Though a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the United State Supreme Court some time ago, home financing for LGBT couples remains a challenge. Because federal and state laws are not at parity, a number of issues arise as to the legality and availability of real estate financing for gay couples, even if they are legally married.
The problem really lies with the fact that only part of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional and, the federal and state governments have not yet instituted any measures which give LBGT couples the same access to mortgage loans, refinancing, and other similar debt instruments. However, this isn’t to say it’s an impossible task, but it nevertheless remains a bit more difficult.
LGBT Mortgage Options Limited
There are a number of home financing options for heterosexual and same sex couples, that is, if both live in a state which recognizes same sex marriage. For instance, the VA has extended many rights to LBGT partners, but some remain unavailable. For same sex couples that are servicemembers, VA home loans are generally accessible. One way is if you were married in a state which recognizes same sex marriage and remained in that state, while being eligible for VA benefits.
“The VA will probably not recognize your marriage as valid if you lived in state that didn’t recognize same-sex marriage and travelled to another state to get married, and you still live in a state that does not recognize your marriage. If Congress or a federal court expands the VA’s definition of marriage to include any marriage taking place in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, benefits will become available more equally to couples throughout the nation.” –Nolo.com
Another route to getting a home loan through the VA is to married same sex couples that also married in a recognition state and later moved to a state that does not recognize same sex marriage, but you were eligible for benefits before the move. A third avenue to getting a VA mortgage is you traveled from a non-recognition state to a recognition state and either moved to that same state or to another recognition state and became eligible for benefits.
Getting a Home Loan for Same Sex Couples
To get a mortgage without going through the VA, same sex couples can apply for a home loan together, though the process will differ somewhat, it’s actually not much different for unmarried heterosexual couples. The key is to how the property ownership is setup.
It’s a very good idea to not only speak with a knowledgeable gay real estate professional, but a real property attorney. You as a same sex couples will have three ownership options: joint tenancy with rights of survivorship, tenants in common, and tenancy by the entirety. Each has its own advantages and limitations, so speak with a professional to ensure you choose the option which best works for you and your partner.