How To Hold Title As A Couple On Your New Home

Real Estate Agent with EXIT Realty Beatrice Associates 9506757

When buying a home with another party whether it is a spouse, a significant other, a friend or a family member you need to think about your tenancy or property ownership.

Tenancy refers to how you will hold the title.  You actually may have several options all of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

Who would have thought!!

Tenancy or property ownership laws will vary from state to state.  It is important to consult with an attorney about your options and the benefits and downsides of each.

Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenants

Joint tenancy is a type of ownership of property or assets where two or more people have equal and undivided shares in the property. In joint tenancy, each person has an equal right to the whole property, and if one owner dies, their share automatically passes to the remaining owner(s) without the need for probate or a will. This is called the right of survivorship.

Joint tenancy is commonly used for real estate property, such as a house or a piece of land, but it can also apply to bank accounts, stocks, and other assets.

Married couples often use joint tenancy to hold their property jointly, but it can also be used by family members, friends, or business partners.
It's important to note that in joint tenancy, each owner is responsible for the property taxes, mortgage payments, and other expenses related to the property.

Additionally, any owner has the right to sell their share of the property without the consent of the other owners, which can sometimes lead to conflicts.

Tenants In Common

Tenants in common is another type of ownership of property or assets where two or more people own a share of the property, but unlike joint tenancy, each owner's share is distinct and separate.

This means that each owner can own a different percentage of the property and pass on their share to their heirs or beneficiaries through a will.

Unlike joint tenancy, tenants in common do not have the right of survivorship. If one owner dies, their share of the property does not automatically pass to the other owners, but instead, it is passed on to their heirs or beneficiaries as per their will.

This means that the surviving owners may end up owning the property with new co-owners, who may not have the same interests or goals for the property.

Tenants in common is also commonly used for real estate property, but it can also apply to other assets, such as bank accounts, stocks, and investments.

Each owner in tenants in common is responsible for their share of the property taxes, mortgage payments, and other expenses related to the property.

Overall, tenants in common provides more flexibility and control over the property, but it also requires more communication and cooperation among the co-owners, especially in making decisions about the property.

Tenants by The Entirety

Tenants by the entirety is a type of property ownership that is similar to joint tenancy but is only available to married couples. It is a form of co-ownership in which both spouses own the entire property together, rather than owning separate, divisible shares.

Under tenancy by the entirety, each spouse has an equal right to possess and use the property, and neither spouse can transfer or sell the home without the consent of the other spouse.

In the event of the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner of the property. This is known as the right of survivorship.

Another key feature of tenancy by the entirety is that the property is protected from creditors of only one spouse. In other words, if one spouse has debts or judgments against them, creditors cannot seize or force the sale of the property to satisfy those debts, except in cases where both spouses are jointly liable for the debt.

Tenancy by the entirety is recognized in some US states, but not all. It is not available in community property states, which have their own rules regarding property ownership for married couples.


Each option will determine:

  • Your rights.
  • What happens to the property upon your death.
  • Future tax liabilities to your estate
  • Protection against creditors.

While it seems that they are very similar they all have different ways in which they operate.  Discuss your option with your real estate attorney and your estate attorney as well to find out which is best for you.

Comments (5)

Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

Kevin Vitali In Pennsylvania it should be spelled out that Joint Tenants are with Right of Survivorship. I would assume I may be wrong but you may want to do the same in Massachusetts to avoid any confusion 

Apr 03, 2023 10:02 AM
Kevin Vitali

In Massachusetts on the deed it is usually spelled out as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.   Joint Tenants in MA it is implied there is a right of survivorship.  But each state may be slightly different.

Apr 03, 2023 10:23 AM
Dan Hopper
Dan Hopper - Gold Way RE - Westminster, CO
Denver Broker / Real Estate Advocate

It's always good to have the buyers discuss with a RE Attorney how one should take Title.  Not all buyers' circumstances would dictate one type of Title ownership.  Great information, .

Apr 03, 2023 10:12 AM
Kevin Vitali

Dan Hopper thanks!! Its certainly makes sens to talk to an attorney.

Apr 03, 2023 10:20 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:


Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as a friend. I would love the follow back. Bill

Apr 03, 2023 11:31 AM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent Information. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend.

Apr 03, 2023 01:14 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Apr 05, 2023 02:21 AM