Money When you break up a year after buying a condo together

09:35  02 december  2017
09:35  02 december  2017 Source:   MoneySense

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Q: My son and his common-law partner bought a condo together in Vancouver last year —which has since gone up in value. Break -ups are hard and can be exasperated when a division of assets is necessary.

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Q: My son and his common-law partner bought a condo together in Vancouver last year—which has since gone up in value. The relationship did not last and she would like to buy him out as both their names are on title. Are you aware of the steps involved to legally proceed with a real estate buy out and is it a wise move from an investment point of view?

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Speculation rampant in Vancouver’s red-hot condominium market South China Morning Post Full coverage Source: Real Estate News. When you break up a year after buying a condo together MoneySense Full coverage Source: Real Estate News.

Why talk it up ? I feel like their kids pretending to be adults. Get engaged, get married, then buy a house when you 're financially ready. If they were on a loan together and her business went under, creditors could come after the condo .

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— Norma R.

A: Hi Norma. I’m sorry to hear that your son is in this position. Break-ups are hard and can be exasperated when a division of assets is necessary.

I’m assuming your fear is that if your son accepts a buyout from his ex, he may then be priced out of Vancouver’s hot property market.

To minimize the impact of future property price appreciation, he should take the money and buy his own condo or home.

Your fear—that by giving up ownership of the condo he misses out on future appreciation—neglects how difficult decisions can be with someone you choose to no longer build a future with. Just imagine it’s five years from now. Your son has met someone new and he is happy. Very happy. He wants to buy a place with his new love and asks his ex if she could buy him out of this condo. His ex, on the other hand, has just gotten out of another relationship; she is unhappy, bitter and feeling defensive. How well do you think your son’s request will be taken? Probably not all that well. Of course, things could work out totally different, but that’s just it, we don’t know. For that reason, I’m of the belief that it’s always a good idea for each part of a dissolved partnership to sever emotional, physical and financial ties. As soon as possible. Remember, it’s already hard to make unemotional decisions about what to do with an asset when hurt or regret or anger or disappoint lingers, never mind when years have passed and life has unfolded in unpredictable ways.

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Gary and Brooke share a fabulous condo in Chicago that becomes a battleground after they break up . When I was growing up , my mom and I used to watch old movies together on Saturday afternoons, and we loved anything with Cary Grant in…

Biggest pitfall is that if you break up you 'll still own the condo together . She may not be willing to sell and so you 'll still have to communicate with her after the Buying a home together when married can be tricky enough, divorce rates being what they are.

The dilemma, then, is how to make sure that both your son and his ex are treated fairly when splitting this asset. This should be relatively easy, as long as they agree to pay for some expertise. The first is to pay for an appraiser who specializes in divorce settlements. This appraiser will be able to provide a “fair market value” report—a snapshot of what the property is currently worth if it were sold in as-is condition on this specific day. This FMV report would give a price or price range that your son’s ex could take to the bank in order to obtain mortgage financing. She would then be responsible for paying your son half of the condo’s FMV. He can accept this money free and clear, as he doesn’t have to pay taxes since the condo was his principal residence.

As to your fear of losing out from an investment perspective, remember that he will be selling his portion of the condo to his ex and, if he chooses, buying a new condo in relatively similar markets. That puts him in a net-net position—what he gained in price appreciation on the sold condo will help with current, higher condo prices.

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That’s what Lauren Bowling, author of the millennial personal finance website “L. Bee and the Money Tree,” found out when she and her then-fiancé broke up after buying a house together . “He threatened legal action after the breakup because he had given me that money.”

‘The Break - Up ', co-starring Jennifer Aniston as the babe who splits when she can't tame him, isn't in that playful league. They meet at a Cubs game, fall deeply in love, buy a condo together and live happily ever after , for two years .

Finally, when it comes to the legal process please advise your son to pay a mediator or lawyer. A few hundred or even a few thousand spent on professional, unbiased advice is well worth the money spent. If he wants to focus on a quick resolution, look for a lawyer or mediator that specializes in uncontested divorces. These professionals realize that not everyone wants to battle over every cent in court and will work to find a fair, quick resolution. Also, by employing a legal professional you are assured that all the paperwork and documentation required to remove your son’s name from the property title and the mortgage documents will be complete and filed, leaving him free and clear to enjoy the rest of his life.

Ask a Real Estate Expert: Leave your question for Romana King »

Romana King is an award winning personal finance writer, a real estate expert and speaker.

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