Whether you are buying a home just for yourself or co-buying as an unmarried couple, financial experts recommend taking precautions. With home prices for Pinellas County real estate going up, it’s more expensive for individuals to qualify for mortgages. In order to start building up equity, some individuals co-buy with a partner, a family member or friend. According to a piece by Q13Fox, the white picket fence fantasy is an unrealistic dream for some single people earning too little. A growing trend is co-buying or pooling resources.

Having a legal document in place

A legally binding contract helps avoid some of the sticky questions that arise if a person dies, moves out or breaks up with another co-owner of the home. Some of the questions to answer in a legally binding contract include the time line. Some co-owners want to live together for 5 to 10 years and then sell the home so they have enough equity to buy their own individual homes. Communicating clear expectations from the starts prevents major drama and financial losses.

Working on your credit

The reason many people co-buy a home is that it’s difficult for single buyers. An article by money.com points out that tight lending rules explain why 16 percent of the homebuyers were a single female in 2013 compared to 20 percent in 2010. Single men made up only 9 percent of the buyers in 2013, down from 12 percent in 2010. To boost your chances of qualifying for a home, eliminate major loan payments such as car payments that hurt your debt-to-income ratio. Also, consider a second job. Just make sure you have taxable income reported on your taxes.

Other advice for first-time single home buyers includes FHA or federal housing administration loans. Some of the expected challenges when house hunting with other single buyers in a home-sharing situation include different options, tastes, and preferences for layout. Single buyers often prefer a home with dual master bedrooms, but some argue about who gets the second or first-floor living spaces. A good real estate agent and title company help you navigate the trickier problems with buying a home with non-related friends or with family members.

At International Title Partners, we help home sellers and buyers in Pinellas County, Florida. For more information about how to save money at closing and buy in a non-traditional way, please contact us.