Buying A House With Your Best Friends: Life Hack Or Lapse In Judgment?
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at email@example.com.
Anyone with a wifi connection over the past several years knows that Millennials and Gen Z have been increasingly frustrated with the housing market. The demographics have taken to the internet to share this displeasure in a variety of forms including memes, sarcastic tweets, and proclaiming intentions of buying a house with friends as the only viable option moving forward. Humor and antics aside… some are actually following through on what originally seemed like amusing jokes and loose promises. Should you buy a house with friends? We’re here to find out.
Pros & Cons
Buying a house with friends can be the realistic next step for those wanting to invest in a property prior to having a partner or getting married. For example, if you’ve been renting a home with some of your closest friends since college graduation, a natural progression may be to invest in a property together. Venting over making large rent payments without receiving equity or any returns could be the motivation for purchasing a home. Thinking about splitting all associated home-buying costs in at least two ways makes the idea more feasible.
This is likely one of the most tempting pros: increasing your purchasing power in a high-cost market. Relying on friends and their additional income means qualifying for a bigger mortgage which makes a number of homes more affordable. There’s also a chance that with your combined finances you can prioritize a bigger down payment, resulting in lower interest rates or a lower monthly payment.
However, be aware of your friends’ credit scores or any existing debt as this can impact your mortgage applications. According to Money, when lenders are reviewing an application, they tend to go off of the lowest middle credit score. If it’s not great, you could be paying a higher interest rate or encounter an altogether more challenging home-buying process.
Splitting payments equally is often easier said than done. Life is unpredictable, and if your friend is laid off, would you be prepared for the full monthly payments to fall on you, or vice versa? Keep in mind that if a payment is missed on either side it will hurt the credit of all parties involved. These are all important things to consider and be aware of.
Choosing a Reliable Friend
Of course, there are best and worst-case scenarios when it comes to buying a house with friends. For some, friends are their chosen family and the experience is fun and brings them closer together. Positive factors include having a built-in support system whether you need a last-minute babysitter, someone to let the dog out, or just someone to spend time with. Maybe your friend loves gardening and landscaping, and you take on decorating the interior space. Things can work well in a partnership where each person plays to their strengths and it feels as though everyone is contributing equally.
The downside? Prospects of privacy are diminishing quickly. Part of choosing a reliable friend is trusting that they will hold up their end of the bargain financially, and will respect your personal boundaries. If you’re able to have honest and open conversations and can tackle problems as they arise, these are signs of an effective home partnership. If your friend is fun but has a history of being flaky, avoiding conflict, or being dishonest- stick to happy hours and fun nights out, not life-altering financial obligations.
Legal Documents are Necessary
Online, professionals unanimously agree that speaking with an attorney and drawing up legal documents is a must. Having an agreement laid out on paper stating exactly who is responsible for what, and how to approach likely scenarios that may come up is vital. This document is not only legally binding but extremely helpful if you encounter conflict or a disagreement. It also helps hold all parties accountable.
Buying a house with friends can be life-changing; for better or for worse. If the pros outweigh the cons, go for it! Remember to vet all partners thoroughly, and prepare an exit plan and all necessary contracts just in case. Recognize that while you may love your friend, that doesn’t mean they would be a great co-owner- and that’s ok!
Would you consider buying a house with friends? Let us know in the comments below!