Blog Buyer Mortgages Don’t Disappear When Love Does

Mortgages Don’t Disappear When Love Does

By Tracy Dau, September 24, 2019

Plenty of laws help protect married couples when they split up and divide their property. But no such legal sympathy exists for folks that are unmarried and do the same.  Many of us buy homes together without rings on our fingers.

Purchasing a house means coming in with a down payment, paying closing costs and other so many other financial responsibilities. Many couples often think they can do it 50-50 from the start.  But after being a realtor for so many years I often see the tables skewed right from the get-go.  I have worked with couples that have recently met, felt committed to one another (they’d already adopted a cat), but were tired of driving to one another’s homes every couple of days for companionship (I get it – trust me).  Often, one of these couples stumbles upon an open house, not intending to go to an open house, but because it was right around the corner from their coffee shop, so they had to sort of walk by it.  The sign out front had an arrow which commanded them to “check it out” so they had to go in.  Upon entering that house they catch the bug.  The bug elicits deep emotions that BUYING a house together needs to happen very quickly.  Like right now — because it itches.  ‘Did I know that the stagers carpet in the house is the color they have dreamed about?  That the swan on the fireplace mantle happens to be their spirit animal.  Oh, and wait….and that there was a blue lamp that really worked with the tile in the kitchen and until that day, they didn’t even know they both liked the color blue?  It’s a SIGN  — they say!  We are ready to buy together.’

So we start house hunting.

Often the following of scenario unfolds: One person in the relationship has saved a bigger deposit then the other.   But the other partner, makes a higher salary making it easier to pay the monthly mortgage payments. One of them is “handy” and believes they can take on physical repairs the house needs while adding monetary value but doesn’t have great credit for the loan.  Usually, there has been NO TALKING between the two love birds about the “what-ifs” and “what-we’d-do-thens,” if the relationship dissolves.  I get a tad  worried for folks if contributions aren’t divided equally from the start.  Mostly, because of the phone call I get years later after the relationship has gone side-ways, where one thinks that have contributed much more then the other.  One wants to house but the other thinks they are more deserving of it. (yikes).

So before you jump into the water and purchase, have a really deep conversation with your partner about the financials.  And if buddy tells you over a couple beers that maybe you need to get something in writing from a lawyer before you invest in property together, a contract, sort of like a prenup, about who-gets-what if you break up —  LISTEN TO YOUR BUDDY.  Its best to ALWAYS seek the advice of an attorney and get something in writing.  So both of you are protected.


Tracy Dau

Earth Advantage Broker

When you meet Tracy Dau, it doesn’t take long to realize where her true passions lie.  She loves houses and loves matching her clients with the place that’s perfect for them.  Ask her clients and they’ll tell you she’s a whirlwind of energy, a juggler of projects, a creative force, a good listener and a tireless advocate.  She comes to the job with a vision for what’s possible and the background to make that happen. Maybe it’s because she grew up in the breathtaking town of Juneau Alaska, where it rains 250 days a year.  It’s the kind of place where you either give into gloomy weather or dig deep and find the will to preserve. Maybe it’s because her folks instilled in her the drive to succeed. For the past sixteen years she has gutted and restored many houses, using any opportunity to work with her hands. Blending her formal training as a fine artist and designer with her experience as a builder, these old-house remodels have become her creative canvas. Her time as a product developer and architectural consultant at Rejuvenation House Parts introduced her to a community of like-minded folks who encouraged her to become a Realtor. She is drawn to vintage homes. The artist in her is drawn to their detail, the builder in her to their craftsmanship. Their charm and imperfections make them all the more fascinating and soulful. That’s what drew her to her first home. Stripped of all her painted-lady features, she sat sadly on a corner lot in SE Portland waiting to be loved and cared for. She had a yard full of shopping carts, a tree that had grown through her facade, motor-oil soaked mattresses and a basement full of the neighbor’s missing car parts, and yet, in spite of this her husband Nate and Tracy bought and fixed her up. This renovation lead to the next house-love-affair, followed by another and another. It only made sense to apply this knowledge and the valuable lessons learned along the way to help others looking to buy or improve their own homes. Which brings me to why she became a Realtor. Tracy chose this job because she is passionate about houses and loves the chance to develop relationships with her clients. When you choose to work with Tracy, she will advocate for your best interests, guide you through the home buying process and protect you from the stressful moments as they inevitably arise. She will advise you every step of the way to enable you to make good decisions, stay centered and reach your goals. Even after your  transaction has come to an end, Tracy is still available to answer your questions and help with your home projects. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. Her hobbies include teaching her children, Lander and Olivia, about nature, hunting for sea creatures, spotting birds, drinking bourbon in the winter and gin in the summer, eating chocolate and traveling to warm destinations.
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