Pros and Cons of Buying a House With Family Members

August 2, 2020

Housing affordability has dominated our national politics, news and current affairs and even our everyday conversations.

With lower lending approval rates and a tightening market, many home buyers are searching for alternate living arrangements. 

One of these alternatives is buying a house with family. Some of you may be thinking it’s a risky move but there are plenty of benefits to part-owning a home with family members.

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Advantages of buying a house with family members

Firstly, buying a house with family is cheaper than buying on your own. Alone you may only be able to afford a property for $350,000.

With multiple family members your borrowing power is likely to be much higher, meaning you can get into the property market sooner.

You’re also not as limited by budget and therefore have more choice in the properties you’re looking to buy.

Buying a house with family also means bills can be split and homeowner financial responsibilities are shared.

This means you have lower financial commitments because you’re only paying for a portion of the home rather than the whole property.

When you co-own a house there is also potential to use your portion of property as an investment. This can benefit your financial position through rental income, help you to secure future home loans and offer lucrative taxation benefits such a property depreciation.

Disadvantages of buying a house with family members

Co-ownership inevitably comes with compromise. As a solo buyer you only need to cater to your own desires. When buying a house with family, you need to consider other members’ needs, thoughts and feelings throughout the buying process and beyond.

This can strain your family relationship, particularly if members regularly disagree on certain aspects of the property.

It also means you don’t have complete freedom of control when it comes to the property. You’ll need to make decisions collectively and ensure all parties are happy.

Buying a house with family can also make the buying process more complicated. Co-ownership isn’t as straight forward as one buyer applying for one home loan.

If you plan to buy a property with family as a first home buyer, it will also make you ineligible for the first home buyer’s scheme.

Family membersDetails to consider when buying a house with family

Along with the advantages and disadvantages, there are several key considerations before buying a house with family. 

For example, will everyone live in the property as an owner occupier or will portions be used for investment? This is an important point to discuss before purchasing a property together.

If part of the property is to be used for investment purposes be sure to properly record and track any expenditure for tax purposes.

Another key consideration is how the property will be divided.

  • Will all parties contribute the same amount or are some contributing more than others?
  • Does everyone have the same buying power?
  • How will the property be held? Is this a short term or long term plan? 
  • Having a clear idea of the property’s ownership structure at the beginning is crucial in minimising conflict in the future.

Like any other buying scenario, it’s also important to consider the market conditions. Research the property market and economic conditions in your city or region before house-hunting.

Get it all in writing

It’s important to have a formal property co-ownership agreement drafted before entering into anything. Although it may seem strange to do this, buying a property with family is the same as entering into any other financial agreement so it’s important to have a guiding principle.

A co-ownership agreement is a legally binding document that establishes clear guidelines for a variety of scenarios.

For example, what if one family member wants out? What if your sibling wants to use their portion of the house as an investment? What if someone defaults on their home loan?

An agreement provides answers to these questions and offers peace of mind. It may be an additional cost but it’s money well spent to protect your future.

Home loan options when buying a house with family

Now you know the advantages and disadvantages and are equipped with a co-ownership agreement, it’s time to consider your home loans options. 

Property share or co-ownership home loans allow multiple borrowers to purchase a property while keeping their finances separate. This option is effectively two separate home loans secured against the same property and is offered by a select number of lenders.

It’s important to note property share is different to a joint home loan which has traditionally been the most common approach to buying property with someone, either a partner or a family member. 

A joint home loan is one loan with two applicants. The loan is based on the combined finances of applicants which generally means there is stronger borrowing power.

Be sure to consider all available options to secure the best home loan for your family’s scenario.

Looking for your dream home? 

Soho can help you find it. Browse our search page to check out some amazing listings available right now. But don’t just stop there, download our app to get the full Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

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