Housing affordability continues to be a thorn in the sides of many Canadians. While the government is introducing some measures to make buying your first home more feasible, time will tell as to whether they actually help. In the interim, however, more and more Canadians are getting creative with ways to break into the housing market. Joint ownership is one way to do it, allowing the owners to share in the up-front and ongoing costs of owning a home, as well as the benefits that go along with it. Here are some tips on how to buy a house as joint owners.


Create an agreement: Buying a home with co-owners can be tricky if there isn’t legal recourse in place, should there be a disagreement down the line. Purchasing a home should be treated as a business deal, even when it’s done with friends or family, so visit a lawyer and formalize an agreement that outlines ownership percentage, responsibilities and other “what ifs.” Your lawyer can advise you on the legalities of how to buy a house as a co-owner.


Determine a budget: This tip applies to literally anyone who is thinking about buying a home, but joint ownership has an added complexity that makes financial transparency crucial. Meet with a financial advisor to determine what funds are available to cover the up-front and ongoing costs, such as the downpayment, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, etc. Don’t forget to factor outstanding debts into the equation.


Take your time: Buying a home is arguably the biggest purchase you’ll make in your lifetime. If you’re considering doing so with friends or family, it’s even more important to take your time and really consider every aspect of the purchase. Remember, every decision you make will impact others. Make time for those sometimes-difficult conversations and really consult with each other on what each of you want out of the purchase.


Entering into co-ownership can be a great way to enter the housing market and start building equity. So long as you and your partner have a sense of mutual respect and are transparent when it comes to finances and responsibilities, purchasing your first home is within the realm of possibility!