Getting a foot on the property ladder can sometimes feel out of reach for many people. So much so that HSBC found 1 in 7 young people would be prepared to buy a property with a stranger. While you may not want to go to such extreme lengths to have a home of your own, you may be one of an increasing number of first-time buyers who are considering buying with a friend.
In principle it is the same as when a couple are buying a property together, but there may be a few other considerations to think about first before making a commitment. You may also wonder what financial options are available to house-hunting friends including whether you have the same access to Help To Buy. We answer some key questions surrounding this topic below.
Can my friend and I use Help To Buy?
Yes! Help To Buy works in exactly the same way, whether you are a romantic couple or a couple of friends. What you must be able to do is club together for your 5% deposit. From April 2021 you will also both need to be first-time buyers and never have owned a property before.
Types of mortgage
Usually, when a long-term couple buys together they opt for a ‘joint mortgage’ which means that should one person die, the remainder of the property will be owned by the other person. Two friends may therefore opt for a ‘tenants in common’ mortgage instead, which means that should this situation arise, the remainder would go to the individual’s next of kin.
Extra paperwork required?
Depending on how confident you are in your friendship, you may wish to seek legal assistance in drawing up a ‘deeds of trust’ agreement. This would outline what each party is expecting from the joint-ownership and what would happen in certain circumstances e.g. one wanting to move on with a new partner, or move that partner in. Drawing up agreements such as this are equally important if you aren’t splitting the contribution right down the middle – while verbal agreements work for many, it could be wise to bolster this with some legal backing.
Finding a suitable property
You’ve identified the friend you know you will be able to happily live alongside – perfect! But your experience with co-ownership will still be influenced by the property itself so finding the right place is a must.
Many people cite ‘feeling on top of one another’ as their biggest bugbear while sharing. For this reason it’s helpful to seek out properties where the space has been specifically designed for two single individuals sharing a space – rather than for a couple sharing who just happen to have a spare room.
No matter how much you love your friend, everybody loves their own space from time to time. Be on the lookout for properties with equal bedroom proportions and where the layout has been designed to give each other space. Bedrooms with equal distance between the living space and bathrooms, or perhaps with an equal distance from the front door are ideal. Most crucially, is not having bedrooms right next to one another so that you feel you have a bit of privacy when in the sanctuary of your own room.
Communal spaces also come into their own when you’re sharing an apartment. Modern, well-designed buildings like Leon House even offer bookable dining rooms, breakout spaces for working and roof terraces, which are perfect if you need your own space to work from home or relax with friends. If this sounds ideal, you can discover how urban properties are adapting for modern working habits on our blog.
Why not take a look at the different two-bedroom floor plans available within Croydon’s Leon House to see what living with your friend could be like, thanks to individual bathrooms and bedrooms separated by a beautiful shared living space. Interested? Book a viewing with a member of our team and see these fantastic spaces for yourselves.