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Young buyers turning to shared home ownership to afford a house

Two couples split mortgage and all costs
Housing prices continue to rise as pandemic increases demand for single-family homes
Posted at 5:37 AM, Oct 25, 2023

Home price sticker shock, high mortgage rates, and low inventory are just some of the reasons you may be holding off on buying a new home in 2023. However, some buyers are getting creative to make housing affordable.

With the real estate market pricing so many people out these days, some younger buyers are joining forces and finances so that they can buy a home and get their hands on house keys of their own.

Four incomes means one nice home

Caleb Shore and Gabe Farmer are friends and roommates, but they also own a home together with their wives.

"Between the four of us, we were able to apply for a much more generous mortgage. The bank really liked that there were four streams of income instead of two," Shore said.

It is something that seems like a wild idea to some people.

"They told us that like it would go wrong, we wouldn't be friends," Farmer said. "That we would hate each other. That our finances would get messed up and torn to pieces. They're all wrong."

They like adding the fun of living with friends to their lives and, at the same time, subtracting half their home expenses. And they aren't the only ones doing this.

According to real estate analytics firm Attom Data Solutions, mortgage holders with different last names increased 771% between 2014 and 2022. Those are the years millennials became the top generation buying homes.

Agents say great idea, but know the risks

Michelle Sloan is a Re/Max real estate agent who is seeing this increasingly as affordability drops.

"By sharing those expenses, then they can get a larger home, a better home," Sloan said.

She says it's important to know the risks, however, such as one person landing a job in another city. Could you afford the home on your own, without the other owner?

"There's a lot to think about," Sloan said. "You want to make sure that you have an exit strategy, that you have a 'house prenup' as it were.

She suggests you may want to consult with a lawyer before you co-sign the mortgage with someone who is not your spouse. Shore and Farmer agree, saying you need to "get the sticky stuff out of the way first and decide how you split finances."

Also, they say make sure you have common ground on everything from the mortgage to household chores so there aren't any surprises.

"You want to know each other really, really well," they said.

That way, you may be able to afford to buy a home in this high-priced market, and you don't waste your money.

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