Can’t afford a mortgage on your own? Try sharing one

(NC) If you’re a growing family or buyer looking to purchase your first home in the rising housing market, a creative solution might be in order. With house and condo prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver climbing since the 90s, the reality of owning a house with a backyard for the kids seems far away. But for some determined couples, flexibility and an open mind have made this dream a reality.

Instead of carrying a mortgage on their own, many couples are now sharing it with family or friends. And while it seems unconventional, it’s actually a service that Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, has been providing for years.

“We can set up the mortgage two different ways, depending on how many people are required on the title,” explains Bill Whyte, Meridian’s SVP and chief member experience officer. “With the consistent rise in the housing market, we’ve been seeing more and more families and friends requesting dual mortgages.”

Whether it’s sharing with friends or family members, both parties can share a multi-level home where each family occupies one floor. Common areas like the backyard can be enjoyed by both, while separate and shared spaces can be discussed between the couples. Renovations and compromises for varying needs can also be accommodated.

But like all contracts that involve finances, there must be a contingency plan. After all, money can pull apart the bonds of family and friendship. That’s where an experienced mortgage advisor comes in. “Our advisors can offer options in case there is a parting of ways,” Whyte says.

While the idea of joint ownership may not be for everyone, it’s certainly an option for families who want to invest in owning property instead of renting. But two-way communication and a good financial plan are essential to making the arrangement work.