Joint Accounts

How Soon Is Too Soon to Buy a House With My Boyfriend?

We haven’t been dating long, but I feel good about our future

Kristin Wong
Forge
Published in
4 min readAug 5, 2019

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An illustration of a cardboard house in between a girlfriend and boyfriend looking at real estate on their laptop and phone.
Illustration: Laurie Rollitt

Dear Joint Accounts,

My boyfriend and I are each thinking about buying homes in the near future. He’s tired of renting, and has been saving up to get his own place. I already own the house I live in, but I’m looking to move someplace with a yard for my dogs and a little more space. We’re also both on a time constraint to move: His lease ends at the end of the summer, and my neighbors are driving me crazy in my town house, complaining about my dogs barking.

We’ve only been dating for five months, but I feel our relationship has serious potential. Part of me thinks it seems silly for each of us to separately buy houses when we might live together in the future, especially because we’re looking in the same areas at the same price range. We send each other listings all the time, but haven’t had a serious conversation about doing this together. What should we be talking about?

Sincerely,

Ready to Buy

IIt’s hard not to fixate on the worst-case scenario here. I’m not saying things won’t work out between you and your boyfriend — you said yourself you have serious potential. But you’ll have to ask yourself if “potential” is enough for you to take the leap.

Since you own your current place, you already know what an undertaking it can be to buy a home. But the time and money that go into that process are nothing compared to how difficult it would be to figure out what would happen to the home if you split up. If you do part ways down the road, you’ll have to figure out how to reimburse the person who doesn’t keep the house. This is called a buyout, and it’s complicated enough that lawyers often have to get involved.

My point is, what’s the harm in waiting? If you wait to buy a home together, what do you lose? That’s not a rhetorical question. Think about all the cons of waiting, and then weigh those against the cons of rushing into the process. I think you’ll find that the second list has more dire possible outcomes than the first.

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Kristin Wong
Forge
Writer for

Kristin Wong has written for the New York Times, The Cut, Catapult, The Atlantic and ELLE.