Procedural/ethical question that may sound like a relationship question
January 29, 2014 8:15 PM Subscribe
This is a financial/procedural/ethical question, not a relationship question. My SO and I recently bought a house together. The loan is in SO's name, because we got a better rate that way. SO is therefore the official owner right now. Our verbal agreement upon commencing the search for a house, and what we both decided was fair, was that my name would be added to the deed after we closed. We also talked about what we'd do if we split up, and we agreed that one would buy the other out, or we'd split the money from the sale of the home (minus our individual contributions to the down payment).
We've moved in, and in typical fashion, haven't gotten around to the deed bit. Actual question after the jump.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (23 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
We split the mortgage and the bills 50/50. SO paid less than half of the rent -- actually only about 33% -- and none of the utilities in the place we previously shared for five years (for reasons I never agreed with and that still chafe me, but which I can't and couldn't do anything to change). That inequity led to serious financial instability for me (but added stability for SO), and was the partial basis for my condition that I be added to the deed, and for our agreement to either buy the other out or split the proceeds from the sale of the home if it came to that. (SO put down the majority of the down payment on the house we bought.) SO agreed that making me an official half owner after the house was ours would be the equitable and thing to do, since I carried us for so long in the old place, and we both agreed that we'd be "even."
What you probably see coming is that I'm growing increasingly aware that I'm unhappy, and have been for a while. (No lectures about then buying a home, please. It is what it is.) I don't know what I/we will do about it, and I don't know what our future looks like. I have not made up my mind to leave, but it is among the options. I would like to be on the deed, even (or especially) in the event that it comes to that. It's what we agreed to. I've already put a lot of money and sweat into a house that, on paper, I do not own. And if I were to go, I would need the money. (One other factoid: We are not married, but are relationship is recognized and deemed legal and official by the state we live in.)
I'd like to move forward on the deed thing, which will require my being proactive and doing the legwork and stuff. But I feel guilty engineering the whole thing, or even bringing it up, since the idea of leaving exists in a shadowy place in the back of my mind. I feel manipulative and pushy and scammy, but I also know that I would be protecting myself.
What's the right thing to do here? I'm not ready to discuss leaving with my SO, because I have a whole lot of thinking to do first and SO is the type to freak out and shut down rather than discuss. So saying "Hey, I'd like to move forward on that deed thing because the thought of leaving you has crossed my mind" wouldn't be productive and isn't an option I'm considering. (And that makes me feel dishonest.)
In this context, is being proactive and assertive about finishing what really should have been the final step of buying this house a manipulative act on my part?
And to reiterate: This is a financial/procedural/ethical question, not a relationship question.