Advantages & Disadvantages of Adding Someone to a House Deed
Adding a person to the deed or title of a piece of property you own has disadvantages and advantages. You should carefully consider all possible benefits and repercussions before you add a person to the deed, and you should check state and local laws in an effort to prevent unpleasant surprises created by local laws.
Advantage: Shared Responsibility and Ownership
When you add someone else's name to the deed, you present him with partial ownership of the home and property. This can be beneficial if you get married and want to make sure your spouse is considered an owner of the home in case anything happens to you. It also can help elderly individuals who want to handle issues of home ownership and inheritance before they die. Sharing the ownership of a home may help offset the costs and labor required to maintain the home, although if you are including a financial arrangement, you must make sure to have it recorded as a legal document to protect your interests.
Disadvantage: Property Control
By adding a person's name to the deed of your house, you are giving him an element of control over the home. This means you may be legally required to consult that person or take his desires into consideration when making decisions regarding the property. As a legal owner of the residence, the person who's name you add to the deed may be able to prevent you from selling the property, renting it out or placing a lien on the property. If you want to make changes to the home but the other party does not, you may have to take him to court to gain legal permission to make changes. Once you add someone to a deed, you cannot remove him without getting his consent or taking him to court.
Disadvantage: Mortgage Issues
If there is a mortgage on the home, the lender may not allow you to add a person to the deed. Doing so without checking with the lender may void your mortgage contract and initiate foreclosure proceedings. If you add a person to the deed without legally binding him to a financial arrangement, you may wind up paying all the bills on a property that is only partially yours in the eyes of the law.
Adding someone's name to the deed on your house gives him another asset that may come into play if that person dies, is sued, gets a divorce or develops financial problems. Court systems can order assets sold, including the other person's half of your home, to pay debt. If the other person dies and leaves half your home to someone else, you may become co-owner of a home with someone you do not know or who wants to sell the home for a profit.