Buying with someone else

Q: I’m thinking about buying a property with someone else to make it more affordable, what are the most important things to consider?

A: Buying a property with someone else – whether it’s a partner, spouse, friend, or parents – is a common scenario for many. However, it’s not a decision to take lightly, and there are a number of things to consider.

Firstly, you need to agree on the property. I know it sounds basic but it’s very easy to do the legwork on behalf of your co-buyer and find the right property, only for you to realise that they had something else in mind. Or, because they haven’t seen as many bad options as you have, they don’t recognise a good one when they see it or where they may need to compromise.

Once you have agreed on the property, you need to be commercial with your purchase. Think of it almost like a prenuptial agreement, a lot of people find discussing money or awkward situations quite difficult, but it’s imperative that you do. It is much better, and easier, to iron out all potential scenarios at the outset, rather than once you’re legally and financially bound to one another.

For example, you should set out who owns what proportion of the property and ensure that your solicitor is aware so that the legal ownership of the property correctly states this. You should also outline who is responsible for what proportion of the outgoings such as the mortgage, utility bills, property maintenance, and so on.

In addition, you need to consider the possibility that one person may want to sell at a time that the other doesn’t, how is that going to be handled? And if you’re sharing the property as friends for instance, do you need to discuss ground rules about how you use the property, for example you might agree that you will give the other person one night per week in the property alone so they can have a quiet or romantic evening. This may sound over the top now, but relationships can disintegrate very quickly so the more assumptions and misunderstandings you can avoid early on, the better.

If you have a question you’d like Jo to answer please email or tweet her @joeccles.