Q: Do you have any suggestions for unmarried couples considering a home purchase together? You don’t need to state the obvious…like making sure that we’re committed to each other before taking such a leap. We’re very committed and will probably marry eventually. I would never consider it otherwise.

But we probably won’t marry before needing to move out of his elderly mother’s home! Both of us are first-time buyers for a single family home. My boyfriend owns a 6-flat in Wicker Park with 3 partners, but he doesn’t consider himself home-buying savvy. His money has been tied-up with that investment for a couple of years now, but the time has come to get a place of our own.

I’m mainly wondering if there is anything to beware of concerning a mortgage…if there is a way that we could both take advantage of FHA loans. Also, are you familiar with The Historic Chicago Bungalow Initiative? I’ve been doing a bit of research on that program as well.

Any bit of wisdom you could offer would be much appreciated.

A: Thanks for your note. You and your boyfriend should have a partnership agreement drawn up. That will indicate who owns what portion of the home and what the responsibilities are. This way, if you don’t end up together, how the home will get divided will already be in writing, and should prevent a major war.

You will be able to take out one loan, not two. But investigate conventional financing before you jump into FHA. FHA is typically more expensive and cumbersome than conventional financing. A local mortgage broker or lender can offer you either.

Since you live in the city of Chicago, check out the Chicago Housing Authority for discount loan programs available to first-time buyers. They will also have information on special deals for people who buy and live in bungalows.