The National Association of Estate Agents advises those looking to buy a home with family, friends or a partner to think carefully before committing to a purchase.
Pooling deposits and income to purchase a property can offer huge benefits as competition within the property market increases.
Jan Hÿtch, president of the NAEA, said: “Joint ownership can offer a novel route on to the property ladder, especially if finances are tight. However, the decision to buy with another has to be taken objectively, and in the right circumstances. Even buying with a family member can pose problems if you are not wholly agreed on your intentions for the property.
“Buying jointly requires a lot of trust, transparency and above all good planning. Drawing up a formal legal agreement is one way to give all parties a degree of security, but ultimately taking the time to make a carefully considered decision is the best precaution you can take.”
For anyone considering a joint ownership arrangement, the NAEA recommends having realistic expectations of the relationships and making sure you know whether the purchase is to be treated as an investment move for both parties. One of the benefits of buying with longstanding friends or family should be an inherent level of mutual trust. However, this doesn’t mean it isn’t worth consulting lawyers about a legally binding co-ownership contract and agreeing in advance what will happen if one owner’s circumstances change.
There are mortgages that are specifically geared towards this type of purchase, so shop around for the best deal. Always leave a paper trail – All paperwork relating to the property or mortgage must be in the names of the co-buyers. Remember to get any agreements written down to ensure there is always a record of joint decisions. .
Remember to treat decisions about the house as business transactions, regardless of who you buy with, and ensure important agreements are recorded in writing.As well as any legal agreement, drawing up a list of non-shared items or other costs at the start.