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Mortgage mates, property pals and home buying friends
At some point we've all played the “wouldn't it be nice to live there” game, where we press our noses up to the estate agents window like hungry children eyeing up the cakes in a bakery, wishing we could afford the homes that are way too expensive for us. We all have aspirations far beyond our wallets from time to time, but more and more first time buyers are finding that they simply cannot afford to buy anywhere as property prices in the UK have rocketed to such levels that the first step onto the ladder has begun to look more like an impossible leap.
Now a new breed of buyer has begun to emerge, or maybe I should say ‘evolve’, because that’s what happens when nature finds a way around a problem, who have decided to tackle the issue of affordability head on, they are the co-buyers. If you’ve not been near your TV, radio or favorite newspaper recently you’d be excused for not having heard of this home buying movement. Put simply, co-buying is where two or more people buy a property together to join funds, divide of all the costs, and afford to buy years sooner than they could have done alone. Nothing new there, as friends and family have been doing that for an age now, what is new is the rise in the popularity of searching for your ideal mortgage mate on the internet.
Richard Cohn, Founding Director of Shared Spaces Limited, introduced us to the concept of co-buying with www.SharedSpaces.co.uk, launched in December 2005. He explains, “I flat shared for years before buying, and made some great friends along the way, and it was during this time that I came to the conclusion that was to lead to the creation of SharedSpaces. If you can flat-share with complete strangers with great success, why can’t people take it to the next level and buy together?”
Of course there is more to it than just that because buying is a far bigger financial commitment than renting, but Cohn suggests that with the correct legal framework (a document called a ‘Deed of Trust’ that costs only a few hundred pounds from any solicitor that protects your legal rights and provides a roadmap for the relationship), mortgage payment protection insurance (to protect you and your co-owners from hardship should you loose your jobs or are unable to work due to illness), and time (as much time as you need to get to know your potential co-buyer well enough to call them a friend or a business partner in the process), there is no reason why you cannot have a successful co-buying experience.
SharedSpaces.co.uk has over 2,500 registered members across the UK looking for someone else to buy a property with, joined by a common goal, to fight the affordability gap. Whether you are a key worker or a city high flyer if you’re looking for a mortgage mate, a property pal or a future friend to buy your first home with there seems to be plenty of people to choose from. I don’t know whether co-buying solves the long term problem of property prices rising faster than salaries, but it sure does seem to offer an option for those who have been left behind.
About the Author: Richard Cohn is the Founding Director of SharedSpaces.co.uk, the UK's co-buyer network website. "I have always had a passion for property, from my education as a Surveyor to my employment as a property consultant and the launch of SharedSpaces.co.uk to help anyone who could benefit from joining forces with someone else to realise their property dreams." Why not join the thousands already registered looking for someone to co-buy, co-invest or co-rent with