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If your SO lives with you but you own the house

JanaGreen posted 12/21/2020 10:49 AM

How do you handle stuff like home renovation?

I just replaced all the carpet in my home with pergo, and I paid for all the materials and labor. It was something I had planned to do from the time I bought the house, well before he moved in.

So my garage door is old and unsightly, and has started to make weird noises. He just mentioned that when (hopefully) we get our second stimulus checks, he wanted to apply his toward replacing my garage door.

I don't know how I feel about that. He pays me money monthly towards household expenses. But this is different - this is a home improvement and I own the house. Should I just thank him and let him do it?

FamilyMan75 posted 12/21/2020 11:00 AM

I'd let him, and maybe when there is a time when he wants something or needs something and you're in a place to help him, return the favor.

AnnieOakley posted 12/21/2020 11:43 AM

If I recall you started living together about the time of lockdown? So while it has not been a long time and he obviously contributes his portion to the household, I would let him do it. I assume that he would help in other DIY things if he was capable? Maybe this falls under the not feeling like a “guest” or something in your house?

In my experience, hanging a garage opener was a two person job...so offer to help and thank him kindly for taking care of it!

ETA...just caught garage door...I would still let him do it.

[This message edited by AnnieOakley at 11:47 AM, December 21st (Monday)]

JanaGreen posted 12/21/2020 11:51 AM

Yup Annie, we quarantined together and then just made it official.

If I had it to do over buying this house, I definitely would have put "replace garage door" instead of "repair or replace garage door" in the contract post-inspection!

Catwoman posted 12/21/2020 14:33 PM

Have you thought about improving the door making it easier for him and not just you?

It's been my experience that when a man wants to help you out in this regard, let him (within reason). My SO is a godsend in this regard--he's always willing to hang pictures or do something of that nature in return for a nice meal or some treats or a loaf of bread.


TrustedHer posted 12/22/2020 18:20 PM

I am in this very situation, on the other side.

My Lady owns her house that we live in together.
I own a house 900 miles away that my son lives in.

We have split the monthly expenses in a way that seems to work for us, but it's her house. I've also paid the occasional plumber or electrician or HVAC repair, but not all of them. She and I and her sons did some major repairs on the kitchen ceiling lights. And we've repainted a couple of rooms.

I think if I made capital improvements in the house, like a roof or expensive flooring, there's a risk of losing some balance. Should I expect to reap a portion of the proceeds when she sells it?

But a new built-in appliance, a new water heater, a new garage door -- those are grey areas. Big purchases, but definitely maintenance.

Something else to consider is your legal relationship status. In my state, cohabitation does not imply common-law marriage. There are exceptions, like mingling assets or owning real estate together. Another reason to be careful about capital improvements.

(edited to fix capital/capitol. I never get those right.)

[This message edited by TrustedHer at 6:24 PM, December 22nd (Tuesday)]

Jeaniegirl posted 12/22/2020 20:51 PM

I'm of a different mindset. If married, that's great ... but just living in, no way would I want someone putting 'equity improvements' in my home. I guess I always look ahead to what if .. and would they want something for it. Helping with monthly expenses, fine. Occasional small jobs ...fine ... but replacing a garage door is not cheap.

JanaGreen posted 12/23/2020 11:45 AM

Trusted, I think this is where I feel "off" about a nice offer. I am quite possessive of my little house.

wildbananas posted 12/23/2020 13:29 PM

Truthfully, if SO happened to live with us, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking money for something like that. Because it's my space (which I'm really possessive over, even though I have a bunch of people living here at the moment laugh ) but also, I would not be interested in handing over equity money as reimbursement if I ever sold my house.

And on the flip side, if I lived with him, I don't think I'd ever offer money for any home improvements. Not my house, not my call, not my job.

skeetermooch posted 12/23/2020 13:54 PM

I'm super possessive of my little house too and so I'd take a good look at any laws around common law marriage and co-mingling of assets before I let him pay for repairs or replace major things in the house. I'm more than happy to pay for it all myself for those reasons. If I researched it and was certain his investment didn't give him a claim, I'd probably let him pay. I think some folks need to feel they're pulling their weight and feel a bit emasculated if they perceive you as shouldering more than they are.

lieshurt posted 12/23/2020 14:35 PM

I'm of a different mindset. If married, that's great ... but just living in, no way would I want someone putting 'equity improvements' in my home. I guess I always look ahead to what if .. and would they want something for it. Helping with monthly expenses, fine. Occasional small jobs ...fine ... but replacing a garage door is not cheap.


Jeaniegirl posted 12/23/2020 15:07 PM

Remember the old law of 'mechanic's lien' which would give him the right to put a lien on your property .... if you had a bad brake up and he was vengeful ... for payment of his work on the garage door. Nope. I wouldn't do it. I too am possessive of my 'home.' I think some of us lost so much with D that our homes are very important to us.

EllieKMAS posted 12/23/2020 16:14 PM

Well, I owned my house before xwh and I got married, but when we started living together I wanted him to consider it his home too. He was not so good at you know, having a job, so couldn't really contribute big things like that, but honestly I would have let him had he shown the inclination. To me, that is contributing to my home, supporting my SO, etc.

Knowing what I know now, I would probably make sure that's how he feels about helping with that and make it clear that the 'return' on this investment is just the pleasure of having contributed, and not to get anything out of it money-wise.

demolishedinside posted 12/29/2020 09:48 AM

Yeah, it’s tough. What I think is that he is reaping the benefits financially of living with you...meaning cheaper rent and possibly utilities, since things are split. In that case, it makes sense to me to have occasional help on home repairs or improvements, since he would benefit from those, too.

JanaGreen posted 12/29/2020 10:08 AM

I truly think his desire to contribute is coming from a good place. It's definitely financially advantageous for both of us with him living here. I just wanna be smart. I appreciate everyone's POV on this!!

nothisfriend posted 1/10/2021 21:14 PM

These are questions I have right now also. BF and I were in a LDR, I own my home and he rents. When we both started working from home he basically moved in with me and officially did it in October. I am currently selling my little house and buying a slightly larger one. My mom is helping facilitate that and while she likes BF she is concerned that my house remains "mine." I have a Ds and BF has no children. I made it clear early in our relationship when we talked about the future that my house will be for my son. He knows that and agrees. In the new house now I pay for all the house related things and he pays all the utilities. He will retire in June and we have talked about making improvements to the new house.

When he divorced his WW of 10 years he walked away from their house because it was hers before. Even when his atty said he could have gotten something he said no it wouldn't have been right. He knows that owning my house gives me security.

It's a hard position- you want to be protected but you don't want to look like you expect things to end. Everyone 's input here is helpful.

barcher144 posted 1/12/2021 12:43 PM

My current situation is similar.

Her mother technically owns the house, but she is going to buy it once her divorce is final.

Our agreement, which has always been verbal, is that she pays for everything and I will do labor for free. Of course, our agreement also had a long-term caveat to it that she would retain all financial stake in the house, even if we got married (think: pre-nup).

Also, I pay rent... plus half of utilities. If he isn't paying rent, then I'd let him pay for the new garage door.

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