Q: I need to know if putting my boyfriend on the title to my house will affect my credit since he has been going through bankruptcy.

Also, what would be the best way to put him on the title?

A: My first question to you is why do you want to do this? Unless your boyfriend is also on the mortgage (which probably can’t happen due to his bankruptcy), you are giving him half of the value of the house but none of the liability. If something happens, you could wind up owing all of the outstanding balance due on the mortgage but owning only half of the equity.

That’s a potentially catastrophic financial move.

But to answer your question, putting him on the title shouldn’t affect your credit. It also will not improve his credit. The only thing that this may do is trigger a gift tax issue, since you are, in effect, giving him half of the value of the equity of the house. You are only allowed to give another person up to $11,000 per year tax free. If you give anything above that, you may have to provide some paperwork to the IRS documenting the gift.

A better option would be to keep title in your name until such a time that you can refinance the property together. At least if you refinance the property and put both your name and his on the mortgage, he will have a legal responsibility to pay back the mortgage each month. At that time, you may want to execute a quit claim deed, which will put him on the title of the home.

Before you do any of this, however, I urge you to walk through your options with a real estate attorney and accountant or tax preparer.

Published: Oct 24, 2005