Establish your terms
Establishing your terms
Once you have thought about your wants and needs, you and your partners will need to discuss term. These terms detail how you will manage your property immediately and in the future, and how you will handle unexpected events or circumstances.
We believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s best to make as many decisions and think about any potential challenges from the outset, to embark on your co-ownership journey with a strong foundation and open communication.
The GoCo Terms Checklist can guide you in this discussion with partners. Note that this is not the same as establishing a legal co-ownership agreement. Visit the Establish Agreement section for more information.
The top 5 topics to discuss:
“When communication starts to fade, everything else follows.”
Ensuring that your relationships with your partners remain, open, honest and respectful is integral to the success of your co-ownership journey.
To make sure that meaningful communication happens, you should set up regular house meetings (which can be fun and relaxed!) with an agenda to discuss important issues.
2. The Decision-Making Processes
It is important to agree on how decisions are made so when disagreements happen, the group can move forward constructively. Deciding if you will you vote on issues or work towards consensus, and if you will pursue mediation or arbitration when disagreeing on significant issues will help you minimize conflict and provide successful outcomes.
3. Responsibilities and Recognition
It will help to avoid confusion to clarify who will be responsible for certain roles and responsibilities. Establishing a mechanism to track individuals’ time investment will also help ensure that their time is valued and recognized. Download our Time Contribution Template to help with this.
4. Managing Expenses
As co-owners, you will have to agree on the best way to manage both expected and unforeseen costs. You can do this by opening a joint account, creating a reserve fund for unexpected expenses, assigning an owner to pay bills and agreeing on a maximum threshold for expenses before they are discussed as a group.
5. House Rules
Establishing house rules helps all parties land on the same page regarding how the house is managed and used. Examples include agreeing on how to use communal areas and for how long, what temperature the house will be, and noise levels. Deciding on these issues in advance will help mitigate future conflicts.
When I set out on my journey of co-ownership, I had no idea really what my terms should have been.
I have since had many conversations with folks considering who have expressed a variety of concerns and questions related to co-ownership. I want to make sure that your concerns and considerations are heard, and that you have mechanisms to address them, which is why I founded GoCo Solutions as a resource to help people understand and explore the process and aspects of co-ownership.
Co-ownership requires a commitment to working with others, to develop an approach and legal agreement which is transparent and understood by all parties.