How Old Do I Have to Be to Buy a House?

One of the very first real estate transactions I ever did was for a 19-year-old single woman that had just graduated from college early and was working in a pharmacy. She bought a little historical bungalow in town and was probably one of the most self-sufficient and capable people I had met so far. So, how old you have to be to buy a house?How Old Do I Have to Be to Buy a House?

Technically, you need to be 18 in most states. This means you reach the age of majority to complete legal agreements. Because buying a house deals with legal documents, you must be of sound mind and at least 18 years old to sign a contract. You can potentially own property if you are under 18 as long as somebody of legal age assigns the contracts.

Can someone buy a house at the age of 16 or 17?

If that person has early emancipation, which can be done as young as 16, they can technically buy a house themselves. Early emancipation means everything though, which means that a person is considered a legal adult for all purposes and parents are no longer obligated to support that individual. Rules vary from state to state and enter most laws children under the age of 18 generally are not bound by any contract they signed. This can be a little bit tricky because lenders don't discriminate against age but the minimum age is the age at which the mortgage note can be enforced legally in that state in which the property is located.

Can a parent cosign?

If that child is under the age of 18, the parent has to be the legal signature but if they are over 18 and need a co-signature because that person is just now establishing credit and needs a little bit of help getting started, that's usually fine as long as all the other typical regulations comply.

Related: How to Consolidate Credit Card Debt and Save Money

Any borrower needs to meet certain financial regulations if they're going to finance a home. Lenders want to make sure that the applicant has enough income to support the mortgage as well as any emergency funds, has a low debt to income ratio, and good credit. This can be hard to establish right out of the gate at 18, but not impossible. Even if an applicant has maintained stellar credit, makes a good income, and has little to no debt, they can usually obtain a home loan fairly easily as long as the mortgage is within their price range.

Things get a little bit muddy when were talking about inheritance, trust, or estate planning. This should be handled on a case-by-case basis with a real estate attorney. There are a lot of variations when it comes to minors obtaining real estate and financing. If it's a simple title transfer, a real estate attorney should be able to explain the requirements and legalities for your state.

Related: What Are the Tax Consequences When Selling an Inherited House?

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