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Why are you considering co-ownership?

You are here because you see an opportunity in co-ownership. You may consider co-ownership as a way of entering the housing market, or like the idea of having a community by your side sharing the ups and downs of life.

As you get started, it is important to identify and prioritize the reasons why you are considering sharing ownership of a home and what benefits it could bring you. This will help you design a solution that best meets your needs.

Lesli’s reasons for co-ownership

I bought my first house with my good friend Anne years ago and I still remember what drove this decision. I was a single mother with a relatively limited income and was a renter. I wanted the security of owning, but I knew that I couldn’t afford anything on my own.

It was over a weekend away that my friend Anne and I discussed the idea of buying something together. We didn’t know if it was even possible, and there was very little information available. It was by luck we found a real estate agent that believed we could secure a property and a credit union that would lend us money.

At the time, we did not give much consideration to a legal agreement but luckily all went well. After a number of years we sold that property and were both able to purchase properties independently. Although the real estate market was easier to get into in 1990, co-purchasing was the only way for us to step onto the property ladder.

I believe that today’s market requires us to think creatively and to pool our resources to live better lives. Thinking differently about ownership can help us establish financial, well-being and social supports.

In my opinion, the value of building relationships and community, having others around to help look after your kids, walk the dog, carry heavy loads, shovel the drive or just to say hello is worth much more than any perceived inconvenience of co-ownership.

Know your Needs and Wants

You can start thinking about your specific needs and wants when looking for a property once you have clarified your reasons for considering co-ownership. This is critical in helping you find the right co-ownership partner, as you want to make sure that your partner is someone who shares your vision and approach to owning a property. Knowing your needs and wants will also be helpful when searching for properties alongside your real estate agent and builder.

The GoCo Needs and Wants List will help you clarify what you need and want in a property, and whether you and your co-ownership partners are compatible.

Case Study: Lesli & Anne's Initial Needs & Wants

Lesli Need Lesli Want Anne Need Anne Want
Budget (Mortgage, Utilities and Taxes) Maintain costs below $1,100 Maintain costs below $1,500 Maintain costs below $1,200 Maintain costs below $1,200
Location Near transit with access to daycare and a school with an after school program. Easy access to green space, parks and a recreational centre. Easy access to a major highway for work. A quiet street with access to green space and parks.
Walkability Safe for kids, with lots of ammenities and a green grocer. Access to sufficient ammenities that you do not need a car to shop.
School Board attendance areas No specific requirements
Neighbourhood character Older neighbourhood Progressive neighbourhood with diverse families Older neighbourhood
Ownership structure 50% each 50% each 50% each 50% each
House characteristics
Bedrooms 2 3 2 2
Bathrooms 1 2 1 1
Outdoor space Backyard Large backyard Garden area
Balcony / Deck Deck for BBQ Private area Private balcony
Appliances Gas stove Gas stove
Separate entrance Yes Yes Yes Yes
Basement apartment Not a priority Would be great for income No No
Other Hardwood floors Radiant heat Hardwood floors Natural gas heating and A/C
Level of renovation required Very little None Very little None
Level of maintenance required Something managable (Do not like to garden) Prefer no grass and garden Garden with low upkeep Garden front and backyard
Heating Natural gas Radiant heat Natural gas A/C
Access to parking Street parking Private parking Private parking Private parking

Understand your current situation and what you need to move forward

Now that you know why you are interested in co-ownership, what you want and need, and the different types of agreements you are open to, you need to understand your current situation as a foundation for building a path of where you want to go.

The first step is to understand your financial situation. How much down payment do you have? How much could you afford for a mortgage, utilities and maintenance on a monthly basis?

A good place to start is with your rental payments today. You are likely already paying a monthly sum for housing. Knowing that you can afford at least that amount in mortgage and expenses is a great place to start. You can then estimate numbers for your potential partner to gage how much you could afford together.

Visit our Secure Financing page for resources and tools to learn about financing.



Learn Everything You Need To Know About Co-Ownership


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