When buying or selling a home, you will be asked for your relationship status. You may have wondered why marital status matters in home sales. This information may help.

Mortgages Versus Deeds

There are two important documents related to your home purchase – the mortgage and deed. The mortgage is your responsibility to pay back any money borrowed to purchase the home. It indicates who is legally responsible for repayment. Deeds detail who actually owns a property. The two documents do not always list the same name. For example, only one spouse could be listed on the mortgage, for one reason or another. However, both spouses may be listed on the deed and therefore have legal ownership to the property.

Spousal Rights

Even if only one spouse is listed on a deed, the other spouse may still have ownership rights due to marital laws. Here’s a common scenario. Someone buys a home while they are single but later marries. Ten years after marriage, they decide to sell that home. Although only one spouse may be listed as the owner, the remaining spouse may have rights to half of that asset through the marriage. When the home is sold, both spouses will need to sign paperwork relinquishing their rights to the property and transferring it to the new owner.

Why Marital Status Matters in Home Sales

To ensure that homes are properly transferred from one party to another in a sale, the title company will always ask for the marital status of all parties. For home buyers, both spouses are typically listed on the deed even if only one person’s name appears on the mortgage. For home sales, both spouses are required to sign certain documents.

The above are just a couple examples of why marital status matters in home sales. There are other possible scenarios such as separated spouses, divorced couples, estate sales, etc. which can be more complicated. For assistance with your closing and special marital status situation, give us a call!