Save. Spend. Splurge.

If you don’t want to get married, you probably shouldn’t buy a house instead

Saw on HGTV the other day (Home and Garden TV) a couple that said something along the lines of:

“We are not ready to get married, so we’re going to buy a house instead.

Baby steps, right?”

EAGGGHHHH!!!!!, is what I screamed at the TV.


I get why they don’t want to get married. I don’t either.

Frankly, I don’t really see the benefits of marriage when being common-law partners in Ontario pretty much gives us all the rights of married folk, except I can’t claim his assets and he can’t claim mine either in the event of a separation (no problem for me or my partner).

I just see that we’ll be $20,000 – $30,000 poorer for a piece of paper.

We BOTH do not want to get married because we BOTH don’t see the point it and we BOTH understand the consequences and risks of what we are doing by staying common-law partners instead.

Even if we did sign a piece of paper and get married, I’d want a prenuptial agreement so it’d be the same thing in the end for us.

For me personally, having a baby is technically a stronger commitment to each other only because it’s for life.


If you divorce without kids, there’s really just the divorce settlement and splitting of assets to contend with, but then you’re pretty much free and clear of each other.

With a child, you still have to try and raise the child together even if you no longer want to be together.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but this is my stance.


Buying a house is a financial commitment to each other. You have both of your names on the deed. You both live together in that house. You have both put in money into the house (maintenance, furniture, etc).

If you separate, this is just as nasty as a divorce.

  • Who gets that end table you both love?
  • Who paid more to the mortgage than the other?
  • Are there records of this?
  • Who put down the bulk of the down payment?
  • Was it truly equal?

These are all questions that arise when you buy a house together and then split.

In my mind, it is the same as committing to a marriage, just without that technicality of a divorce.



This is not an unusual case, but it is of a guy we know who did NOT want to get married to his common-law girlfriend.

See, she was kind of pressuring him to get married which made him uncomfortable and a bit suspicious because in Quebec, if you are not married, the rules are pretty clear that you can’t snatch half of each other’s assets, which I think was what she was aiming for.

So he bought a house with her instead of getting married.

He paid the down payment, the mortgage, all the bills, and did all the maintenance on the house.

She only paid for the phone bill, citing that she was a freelancer and she didn’t have a steady job like he did so she couldn’t really pay all of those bills…. yet.

10 years and 2 children later………

She hosed him anyway because they bought a house together, but he put down the down payment AND he paid the mortgage with it in his name, but put her name on the deed with him.

Essentially, she owned half the property, but without half of the liability (the mortgage).

She then told him she wanted to sell her half of the house, and he stupidly agreed to buy it from her, and took on a line of credit to pay her what she owned in the house if they would have sold it.. that.. he.. pretty much.. paid.. 100%… for.

All without getting married.

She just told him: The house is worth _______. I want half.

He didn’t even have the mortgage cleared but didn’t want to sell the house, so he basically took out a line of credit to pay her in advance or anticipation of clearing the mortgage on the house.

(I fell over when I heard that.)

Oh, and she nailed him down for child support on top of all that money he had to give her, at $1000 a month.

(Ooo she was a sly one.)


Another couple we know in Quebec, also had a similar dilemma but he was a bit smarter about the situation. The girlfriend was living with him and she figured: “Hey if I am paying rent to his mortgage, shouldn’t my name also be on the deed?

Made sense to her.

She tried to pull the same trick on him, but he said: “Fine I’ll put you on the deed once you cough up the 50% of the equity of the home that is already currently paid, plus you sign that you are liable for the other half of the loan.

She realized she didn’t have the money but also didn’t want the liability, and backed down.

They’re still together.


Whether you buy a house, get married, have a baby… it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Sure, some things require more of a lifelong commitment (e.g. having a baby), than buying a house or getting married (it is messy but you can at least get out of it somewhat intact and never see each other again), but it IS ALL a big grand commitment to each other.

If you cannot imagine marrying the other person, then do not buy a house or have a baby with them.





  • Anonymous

    I would NEVER pay half of someone’s mortgage and not have my name on the deed. I think that’s insane. In fact my boyfriend wants me to pay half of the mortgage when he gets a house and I’ve repeatedly said no. He said that he’ll put me in his will and I don’t want that either unless he puts my name on the deed from the get-go. I’m not paying one cent on his mortgage nor any house bills because he doesn’t want my name on the deed.

    It’s stupid when women sign over everything over to the man. No thank you and not interested. To be honest I’m not sure if I want to be in this relationship anymore. I’m sure that lady is still together with him because she has no other options. I knew a lady from work that was divorced and shared the house with her ex-husband.

    I no longer work there so I dunno if her situation has changed but she said they both couldn’t wait until they had enough money saved up so they could move on with their lives. I’ve heard of situations where women stay with men for years and even decades and when the time comes, the woman eventually leaves because her situation changes. She finally graduates from college or saves up enough money from her job and can have a nice place of her own.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      So why not pony up 50% of the down payment and then 50% of the mortgage?

      • Anonymous

        @save. spend. splurge.: I actually did offer that choice to him a long time ago in 2012 and I told him to wait until I’m done with university but he said no. He wants to own the house 100% in his name only. He doesn’t want anybody on the deed but him but he expects me to contribute to the mortgage and bills if I stay with him and live in that house.

        I asked him why he expects me to pay for something if my name will not be on there and he said, “because you would live there and would take up space.” We currently live in an apartment. He doesn’t want to work with me so I’m just about almost done in this relationship.

  • Sabrina

    Agree with the title, but have a different philosophy towards marriage. We have combined everything. It would be very difficult to separate what he put in and what I put in, and also what he’s spent and what I’ve spent. In essence, we are planning for a successful marriage rather than a successful or low hassle divorce. If we weren’t willing to ‘risk’ this, we shouldn’t get married. Just another perspective.

  • Dan

    Couldn’t agree more, I bought a house with a lady I wasn’t ready to marry, we split up within a year in the middle of a severe property market crash. Could have been v nasty, thankfully wasn’t (no equity meant no argument over buying each other out, I took the debt but also the house so it kinda evened out).

    I learned a valuable lesson a relatively easy way but was so, so lucky not to learn it a very hard way. Cost me thousands, months and some awkward conversations with her to get her off the mortgage too.

  • Leigh

    Part of my concern with getting married too is the marriage tax penalty… We would pay about $5,000 this year in extra income taxes and it’ll only go up with our income (I estimated it would cost us $9,000 next year). In the US, the tax brackets for married couples aren’t 2x the single tax brackets, so our incomes put us in a higher tax bracket married than single. According to Obama, you’re high income at $200,000 single and $250,000 married. We’re both under that single, but there is no chance of being under that married with both of us working.

    My boyfriend moved in to the condo that I own and he doesn’t pay me rent. We specifically arranged our “shared” expenses so that the mortgage isn’t included in the calculations at all, I pay all of the house stuff (property taxes, HOA dues, maintenance), and he pays for other stuff that adds up to a similar amount (works out to internet, electricity, groceries, eating out together, taxis, and some travel). This has been working great. We’ve discussed him possibly buying into the place if and when we get married, but that’s still a ways away. I don’t want him on the deed or the mortgage if we’re not married. That just seems unnecessarily complicated when this way is working out great.

  • Lisa

    New layout! Nice! 🙂

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