Can you buy a house without your spouse? That might seem like a weird and highly unromantic question, but there are plenty of reasons to ponder this possibility. Basically, this means that although you two might live in the home together, only you would technically “take title” to the property—a fancy way to say that you own it and have your name on the deed. It’s legal—and more common than you might think.
“This is always an option,” says Zachary D. Schorr, a Los Angeles real estate attorney. “People are free to take title to property however they want.
Plus, however it might look at first glance, keeping your spouse off the deed isn’t necessarily a vote of no confidence in the marriage. Particularly for couples entering second or late-in-life marriages, it can make a whole lot of sense. Here’s why you might consider this arrangement, including the pros and cons.
Benefits of buying a house without your spouse
Having only one name on a property’s deed can be a good move for several reasons.
- You’re buying a house with premarriage money. If you buy a home using money you earned or inherited before the marriage, it can make sense to keep your spouse off the deed, title, and mortgage. That way, the property clearly is in your name and can be sold or mortgaged at your sole discretion. You own it. Case closed.
- You might get a better deal from a lender. If you have a great credit score and a lot of assets, and your spouse has crummy credit and few assets, you might have an easier time getting a mortgage at a better rate if only your name is on the deed and loan, says Schorr.
- It’s easier after you die. If the property is in your name alone, you can bequeath it to whomever you want in your will, including children from a previous marriage.