For most couples, buying a home is the largest single financial investment they will make. Choosing a real estate professional who’s knowledgeable and competent is a key factor to the success in navigating all that’s involved in a real estate transaction. Be aware that just because a real estate agent markets to the gay community or is linked from a gay and lesbian website doesn’t mean he or she is a competent real estate professional. On this same note, just because a Realtor is gay or lesbian doesn’t always mean they’re knowledgeable about LGBT issues, legal or otherwise. They don’t teach this stuff in real estate school.
Since the Obergefell ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, we’ve seen changes in how a couple can take ownership and protect each other. Married same-sex couples are now treated the same as any married couple when it comes to spousal survivorship upon the death of a spouse. We still need to contend with couples who have chosen to live as a couple but not get married.
In the case of non-married couples, the best course of action is to secure a Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship Warranty Deed at the time of closing on a property. JTWROS WD is one version of co-tenancy that gives co-owners the right of survivorship. This means if one owner of the property dies, his ownership stake will pass to the surviving owner(s). This will create the contractual and legal documentation that will provide you with the same protections granted to married couples. Taking title any other way will require probate upon one of the partner’s deaths and may result in the deceased partner’s heirs by law becoming owners of the property along with the surviving spouse. We’ve all heard heart-wrenching horror stories about the outcome when this happens.
Deciding to make a home purchase is the easy part. However, there are many aspects to a home purchase you should consider. Read more in A Financial Planning Guide for the LGBT Community.
About the Contributors:
Doug Jacobs & Jeff Mikeska, owners Jacobs & Mikeska Realtors
Brokers Doug Jacobs and Jeff Mikeska entered into the partnership of Jacobs & Mikeska Realtors in 1996. Not only are they partners in real estate, they are life partners since 1992. Doug is a native “Austinite” with an accounting degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin. Jeff has lived there since 1986 and also attended St. Edward’s, receiving a degree in marketing.
Doug and Jeff work with clients buying, selling and investing in real estate. They at one time had a personal real estate portfolio consisting of 10 properties, giving them firsthand knowledge in real estate investments.
Some of their designations and honors include Certified Negotiation Expert, Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, Certified Relocation Specialist, Five Star Real Estate Professionals, WHO’s WHO World Wide of Real Estate Professionals, NAGLRP (National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals), TAR (Texas Association of Realtors ), NAR (National Association of Realtors), ABOR (Austin Association of Realtors), and AGLCC (Austin Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce).
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