There comes a time in every man’s life when he wants a backyard — that little patch of grass behind a house with a hammock, a BBQ and a little wooden shed to store “stuff.”
Unfortunately for Canadian city dwellers, that personal space comes at a premium. In fact, according to The Economist, the Great White North ranks second only to Belgium as the most over-valued housing market in the world.
For many of us, homes (at least the kind with big backyards) are priced out of reach. Before you resign yourself to a cosmopolitan life sentence in one of those cramped and overpriced downtown condos, consider a new trend in Canadian real estate: co buying.
Co-buying is when a group of friends or family members pool resources to buy property. For first time buyers looking to get in to the market or those looking to move up the property ladder, co-buying is an affordable investment alternative to condo living.
In England, where house prices have long been stratospheric, co-buying is commonplace. Here in Canada, however, it is a new trend and it’s best to approach anything trendy with caution.
Remember: a house is the single biggest investment most of us will make in our lifetime. Before considering co-buying, do a little moral inventory. Are you open to collaboration or do you prefer to make big decisions on your own? If you don’t play well with others, you’re better off in a bachelor pad.
Find the Right Place
Your best bet is a property already divided into units, but anything’s possible with imagination and an eye for design.
Gut and renovate a Victorian mansion with four chums and live an Entourage-esque lifestyle in your funky four-unit crash pad. Split a breezy row house with another young couple to create the perfect home for the pitter-patter of little feet.
Get It in Writing
Co-buying is essentially a business deal, and business and friendship don’t always mix. Discuss assumptions and desires at length. Have your lawyer draft an airtight agreement that outlines all possible scenarios. If your investment partner dies in a fiery plane crash or, worse, turns out to be a total douche, you’ll be happy you planned your exit strategy.
Image courtesy of mike.wilson.