• A defacto guide to buying property


    These days many couples will purchase their own home before wedding bells ring. Nikki McCarthy takes you through the practical considerations to buying a property without a marriage licence.


    More than 79% of couples who married in 2014, lived together first.  A three percent increase in just 12 months, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    These days many couples will buy their first home before wedding bells ring.  Many don't get married at all.  While home loan providers tend to view married couples as a single entity, unmarried couples are sometimes assessed on their own.  

    It's not exactly the height of romance, but there are practical considerations when you're buying a property without a marriage license.  

    Ask your solicitor to draft up an agreement that clearly sets out how the property will be divided in the event of a separation.  This formal contract could document whether the property will be sold in the event of a breakup or how one party will be compensated for their share in the property if they move out and the other party wants to continue.

    It's just a little bit of extra peace of mind in case things don't go to plan.

    Couples need to decide on an ownership structure that will determine what will happen to the property if one of you were to pass away.  Where you purchase as joint tenants, the ownership of the home automatically passes to the surviving partner.  However, if you purchase as tenants in common, the deceased persons will determines how their ownership will be divided.

    Whether you're married or not, buying a home with your partner is a big financial commitment, but it's also a very exciting step.  

    Make sure you have a plan in place and are prepared to have a few practical conversations up front.

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    About the author

    • Nikki McCarthy

      It was Nikki’s role on property show ‘On Display’ (CH9) that led her to residential real estate. She understands what it takes to get the best results when buying or selling a home having worked with developers and agents through the course of the show.

      Nikki is now living the dream and working closely with clients as she continues to pursue her love of all things property. It is her goal to work closely with her valued clients to achieve the best possible results when buying or selling their home.

      Nikki McCarthy

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  • Disclaimer:

    This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.