Selling a house for unmarried couples


Residents of Shelby and other parts of North Carolina might want to learn more about what happens when two unmarried people sell their house. If an unwed couple lives together, what happens when they break up and decide to sell their home? It will depend in part on how the title to the home reads. It’s likely one of the following:

  • Joint tenants – Each owner shares equally.
  • Tenants-in-common – Each owner has a distinct share in the house; it might be the percentage amount they contributed in buying the property.

Does a couple have to sell the home when they split up?

There are some options when it comes to splitting up the property. They may refinance in one person’s name; this person would need to have good credit.

Alternatively, they may sell the home to pay off the real estate loan and then split the proceeds. If the property is worth less than the amount of the loan, this may not be a great option.

One person might keep the home and makes the payments until it is paid off. The person walking away must be comfortable remaining on the loan until it’s paid off.

When the property is in only one name

If the house is in only one person’s name, it remains that person’s property when they separate unless there was intention that there be a common share. Proving this is difficult without a written agreement. However, if both people contributed to the purchase price, loan payments and maintenance of the house, then it may be possible to prove joint ownership.

If you have questions regarding real estate law, it may be best to consult with a knowledgeable attorney for guidance. They may help you find the right solution while protecting your financial interests.