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Home & Real Estate: Mortgage advice for LGBT couples

Home ownership can be tricky for same-sex couples — especially since we don’t have automatic property inheritance rights if one partner dies, and we don’t have easy access to divorce courts to help us sort out disputes if we break up.

That means lesbian and gay couples need to take time to think through the best ways to structure home ownership and mortgages when purchasing a home, well before any problems arise.

We asked Mercedes Pasqualetti — general manager for HLM Financial Group, which offers accounting, tax, mortgage and financial planning — for advice on common scenarios involving same-sex couples and home ownership.

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10 tips for buying and selling a home

BUYING A HOME

1. Don’t expect to buy your first house and get rich quick as a “flipper.” The average tax incentives of home ownership are equivalent to about 2-3 months of free rent per year.

2. Preview homes online. You can learn key information such as taxes, HOA dues, days on market, and pictures. Your agent can set you up with a special portal through the live MLS system.

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Home & Real Estate: Atlantan Robert Gaul’s eclectic design

Interior Designer Robert Gaul

Design is about lines — how they collaborate, conflict and flow together. The loft of renowned designer Robert Gaul and his partner, Outwrite Bookstore & Coffehouse owner Philip Rafshoon, reflects Gaul’s taut mixture of eclectic collections and clean lines.

“My spaces tend to be a little more contemporary. I would say they’re eclectic, but an edited sense of eclecticism because you can get a little too eclectic,” he laughs. “I’m always collecting things so I have to always be editing it.”