Buying a home with friends or a partner

10 things to look out for when you're buying a home with other people.

1 Agree the form of ownership

Agree with your partner, friends or family how you will jointly own the property.

There are two different ways in which you can be joint owners. You can be either joint tenants or tenants in common.

The option you choose affects how ownership of the property is shared between you and who can inherit your home if you die.

2 Does everyone have the same share?

As part of the legal preparation when you buy, agree what financial share of your home you each have. Agree how everyone shares any proceeds if the home is sold.

This may help to settle any later disagreements about what you are entitled to. 

Get legal advice from a property solicitor about joint ownership agreements. 

Find out more from Which about finding legal advice.

3 Arrange a mortgage

Most people borrow money to buy a home. This loan is called a mortgage.

Joint mortgages are available for up to four people, but you may need a specialist lender for this.

How much can you borrow depends on your earnings, outgoings, credit rating and the costs of the home you want to buy.

4 Find the right property

Discuss the type of home you want to buy, for example a new-build home or an older property, a flat or a house.

Could you find a shared ownership property?

5 Buy your home

The basic process for buying a home is the same for everyone.

Don't forget to budget for extra costs such as legal fees and moving expenses.

Find out more from the Money Advice Service about the costs of buying a home.

6 Rights and responsibilities of joint owners

If you are a joint owner no one else can:

  • take out a loan against the property without your agreement
  • force you to leave unless they get a court order
  • sell the property without your agreement or by getting a court order

All joint owners are responsible for paying the joint mortgage, whether or not they live in the property.

7 Mortgage arrears can lead to repossession

If one or more of the owners can't or won't pay their mortgage, the lender can ask the others to pay instead.

The lender can take action to repossess the property if the mortgage payments aren't made on time.

Read more about repossession.

8 What happens if one of you wants to leave?

One of you could later decide to move out or sell but the others don't agree.

To avoid problems, make an agreement at the start how one person can leave the joint mortgage, for example the others can offer to buy the share.

If you can't agree, you may have to sell when one person wants to leave.

9 What happens if one of you dies?

If a joint tenant dies, their share passes to the other owners.

If a tenant in common dies, their share usually passes either to someone named in their will or to their next of kin.

Read more from about what happens with property after a death.

10 Relationship breakdown

If you and your partner have a joint mortgage and your relationship ends, you could try to come to an agreement about what to with your home. Mediation can help with this.

Read more from National Family Mediation about help for couples who are separating.

You may need help from a solicitor if you didn't make a legal agreement about the shares you are each entitled to when you bought your home. You can ask a court to decide if you can't agree.

Read more from AdviceGuide about long-term options for spouses and civil partners in an owned home.

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