Co-ownership FAQ

Click on a topic below and get answers to some of the most common co-ownership questions.

What is co-buying?
Co-buying? Fractional ownership? What do these words even mean?

Co-buying and fractional ownership are interchangeable terms for shared ownership of a large asset.

In many cases, ownership is not shared equally. For example, if you were to buy a home with someone and split ownership 70/30, upon selling the home, you would receive 70% of the home’s equity and your co-buyer would get 30% .

Does everyone need to live in the home?

Nope. You can co-buy a shared primary residence, but you can also co-buy a vacation home, an investment property, or even a primary residence for just one of you.

One common example of this last case is when a parent helps their child with the downpayment and receives a share of the home’s equity, but doesn’t live in the home.

Working with Pairadime
What does Pairadime do?

We provide a free, easy-to-use platform that makes co-buying simpler. We also use our network of co-ownership-savvy real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and attorneys to help aspiring co-buyers find experienced local help.

I live in (your city here). Can you connect me with a real estate professional?

If you live anywhere in the US or Canada, yes! We can connect you with a local real estate agent, mortgage broker, or attorney who is experienced in co-ownership.

Is Pairadime a real estate brokerage?

We have a full-service real estate brokerage in western Washington state. If you live elsewhere and are looking for a real estate agent, we’ll match you with one of our partner agents in your area.

Why do you love co-buying so much?

When people team up to buy homes together it increases financial and housing security, makes sustainable living easier, and supports stronger communities. Check out our blog post on the benefits of buying a home together to learn more.

Finding the right help
How does Pairadime match me with a real estate agent?

We’ve partnered with agents throughout the US and Canada who are experienced in helping co-buyers. 

Your Pairadime co-buy guide can connect you with a partner agent near you.

How does Pairadime help me get a mortgage?

Our mortgage partners specialize in co-buying and down payment assistance programs. They’ll ensure you have every advantage when applying for a loan.

Your Pairadime co-buy guide can help you get started.

Is working with an attorney really necessary?

Yes. A legally-sound co-ownership agreement is vital when you co-buy.

However, you don’t need to draw up your agreement with an attorney from scratch. You can use Agreement Builder to draft it beforehand, then meet with a lawyer to ensure your contract adheres to local laws.

Your Pairadime co-buy guide can connect you with one of our nearby partners.

Finding a co-buyer
How do we know if we’re a good co-buying fit?

First thing’s first, you want to make sure your homebuying goals are compatible. Our Match tool asks important questions in order to create your co-buyer bio. Then, you can share your bio with friends and family to find a good fit.

Getting a mortgage together
Can you have multiple borrowers on a loan?

Yes. In the eyes of the bank, more borrowers equals less risk of default. If one person loses their job, the others can pick up the slack.

Will banks get nervous if we’re not married?

Nope. Thanks to federal anti-discrimination laws in the US and Canada, banks can’t consider marital status when evaluating potential borrowers.

Can someone sell their ownership and get off the mortgage?

Yes. Most banks require the remaining co-owner(s) to refinance, however.

What if my co-buyer is paying part of the down payment, but they’re not on the mortgage?

In this case, your co-buyer’s down payment money needs to be in your bank account two to three months in advance.

This is because many lenders require seasoned funds. For money to be considered seasoned, it needs to be in your account for longer than a certain length of time, usually 60 days.

How is income evaluated?

The lender adds all the borrower’s incomes together. This is how co-buying gets you into better properties.

What do banks look at when considering a mortgage application?

Banks look at each person’s:

• Income
• Debt-to-income ratio
• Credit score

What if someone’s finances aren’t great?

If someone has bad credit or significant debt, your mortgage broker may suggest leaving that person off the mortgage.

In some cases, co-buyers leave this person off the title too. The person can still have a legally binding ownership share however, as long as everyone signs a co-ownership agreement.

What is down payment assistance (DPA)?

Down payment assistance (DPA) programs provide funding to homebuyers, usually as a grant or loan. In addition to FHA and VA loans, there are more than 2,000 DPA programs available in the US!

DPA can make the difference between buying a home and not, so working with a mortgage broker with expert knowledge of these programs is a must.

That’s why Pairadime partners with mortgage professionals who specialize in co-buying and DPA.

What if someone doesn’t pay their share of the mortgage?

You can safeguard against this by keeping several advance mortgage payments in a joint account. This allows the person time to catch up on payments or sell their ownership share without affecting the co-owner(s).

The details of this approach are outlined in Agreement Builder.

Your legal agreement
What is a co-ownership agreement?

A co-ownership agreement is a contract you and your co-buyers sign that addresses all of the meaningful aspects of owning, maintaining, and selling your home. It outlines things like dividing equity, sharing expenses, and selling ownership.

Read our blog post on co-ownership agreements to learn more.

Why do we need one?

A co-ownership agreement is crucial for laying out a clear co-ownership structure, which minimizes confusion, misunderstandings, and conflict. By laying out the important details upfront, you set yourself up for success now and in the future.

We’ve already closed on a home. Is it too late to make a co-ownership agreement?

Nope! You can make or update your co-ownership agreement at any time.

Can we just sign the drafted contract we get from the Agreement Builder and call it a day?

You could, but we don’t recommend it. Each state has its own homeownership laws. A real estate attorney will ensure your contract adheres to local laws.

Sharing ownership and equity
How do we divide ownership?

When you hold title as tenants in common, you can divide ownership however you like. We recommend basing it on financial contribution.

Here’s how:

First, add up your down payment and closing costs to find your total initial investment.

Whatever percentage you pay of this is your initial ownership share. 

Can ownership shares change?

Yes. It’s actually very common if you’re basing shares on financial contribution, as we discussed in the question above.

This is explained in detail in Align, but as a simple rule, if you pay a larger percentage of the mortgage than you did of the initial investment, your share will increase, and vice versa.

So, if you pay 20% of the initial investment and 60% of the monthly mortgage bill, your share will increase over time.

Curious how your share will change? Use our  Ownership Calculator to see!

What is equity?

Your home’s equity is the difference between its current value and how much is still owed on it.

How do you divide equity between co-owners?

Your ownership share equals the percentage of the home’s equity you’re entitled to.

For example, if you have a 60% ownership share, you’ll receive 60% of the equity from the home.

Expenses, repairs, and upgrades
What types of expenses are shared?

There are two types of home expenses: recurring and incidental.

Recurring expenses are things you pay monthly (like utilities and internet), and incidental expenses are paid once (like fixing a leaky pipe or installing solar panels).



How much does each person pay?

You can split expenses however works best for you. Here some common ways:

You may decide to split different expenses different ways.

For example, we recommend dividing recurring expenses (utilities, internet) equally between all co-owners living on the property, and dividing incidental expenses (fixing a leak, installing a pool) by ownership percentage.

What if one person wants to sell?

Agreement Builder lays out a clear process for selling an ownership share that includes:

• How much notice must be given to the co-owner(s)
• How to bring in a new co-owner
• How to determine fair market value of the ownership share
• How to distribute earnings from the sale

What if everyone wants to sell?

This one’s easy! Sell the property, divide the earnings in the manner you’ve outlined in your co-ownership agreement, and walk away happy.

If you don’t see your question here, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to answer it!