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The pros and cons of co-ownership

“I am considering buying a house with either a friend or close family member. I’m keen but a bit worried about how it will work and if it’s a good idea. Can you give me some guidance on what the pros and cons might be of jointly owning a property?”

 Whether the property is a residence or investment and whether you are buying with a friend or family member, it is a great idea to take legal advice at the outset.  Many people forget and then run into difficulties when unconsidered events occur.

The main attraction of co-owning is in sharing the expenses and mortgage repayments and dealing jointly with the upkeep, maintenance and management issues.  

On the cons side, as a co-owner you do not have the same freedom over a property as with sole ownership. You may want to sell whilst your friend may not. You may want to renovate more than your friend does. What if you disagree about how the property is to be used?  What happens if you are no longer friends or one of you dies?

You will have to decide how you want to own the property, in equal undivided shares or to a specific percentage.This is important if for example you wish to record a different percentage ownership to reflect unequal investment.  

It is possible to enter a co-owner agreement covering these issues at the outset. Our advice would be to discuss all options with a property lawyer before making any final decisions. Our lawyers are very experienced and can help you draw up an agreement, in most cases, for a fixed fee so that it is an affordable way to get peace of mind for the future.


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