realtor from GayRealEstate.com or speak with a real estate attorney.

Dear Gay Realtor, My partner and I are getting married, do we need to do anything with the mortgage and home he owns individually?

You are not legally required to do anything with the mortgage and home that your partner owns when you get married. However, if legal arrangements are not made, you may not have a right to inherit the home if your spouse dies.

Dear Gay RealtorIf your name is not on the deed and no will has been made, his home will be inherited according to intestacy laws in the state that you live in. For example, since same sex marriages are not legal in Colorado, the spouse cannot inherit. In New Mexico, where same sex marriages are legal, New Mexico Statutes 45-2-102 dictates that the spouse will inherit his deceased spouse’s separate property if there are no surviving children and one fourth of the estate if there are surviving children.

If your spouse decides to add your name, he will need to file a quitclaim deed adding you as an owner of the property. When filing a quitclaim, you will need to decide how you would like to designate ownership. If you live in a state that has the designation, you could choose tenancy by the entirety. That designation gives equal ownership and transfers the ownership of the home to the surviving spouse when one of you dies.

Joint tenancy, or joint tenancy with right of survivorship in state’s that require that language, works in the same way as tenancy by the entirety. If you live in a state that requires the joint tenancy right of survivorship language and do not add it, you will own the property equally but you will not automatically inherit the home based on the deed.

The last option is tenants in common. That designation does not give right of survivorship. The deceased spouse’s half of the home will go to the person specified in his will or, if he had no will, according to the intestacy laws in the state where you live.

If you add your name to the deed but not the mortgage and your spouse dies, the mortgage holder may foreclose on the property if there are not enough funds in the estate to pay it off. Note that some mortgage holders include language in the mortgage contract that requires you to add your name to the mortgage before it can be added to the deed.

There are no legal requirements that a spouse be added to an existing mortgage other than what may be included in the mortgage contract. If you would like your name added, some mortgage companies may allow it and others may require that you refinance in both your names. If your name is added, you will both be liable for repayment of the mortgage.

The advantages and disadvantages of adding your name to your spouse’s existing house and mortgage should be evaluated before a decision is made. It would be wise to consult a real estate attorney who is experienced in LGBT law to find out what your options are and what would work best for your particular situation.

LGBT Home Owners Become More Prosperous Post-DOMA

LGBT home owners are destined to be more prosperous now that DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) has been struck down by the Supreme Court but only if they are married and live in a state that has legalized gay marriage.

Money in handCurrently gay couples can only marry in twelve states and the District of Columbia. There are another seven states that recognize gay relationships as civil unions but it has yet to be seen if the striking down of DOMA creates more red tape or less red tape for gay couples trying to do the same things financial as their heterosexual neighbors. An example would be filing joint tax returns to acquire tax deductions. In the states without recognition, gay couples will be filing a return to their state without joint deductions plus a dummy return to submit with their federal tax return that does shows deductions. In this bureaucratic equivalent of a contortionist act the couple ends up filing as if they were in a state that recognizes gay marriage with a return that is only done to prop up their federal deductions.

Financial management may become more complex than ever but at the same time more disposable income for gay couples may be the picture as a result. However there may be a bit of a wait for this money to actually be in the hands of gay couples. Apparently the Internal Revenue Service computer system has yet to recognize gay marriage and automatically rejects any tax applications that have two same sexes marked on it. This glitch, mentioned on many forums and gay activist websites, needs to be fixed so that applications are not denied on a technicality to do with filling in application fields.

In the “marriage equality states” same-sex couples are now also eligible for Social Security spousal benefits. This will make it easier for these couples to demonstrate a larger income and secure better homes.  However this once again, only applies opt those LGBT citizens living in the states that give them the freedom to be married.

The most prosperity and well-being is indicated for those couples that move to a state that recognizes gay marriage and that also recognizes gay marriages performed in another state.  The Supreme Court decision did leave a harmful provision in place that does not require any state to recognize a gay marriage performed in another state. This loss of status can result in a financial blow that could keep potential LGBT buyers renting. Unfortunately couples who move to a state that refuses to recognize a legal status established elsewhere may not be able to get the same tax breaks, pension rights and property rights available to heterosexual married couples whose status is recognized all over the country.

If you are married and living in one of the states where gay marriage is recognized you are highly advised to file an amended tax return as you are now allowed to file jointly and receive the financial benefits of tax deductions. Generally, amended federal returns can be filed for any years still open under the three-year stature of limitations on refunds. However, refunds could be claimed on older years if the couple previously filed a protective claim to keep the statute of limitations open just in case this Supreme Court ruling was overturned.

Now that DOMA is struck down many gay couples that are renters or who just could not afford to buy a house may finally be able to arrange their relationships and finances so that they can do so.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

Posted on July 13, 2013 in Gay Real Estate News