Is Co-Buying Real Estate Right for You? A Guide for Young Ontarians Facing the Real Estate Crunch



In the dynamic landscape of Ontario’s real estate market, young first-time homebuyers face the dual challenge of navigating high interest rates alongside soaring home prices. This combination presents a formidable barrier to entry, making the dream of homeownership seem increasingly out of reach for many. The financial strain is palpable, with the cost of borrowing escalating and the prices of homes in cities like Burlington and Oakville continuing to climb, setting a challenging stage for those looking to make their first foray into the property market.

Understanding Co-Buying

Although not new, a concept gaining momentum among young homebuyers is co-buying. This innovative approach involves two or more individuals partnering to purchase a property together. By pooling resources, co-buyers can overcome some of the financial hurdles that often stand in the way of homeownership, making the dream of owning a home more attainable.

The rising popularity of co-buying in Ontario, especially among millennials and younger generations, is a strategic response to the challenges of entering a competitive housing market. With property prices soaring in southern Ontario, the traditional route to buying a home has become increasingly difficult for individuals to navigate on their own. Co-buying emerges as a smart solution, offering a way to share the financial burden and responsibilities of homeownership.

Primary motivators behind the decision to co-buy include the financial benefits, such as shared mortgage payments, down payments, maintenance costs, and property taxes. This collective approach to purchasing property not only makes economic sense but also divides the workload and responsibilities associated with maintaining a home. Furthermore, co-buying can offer emotional support and a sense of community, as co-owners embark on the homeownership journey together.

In essence, co-buying represents a practical, collaborative strategy for young Ontarians eager to enter the housing market. It’s a testament to the power of unity in achieving common goals and the innovative ways the next generation is navigating the complexities of real estate investment.

Financial Considerations of Co-Buying

When delving into the realm of co-buying a property, a meticulous approach to arranging finances becomes paramount. Pooling resources for a down payment stands as the initial step where co-buyers combine their funds to meet the substantial upfront cost of purchasing a home. This collective effort not only eases the individual financial burden but also potentially opens the door to better mortgage rates and terms, given the larger down payment.

Mortgage qualifications for co-buyers entail a comprehensive evaluation of each party’s financial health, including income, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. Lenders amalgamate these factors to determine the borrowing capacity of the group. It’s crucial to recognize that the financial profile of one co-buyer can affect the collective borrowing power. If one party has a significantly lower credit score, it might limit the loan amount or lead to higher interest rates, impacting all co-buyers.

Determining how to split ownership percentages is a critical aspect that requires a fair and realistic approach. This division should reflect each co-buyer’s financial contribution towards the down payment and mortgage payments, as well as other expenses related to the property. Legal agreements, such as a co-ownership contract, can delineate these percentages and set clear expectations for all parties involved.

In essence, co-buying is a strategy that demands thorough financial planning and clear communication among all participants. By addressing these financial considerations head-on, co-buyers can pave the way for a successful and equitable property purchase.

Navigating the Mortgage Application Process as Co-Buyers

Applying for a mortgage as co-buyers can be a strategic move to pool financial resources and secure a home loan. Here’s a step-by-step guide to navigate this process smoothly and effectively.

  1. Understand Your Credit Scores: Lenders will scrutinize the credit scores of both applicants. These scores are pivotal in determining your loan eligibility and interest rates. Higher scores can lead to more favorable terms, so it’s crucial for both co-buyers to know their scores and work on improving them if necessary.
  2. Review Employment History and Income: Stable employment and reliable income are key factors lenders consider. Co-buyers should compile proof of employment and other income sources. This documentation showcases financial stability and the capacity to manage monthly payments.
  3. Consider Debt-to-Income Ratios: Lenders evaluate the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to assess your ability to manage payments. Lowering your DTI ratio before applying can strengthen your application. This might mean paying down debt or considering a more affordable property.
  4. Apply Jointly: With a clear understanding of your financial standing, apply for the mortgage jointly. Ensure all required documents are organized and accurate to expedite the approval process.

Strengthening Your Application

To enhance your application:

  • Consolidate and reduce debts.
  • Maintain stable employment.
  • Save for a larger down payment to reduce the loan amount.

Applying as co-buyers can be advantageous, offering the chance to combine financial strengths. By carefully preparing and making informed decisions, co-buyers can navigate the mortgage application process towards a successful home purchase together.

Making It Work: Tips for a Successful Co-Purchase

Embarking on the journey of co-buying a property? Congratulations! It’s a splendid way to step into homeownership, especially in today’s market. However, like any great adventure, it demands preparation, clear communication, and a sprinkle of compromise. Here are some golden tips to ensure your co-purchase is not just successful, but also a joyous venture!

  1. Forge Strong Communication Channels: The cornerstone of co-buying success is ironclad communication. Before signing any dotted lines, have open discussions about each person’s expectations, financial contributions, and long-term goals. This foundation will help prevent misunderstandings and set a clear path forward.
  2. Set Joint Goals: What do you both envision for this property? A cozy nest to grow old in, or perhaps a stepping stone towards bigger investments? Setting joint goals ensures you’re rowing the boat in the same direction. It also makes decisions about renovations, maintenance, and eventual sale much smoother.
  3. Embrace Flexibility and Compromise: Like any relationship, a co-buying arrangement thrives on give-and-take. Be prepared to compromise and remain flexible. Whether it’s about the choice of wallpaper or the timing of a kitchen renovation, finding common ground is key to maintaining harmony and making collective decisions.
  4. Jointly Manage the Property: Divide the responsibilities of managing the property, from routine maintenance to undertaking improvements. This approach not only ensures the property is well-cared for but also helps in building equity together. When it comes to selling, a well-maintained home can significantly boost your return on investment.

By following these practical tips, your co-purchase journey can be a harmonious and prosperous one. Remember, the joy is not just in the destination but in the journey itself. Happy co-buying!

Pros and Cons of Co-Buying

Co-buying, the practice of purchasing a property jointly with another party, offers several appealing benefits but also comes with potential drawbacks that warrant careful consideration.


Financial relief stands out as a significant advantage of co-buying. By pooling resources, buyers can access properties that might have been beyond their individual budgets, affording them a better location or a larger space. Moreover, shared homeownership responsibilities mean that maintenance costs and the burden of mortgage payments are divided, easing the financial strain on each party.


However, co-buying is not without its challenges. Complications in personal relationships can arise, particularly if one party wants to sell or can no longer afford their share of the mortgage. Financial disagreements, too, are a common pitfall, as differing opinions on significant investments or renovations can lead to friction.

Real-Life Scenarios

Consider the scenario of Jane and John, who co-bought a property as friends. Initially, the arrangement was beneficial, allowing them to share expenses and upkeep. However, when John wanted to move in with his partner, disagreements arose over selling the property or buying out his share, straining their relationship.

Conversely, Sarah and Alex, siblings who invested in a property together, found success by establishing clear agreements on financial contributions and exit strategies from the outset. This foresight allowed them to navigate ownership smoothly and even profit from their investment when they decided to sell.


Co-buying a property is an increasingly popular strategy among young Ontarians grappling with the real estate market’s challenges. By pooling resources, co-buyers can access financial advantages and share the responsibilities of homeownership, making the dream of owning a home more attainable. However, as attractive as these benefits are, it’s crucial to tread this path with caution and thorough understanding.

Entering into a co-buying arrangement without clear agreements can open the door to personal and financial conflicts that may complicate your investment and relationships. The importance of understanding both the financial and legal aspects of co-buying cannot be overstated. It’s essential to have everything documented—from how mortgage payments are split to what happens if one party wants to sell their share. This foresight can safeguard your investment and your relationships.

Despite the potential pitfalls, co-buying remains a viable solution for those facing the steep climb of the Ontario real estate market. It offers a unique opportunity to share the burdens and joys of homeownership. Before leaping, carefully weigh the pros and cons, and consider whether this arrangement aligns with your personal and financial circumstances.

We invite our readers to share their co-buying experiences and advice. By fostering a community of support, we can navigate the complexities of the real estate market together. Whether you’re contemplating co-buying or have already taken the plunge, your insights can illuminate the path for others in similar positions. Let’s learn from each other and make informed decisions that propel us toward our homeownership goals.

About the Author
Robert Budnikas
Robert is a trusted real estate professional with 20 years of service in Burlington, Hamilton, Milton and Oakville. He has helped many of his customers achieve their dreams of home ownership whether a first time home buyer, a family upgrading to a larger home or an empty nester looking forward to retirement. He's a dedicated realtor ready to take your real estate experience to the MAX!