Q. A friend and I are super keen to get on the property ladder but financially on our own it literally seems like an impossible task. We have not only been priced out of the London market but we also don’t have massive deposits either. Recently we have been toying with the idea of a joint venture so throwing our deposits in together and buying a two bed to share. Do you think this is a good idea and if so what is the best way to do this to ensure we are both protected financially?
A. Buying with a friend is becoming increasingly popular as prices have continued to rise. If you are buying a property with a friend with the purpose of investing together, you should always make sure you have the appropriate agreements set up in advance. This means having very open and frank discussions about what you all want to get out of the venture, how you plan to fund the investment, how long you plan to live together and what happens if one of you wants to sell their share in the future. It is not recommended that you purchase a property with friends without the correct documents or without drawing up some sort of declaration of trust, or a co-habitation agreement, between all parties. Legally the best way to buy property with a friend is as ‘Tenants in common’. It means you can each own a different share of the property, won’t automatically inherit the property if the other tenant dies and can choose who to leave your share to in your will. It’s also important to trust and like the person you are buying with too. There are plenty of advantages of buying a property with friends, but the main one is that it reduces the individual financial burden that home ownership can bring. Getting on the ladder in this way is creating an investment for your own future. When you are all ready to sell the property, you may well have made enough money to invest in your very own property, so a stepping stone as it were. Buying with friends can be a very successful way of getting onto the property ladder, however the pitfalls can be considerable if proper care is not taken to ensure that all parties are happy and agreements are watertight. The upside is an investment that increases in value as well as a home to live in and friends to enjoy it with.