Home buyers direct a series of major decisions when it comes down to finalizing their Littleton property purchase. Among the most important are two with decisive ownership and financial consequences: who will be the primary borrower for the mortgage; and who will be named on the deed?
The answers to these questions are the opposite of the fine print details that few of owners ever need to concern themselves about. These cast defining roles in determining the eventual ownership of the Littleton property and in assigning financial responsibility for loan repayment.
Whose Name Goes On the Loan?
Determining who is to be the primary borrower may not be as simple as you would think. After all, one person might have the excellent credit needed to insure the best interest rate, while the other person currently brings in a higher annual income—providing the cash flow boost that enables a sufficient mortgage. It is often necessary for both members of a couple to sign on the dotted line to get a Littleton property financed. A loan officer will walk buyers through the process, explaining which combination will offer the greatest loan amount at the most favorable terms.
Whose Name Goes on the Deed?
It’s important to keep in mind that the deed is almost completely separate from the loan. Even if only one person signs for the loan, several people can be listed on the deed. Placing a name on the deed shares ownership of the property. That can be helpful in the event of an untimely death or to avoid probate during an estate settlement, but there can also be drawbacks.
Since those named on the deed share in title rights to the property, that can empower them to prevent a sale—and also leave the property vulnerable to their debts. That’s why it’s important to be clear about all outstanding obligations before adding people to a deed, lest a pre-existing debt result in a lien being filed against the property. It’s also good to remember that until the loan is paid in full, the bank or lender also has an ownership interest, which is why the bank can take possession for non-payment.
Making the Decision
Making the most of your Littleton property is a continuing planning exercise that begins with these first ownership decisions. For individuals as well as couples, the multiple issues that come into play have financial and tax ramifications that merit careful consideration.
Before buttoning up those final decisions, I always advise clients to consult with their accountant and lawyer to get the whole story—it’s a story which begins with your first call to my office!