1. What made you decide to share a mortgage over buying a property on your own?
Affordability - after renting in London for 3.5 years, my friend Gary and I (who were renting together at the time) realised we had spent a whopping £42,000 on rent between us. A shocking amount with nothing to show for it. We both knew we would be in London for a good few years so decided to buy and the only way we could do that and stay in London was to do it jointly.
2. How did you choose the person you were going to share a mortgage with?
Gary was a friend from university and we had rented together for 5 years in total so knew we could live together - in making such a big decision to buy it was important to both of us that we would get along. We knew we could.
3. How did you feel about sharing a mortgage with someone? Were you excited about buying your own place or nervous about how it would work out?
Excited to finally get on the property ladder and have our own place which was an investment - especially in London where prices seem only to go up. We (or at least I)– had some queries about what would happen further down the line if we went our separate ways/got partners but we were good enough friends to know that we would deal with those issues as they arose. I for example took a year out to go to Canada last year and we got a friend in to replace me for the year to cover my side of the mortgage which meant Gary could stay living there.
4. When you bought your property, did you agree when you would sell the property in the future or what you would do if either of your circumstances changed?
I think we roughly discussed this at the time but not what we would do. Now we have come to realise that with house prices rising in London this is an investment for us. Especially with Crossrail coming in 2018 which means the value should increase so whatever happens we decided that we would keep it at least until then. If for any reason we needing to go our separate ways before then, we would simply just rent the flat out as a whole.
5. Whilst living with each other have there been any incidents that have concerned you about your living arrangement and how did these make you feel?
None really. When I decided to go to Canada for a year we had to talk about what would happen with the flat. Gary, understandably didn’t want to live with a stranger in a 2 bed flat and if it came to it said we would just rent out the entire flat and he would move into a bigger house share but as luck would have it – a mutual friend needed somewhere to live so it worked out perfectly.
6. As someone who has shared a mortgage, do you think it was a good idea considering your other choices available like continuing renting or even living with parents?
Most definitely - it has allowed us to get onto the property ladder which is something either of us would have been able to do, especially in London. I would advise caution however as some shared ownerships have not had such a smooth sailing when parties concerned have fallen out for whatever reason so I would 100% to choose who you share with carefully and ensure that you lay out your expectations of what you hope to happen in certain circumstances in advance of purchasing.
7. By sharing a mortgage, do you feel you have become more able to plan your future life etc?
Yes – given that I work in a freelance industry with no pension – this is now going towards my retirement pot and we know that even if we move out ourselves we can rent it out. It’s also great that by no longer renting , we know we don’t have to move house every year when our tenancy runs out! It was the best decision we could have made.
8. Now that you can get "Shared Ownership Protection" to protect you whilst you live at home, would you get it and what in particular do you think it covers that is important?
I would say yes I would get this as it’s all well and good agreeing to certain ‘rules’ verbally when you buy a house with someone but if things go sour then verbal rules don’t have a leg to stand on so as awkward as it may be to get things down on paper in the long run it can only benefit the parties involved.
People go into these things with the best of intentions but ultimately, situations change over time and although you may not think you need to legally document anything, it is a good way of protecting all parties concerned should things head in a different direction.