Now that marriage equality is the law of the land and most of the challenges to said decision have been defeated, LGBT couples are free to get married without any roadblocks. Many are, but after the “I do’s” are done, some couples look at each other and realize they’re not sure what to do next, especially when it comes to their housing and real estate. This isn’t necessarily an LGBT issue—some straight couples also don’t realize how changing their marital status changes other things, but more gay and lesbian couples face this confusion simply because they didn’t do any research before getting to the altar. After waiting for so long to get married, few wanted to wait another minute!
So for those who aren’t sure how being married changes things, here are a few points you may want to consider.
Sharing a Rental Property
Some landlords and apartment complex owners will let you add another person to your lease—some will even let you add a non-spouse roommate. Others may make you wait until your lease expires before drafting a new one that includes both of you.
Changing Your Home Title and Mortgage
It’s a little more complicated when of you owns the property you’ll be living in. First, this may mean the other person has to either break their lease or pay out the remaining months left on it. You may also have to sell a property if you both own. Either way, once you’ve straightened out that situation, you have to decide if you’re going to add your spouse to your title. Doing so isn’t that difficult—you simply have to complete the necessary paperwork from your title company and pay any fee they have. Being on the title gives your spouse a legal right to the property as a joint tenant.
However, it does not make them obligated to pay on the mortgage in any way. In order to add your new spouse to your loan, you must refinance and have them on the application as a co-borrower. This can work in your favor if interest rates are lower since it can lower your monthly payment significantly. However, if rates are higher, you may not want to refinance and risk your payment going up. You will also have to deal with extra costs such as having your home appraised and paying closing costs if you can’t include them in the loan.