Home ownership is often assumed to come with the trappings of “traditional” household formation (heterosexual coupledom, kids, and a white picket fence). The truth is, not all of us are building that kind of life. According to the Brookings Institute, “the so-called ‘nuclear’ family is no longer the dominant household structure.”
As household demographics continue to shift, so too can our ideas about how to achieve home ownership. If you’re just starting your real estate journey- the idea of coming up with a down payment, qualifying for a mortgage, and keeping cash on hand for repairs or renovations might feel like distant dream.
The good news is- you don’t have to go it alone! Buying with friends (or lovers, family members, co-investors, etc.) enables you to pool resources and gain a toehold in the real estate market – often sooner than you thought you could.
Here are some things to consider as you explore co-ownership:
- Discuss your goals and financial situation with your potential co-buyers. Before committing to a shared investment, have a candid conversation about your long-term goals, financial stability, and expectations. This will help you determine if you’re on the same page and avoid conflicts down the road.
- Consider your financing options. There are lots of ways to finance a joint purchase. Work with a lender who understands the financial nuances involved and respects alternative household configurations.
- Create a legal agreement. While a chore wheel might work for ironing out the details of who’s on dish duty- you’ll want something more official for your co-purchase. Before buying with buds, it’s essential you have a legally binding agreement in place that outlines everyone’s responsibilities and rights. For example, how will the mortgage payments be split? Who will be responsible for repairs and maintenance? What happens if someone wants to sell their share of the property?
- Work with a real estate agent who understands and is supportive of alternative household configurations. I support my clients in creating whatever kind of household works best for them.
- Be flexible and patient. Co-buying a property can be a complicated process, and it may take longer than expected to find the right property and reach an agreement. Spend time spelling out the details and finding a property that meets everyones needs – it will be worth it!
Ultimately, good communication, compassion, and flexibility are the most critical factors in achieving a harmonious and successful co-purchase. With a like-minded realtor/lender team behind you- nothing can stop you!
Thinking of buying with friends, family members, or members of your polycule? Need help connecting to friendly lenders? Give me a holler!