The benefits of teaming up to buy a home are often obvious. Friends, relatives and unmarried couples increase their buying power by joining forces. However, the best way to make such a purchase and protect the legal interest of each party in case the partnership unravels isn’t always obvious. Legal protections for unmarried people buying a home are not the same as those for married couples, according to Sonja Selami of the Law Offices of Sonja B. Selami. To begin, unmarried people buying a home should split the costs evenly. That includes the down payment, the closing costs and any fees. “At least they know that they are in this financial situation together,” Selami said. “Both partners or both friends or everyone contributed 50 percent.”

Selami recommended that unmarried people buying a home together put an agreement in writing that lays out what happens if their partnership dissolves. “They need to spell out all the terms,” Selami said. “Let’s say they’re going to contribute 50 percent each. That’s how the ownership would be if they decide to split. They don’t need to go through the court because it’s very expensive. If they start a partition lawsuit, it’s going to take them at least 24 …

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