Are you thinking of buying a house? Are you dreaming of that perfect home that you and your family will grow and live in, sharing perfect memories together? Are you curious about co-ownership and think it’s a good fit for you? Before you jump straight onto to browse listings and envision your dream property, there are important steps to take. Buying a house isn’t a single step process and, if you are considering the route of co-ownership, it can get even more complicated if you aren’t adequately prepared. 

This is the first piece in a series where we will break down the co-ownership process into 5 key steps that every group of partners has to go through in order to co-operatively purchase their home. In this article, we’ll take you through the first and most important step of all: finding your partners.

Getting Your Head in the Right Zone

Maybe you have an idea of your perfect partners to go in on a house with. Perhaps they are family or close friends? You’ve known them for so long, it’ll be a cinch to co-own a house with them, right? Unfortunately, it’s far from that simple. Our realty parnter, GoCo Solutions has helped many partners and groups co-own homes and the key indicator for a successful partnership is preparation not prior relationships and history. 

There’s a big list of things that a group needs to establish before they can even start looking at house listings. First and foremost, being in the right mindset to move forward in the process is paramount. A co-operative mindset means that all of the decisions throughout the process of co-ownership need to be made as a group not as individuals. This is the basis for establishing a long-term relationship that can exist through hardship and difficult situations that managing a house can bring.

It is important to have having emotional intelligence and be able to cooperate, compromise and act with compassion to ensure the continuing success of your partnership. These are the pillars to having the right mindset and WeOwn encourages the embodiment of these values throughout the process of co-ownership. Everyone needs to be on the same page. Remember that purchasing a home is a high stakes transaction and if people aren’t in agreement, things will fall apart. Trust in your partners through cooperation, compromise and compassion will ensure your success. 

Great, So Who Do I Pick?

Who you pick to partner with will be dependent entirely on your preference, but thinking about things like value alignment should be an important consideration. Perhaps you want to live with your family in a multi-generational household? Maybe you want to live with some friends and pursue a greener lifestyle to collectively reduce your carbon footprint? It’s entirely up to you.

What’s most important is to have open communication and be on the same page with your partners. In some cases, strangers can be the best partners in a co-ownership agreement as they approach the process as a business transaction. Sometimes it can be easier to build a relationship than managing complex history and existing relationships. 

Sitting down with potential partners and going through lists of the needs and wants of each member, running through scenarios of ‘what ifs’ and developing an understanding of each person’s flexibility, goals and lifestyle can make a huge difference early on. Preparation and having these discussions first saves a lot of time and potential disappointment down the road.

So I’ve Got My Group, Can I Look At Listings Yet?

Another big step in establishing your partners and ensuring that they are the right people for you is establishing how co-operatively you want to live. There are degrees to co-living and you and your partners are the ones who must define and establish those boundaries. This will ensure that everyone is on the same page. If you and your partners don’t share the same vision of co-operative living, then co-owning a property with them will not work out. There are many models of co-living and the degree to which you share your spaces is up to you and your partners’ preferences. Have a look at the table below.

You need to establish a model of sharing that all partners are happy with. Some partnerships want to share almost everything while others might be more modest. We view co-operative living as a spectrum and encourages groups to explore and discuss options.

There are benefits to personalising your model of sharing. This is not limited to sharing physical spaces either. Perhaps you have children and want to share sitting duties or perhaps you have pets and want to share walking and pet care duties? Perhaps you have a car and can assist in carpooling? Whatever the case, everyone has something to offer and openly communicating with your partners about possibilities and resources is key to establishing boundaries and defining your model of sharing. 

Wait, That’s Only Step One?

There’s a lot to do before you can even look at houses if you’re considering co-ownership but it is rewarding in the end. Co-ownership may not be for everyone, but if you can find the right group of people it may be the perfect option for you.  WeOwn is here for you to walk you through each step of the process whether it be looking for partners or developing a consensus-based decision-making structure. We are also fervently working on a digital solution to help connect co-owners, however more to come on that in the coming weeks. 

Our next episode will discuss how to build your partnership’s financial model. Stay tuned!