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Easing the Cost of Home Ownership

Diane Kelly

Today's rising real estate prices in Calgary are presenting a challenge to many people wishing to enter the housing market. First-time buyers in particular are finding they have to make adjustments as they plan their dream of owning a home. Young people are staying at home longer in order to save for a down payment. Also, many homebuyers are downscaling their expectations, and choosing a home with a rental apartment or a flat to help with mortgage payments.

There are some other alternatives available to help home buyers build some equity in the real estate market. One option that may be of interest to certain individuals is the joint purchase of a multiple-dwelling property by more than one family group. For example, a legal duplex might be jointly purchased by friends or relations, with each family occupying one of the property's units. The duplex approach can work well in situations where young people plan to marry, leaving their parents as "empty nesters". In this scenario, the family home is sold, with the parents buying one unit of a new duplex outright, and banking their surplus funds. The younger generation then assumes the more manageable mortgage payments on the remaining half of the duplex's price. In this way, they can start to build equity immediately without having to come up with a large down payment, or getting into a high ratio mortgage.

In less formal arrangements, two couples may elect to jointly buy one single-family residence and share all the living space. This can prove to be a very stressful situation, and the best chance for success is usually when there is a family relationship between the two couples, such two siblings with their spouses.

Whatever method you use to ease the cost of homeownership, the most important thing to remember is to get the all the details worked out before you buy. Everyone involved in the purchase should agree on all sub-lease and re-sale provisions "up front". For example, can one party move out and sublet their living space to someone else? Also, what happens when someone want to sell? Does one party have the right to buy out the other's interest? If so, how is a fair price determined? Or, is the property put on the market with all parties sharing the proceeds?

As you can see there are a lot of variables to consider. Such important issues should not be left to chance. Don't expect that they'll be sorted out easily when the time comes. The best course of action is to get a lawyer involved and draw up an agreement that clearly sets out the rights and obligations of all co-owners.

Remember, when you're thinking of creative ways to ease the cost of owning a home, talk it over with me first. Tell us all about your plans, so we can ensure that you are shown homes that conform to the appropriate zoning and municipal by-laws. Best of all, we may be able to suggest options that you'd never considered, and help you make your home ownership dream a reality.


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Copyright TALKCalgary  2000 -  2010 
Photography, &  copy writing by Steve Kelly or as credited.
Calgary Real Estate consultant Diane Kelly, Discover Real Estate Ltd,
Real Estate Blog  |  Realtor Testimonials



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