If you are planning on buying real estate in Virginia along with someone else, then you must take several factors into account, particularly when the other co-owner is not your husband or wife, or a family member whom you trust.
First, consider the form of taking title. Please read our article on Types of Deeds in Virginia which explains the various forms of ownership. In situations involving unmarried individuals, the choices will primarily be between taking ownership as tenants in common or as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Understanding the differences between the two is vital because each specific type has drastically different consequences. Consider the following example:
Second, if the purchase of the property is being financed, then it is important to discuss which party or parties will be responsible for the mortgage payments. In situations where both A and B are on title, but only one party – say A – is responsible for the mortgage payments, then there could be a situation that arises in the future where the co-owner simply refuses to “pay his share” of the monthly mortgage payments.
Our firm often gets queries from individuals who co-own property with someone else, but that person is NOT responsible for the mortgage payments. Further, in such situations it is not unusual for the person not responsible for making mortgage payments to simply leave the jurisdiction or refuse to cooperate in making payments. To avoid a situation where you find yourself burdened with making mortgage payments for your co-owner, you should strongly consider the issues described in this article before making your decision.
If things go bad, and you are stuck with the monthly mortgage payments that your co-owner should have been helping you with, then you may want to consider reading this article here on Partition Actions.
For more information, please contact your real estate lawyers at Fox and Moghul.