Apart from the high prices that vacation homes attract, owning a vacation home is expensive because it remains unoccupied for extended periods of the year. Unoccupied houses tend to experience more damages than occupied houses. Coming together with another person or other people to buy a vacation home allows you to share all of these costs. Before taking this route, however, take the following precautions to avoid complications with your joint home ownership:
Which Home Ownership Structure to Use
There are different ways in which you can own a home together with another person or people. For example, you can tenants-in-common route, where each of you has their name on the title deed alongside your respective ownership percentages. If you decide to use this option, note that it allows each of you to transfer their share of the property to a person of their choice. Discuss the different joint ownership options and decide on which one is best for you.
How to Handle Homeownership Expenses
You also need to decide how you will be sharing the homeownership expenses. Who will pay the utility bills, the insurance premiums or the ground maintenance costs? Will you base the decision on your respective ownership percentages or on the visiting schedules? Answer all these questions, plus other maintenance related costs, before buying a vacation property with another person. Apart from deciding how you will raise the ownership expenses, you should also determine who will actually pay the bills or higher caretakers and repair contractors for the property.
House Rules to Prevent Future Disagreements
Some joint homeowners decide on strict house rules while others let each member do whatever they wish during their time in the premises. If you decide on strict house rules, you need to list what each of you is or is not allowed to do in the house to avoid related squabbles in the future. Are you allowed to hold stag parties in the house? What about using it to host business meetings? What if someone wants to rent out their vacation time to a third party? These are hard questions that can cause serious disagreements among joint homeowners.
How to Schedule Visits
One of the most complicated things about owning a vacation home is how to schedule visits to the house. It can be particularly frustrating if more than one owner wants to spend time in the house during the major holidays such as the New Year. A common option is to alternate your visits to the house, but you are free to choose whichever option works for you.