Written by: Rachel Antony

What happens when you have to share the responsibilities of real life with your partner.

We are at that stage in our lives where we finally have a “real job” and are (supposedly) putting money away for the down payment of our future Pinterest-styled home. Turns out adulting is hard, and having a partner in the mix can result in finishing off that bottle (or 2) of wine by yourself. Picking out the house/apartment is the easy part – deciding who gets to be the owner is where the struggle sparks. Since we’ve moved past the traditional days of marriage and then house, we have to figure out what house and then marriage really means. Mortgages are honestly about as fun as they sound – is your relationship ready for this?

Constant lectures from parents taught us that buying a house is an investment that we should all make at some point in our lives, but mortgage payments can be a serious relationship downer. Unfortunately, you can’t just swipe left on a mortgage when things get a little rocky, so you both need to be prepared for some rough waters ahead. What’s going to happen if you break up? Getting out of a mortgage agreement can be more complicated than understanding Justin Bieber’s hair choices.

My advice? Put on your big girl pants and have a chat with your partner about what it means to commit to each other and your home. Chatting = the key to a happy (and fair) relationship in the new house. What that really means is seriously discussing the future, if that involves marriage, and how you will work together to keep that money tree alive. Money can cause serious rifts in relationships but if you have an open and honest relationship beforehand, hopefully you are at least going into it on the same page.

Got two mortgages, $30 million in total? Even Drizzy knows that this could get a bit tricky if someone can’t pay their half. If you are going to buy the house as an unmarried couple, sign and seal a deal that outlines binding terms of the purchase, including payments or a breakup so that no one comes out with the short end of the stick.

From my personal experience, both people (and their dog) needs to be ready to commit to a mortgage for a joint housing venture to work out.  Quick summary: I wanted an actual house with a yard and no condo fees, so I went ahead and found one. But my boyfriend and I were at different places in our life – I had started my career and he was still going to school. When we had the talk about the house title, it was beat out by his truck and school payments. What I learned was with the help of my parents, a roommate, and this crazy thing called saving, I don’t need no man. Just kidding, we are still together, and I figure it’s a lot easier to put his name on the house later than having to burn it off.

Looking for a good way to test the level of maturity and trust in a relationship? Bring up mortgages and see what happens; things get serious real quick. If you’re looking for an easy way to get out of a relationship, try making them feel guilty, get angry, and pressure them into buying a house. If we learned anything from watching Kourtney and Scott fall apart, it’s that when your man isn’t ready to grow up there is nothing you can do about it. My advice would be to make sure you are committed to your relationship before you go and buy a house together. You may be in love but are you ready for life?

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