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Zoopla urges couples to tackle 'awkward conversations' when buying a home

Zoopla is urging couples to tackle the “awkward but all-important financial and ‘what if’ questions” ahead of buying a property together for the first time.

It comes as research by the portal, among more than 1,000 adults who have purchased a property with a partner, found 68% risk exposing themselves to losing tens of thousands of pounds, or even more, by not protecting their share of the purchase.

More than a quarter of those who bought a home and then split up claim they lost out as proceeds of the sale were not split fairly. 


Of those, 72% said that their partner received more than their fair share – or that they were not treated fairly. 

The remaining 28% admitted that they got more than they rightfully deserved. 

The property website has teamed up with behavioural psychologist and author Jo Hemmings to create a guide on how to have essential conversations about money when buying a home with someone else.

It covers key conversations to have and advice on how buyers should protect their own share in a property. 

In the event of a break-up, Zoopla said, most people will be reliant on getting their property investment back to finance their future living arrangements. 

But more than a third said that they had no personal savings whatsoever when they split up with their partner– rising to 46% for women.

Despite this, just 15% said they took out a deed of trust or cohabitation agreement to protect their share, and only 10% had a floating deed or commensurate share deed. 

Meanwhile, a mere 7% had a property break-up plan clarified as part of a prenuptial agreement.  

This means that 68% are left vulnerable if they were to break up with their partner, especially if they put in a larger share of the deposit, Zoopla said.

Its research also shows that most people are aware of what a huge commitment it is to buy a property with your partner, with 85% of those who have done so claiming it’s as big a commitment as marriage.

Another 62% even say it’s as big a commitment as having children. 

Despite this, buyers simply aren’t protecting themselves, with 44% assuming that – because they went into the property 50/50 – they would automatically receive their fair share.

But Zoopla said this isn’t always the case – especially if marriage or kids are involved. 

Meanwhile, a third admitted they didn’t realise this was something they should have in place. 

In typically British fashion, one in ten admitted tackling  potential break-up conversations when buying a home was just too awkward.

Among those who had no legal agreement in place, just 32% said they settled on an informal arrangement – but these don’t hold up in law. 

Hemmings said: “Money is always an awkward conversation to have. However, couples often end up arguing about finances because they don’t have a clear plan.”

Daniel Copley, consumer expert at Zoopla added: “Buying a home with a partner is incredibly exciting, but the reality is that break-ups do happen. 

“It’s incredibly important that anyone making this commitment protects their investment. Otherwise, they potentially risk major financial losses in the future. People may assume they’ll come to an amicable agreement, but anyone who’s experienced a messy break-up will know that fairness and reason often go out of the window. 

“If you are putting more into the deposit, you could be particularly at risk, as if your partner is contributing to mortgage payments, they could be entitled to half the home. Key conversations to have with your partner when buying a home are how you plan to split the deposit and mortgage (and ensuring this is reflected in proportion of ownership), if you’ll split maintenance costs in line with this, as well as other key finance questions such as if you have any debts.” 

Read the first guide in the series.


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