Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Co-Ownership

Sorry to be late in the day with this, but I had some real work to do. The nerve of them, making me push back my blogging time!!!

Anyway, I promised a discussion topic, which is kind of going to stretch over two days. Today I will outline some of it, and then I will collect everyone’s opinions, write my own tomorrow and then get responses to that. Kabish?

The subject involves a back story (shocker, huh?). We graduated from college in May of 2005. Smoking Hot Roommate bought a run-down condo in February and had it rehabbed, and we moved in right after school (well, I ended up staying in Chicago for a month or so to deal with dying Mom and stuff related).

The condo is really great…it is three bedrooms, two bathrooms, about 1,600 square feet in one of the best locations you can imagine. It is within about 100 yards of Boston Common (the State House end, for the locals) and is about a quarter of a mile from Munchkin’s school and my work. It is also within a very short walk of both Papa Bear and Big Sis’ places.

In October of this year, we moved…right around the corner. The place we live now is much bigger (3,000 sq. ft., 5 or 6 bedrooms, depending on what you count as a bedroom). This is most definitely the kind of “home” that Smoking Hot Roommate could conceivably live in for a very long time. Meanwhile, she kept the old place and her fiancĂ©e, The Rocket Scientist, currently lives there with a friend of his. The plan is that eventually Munchkin and I will move back there and he will move in here. The timetable on that is up to Smoking Hot Roommate.

Well, after I got a big bonus earlier this month, I set myself a long-term goal: I wanna buy our old apartment from Smoking Hot Roommate. I know she would let me live there forever and pay her not nearly the rent that the place is worth, but that is not the point. I would love to be independent enough to be able to buy my very own super-fabulous pad, and to be able to assure Munchkin that she will be in one place for the foreseeable future. Since that apartment is in the absolute ideal spot (and holds some sentimental value), I would love to figure out a way to buy it.

Now, the caveat…if I really want to buy it for what it is worth, I am gonna need a LOT more money than I currently have;-) Not only would I need to save a lot more, but I would need to make a lot more.

But…the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wouldn’t just be me. This is likely a 2-3 year idea (at best) at which point I could very well not be making this kind of a purchase on my own. And, I mentioned this to The Boy in passing last week, and he was pretty much in agreement on the long term plan (like where, and in what kind of place he would want to live…no white picket fences and back yards for either of us.)

So, the question is…at what point is it ok for people to buy a house as part of a relationship? Clearly, it brings with it significant legal issues, in addition to financial and interpersonal issues. How do you reconcile differences in assets and income and all that stuff? Should you wait until you are ready to combine ALL of your finances before you should think about combining this largest part of them? How much of the decision is financial and how much is personal? Is there room for both?

And no, we are not thinking about actually doing this anytime soon, but I am just thinking about when might be the right time. (Ignore Munchkin for the time being…I am interested in people’s opinions in the absence of children…we will deal with kids tomorrow.) I think there are times when people move in together for reasons like “Our leases were both up, so we figured ‘What the Heck’?” I have sort of an open-ended arrangement, and The Boy owns his place already, so we will fortunately be on our own timetable.

Anyway, that is my subject for the day…fire away.

7 comments:

e.b. said...

This is really hard to answer. I live with someone and we discuss it all the time. I don't honestly know if there is one right answer or one solution. I beleive that you need to be very committed, having seen other relationship's where property is involved fail. I also think that some assets need to be kept seperate - just because....you never know and it is just best to be smart.

Ally said...

Well I've been there and done that, and I can't recommend buying a piece of property with a boyfriend/fiance. First, why not just wait until you're ready to make the step of marriage? Owning property with someone is a big deal, and it seems most wise to do so with someone you share a (hopefully) permanent relationship. Personally we went ahead and bought a house because we hated to keep paying rent, but in reality, what's another six months or a year to wait? Selling a piece of property within three years of buying it in most areas (b/c you break up) isn't exactly financially smart either.

Second, it's an enormous hassle to end a relationship and sell a piece of property amidst the hurt feelings and disappointment of the end of a relationship. After I ended my engagement it took us well over a year to sell our house. A buyer fell through at the last minute and all of that required a lot of communication well after the ending of our relationship. So while dealing with the emotional pain, you're having to figure out who will continue living there; what rent will be; who will handle all of the real estate stuff; and so on. It's no small feat.

Ella said...

I agree with Ally. Tim has two properties he owns with his ex. BAD NEWS BEARS. Thankfully they putting one on the market soon. The one she is living in is a more complicated situation. There comes a lot of expectation with buying a property with you SO. Why don't you wait until you and The Boy are at least engaged?

Aaron said...

+1 Ally.

Wait until you're married. At least then you'll have the law to support splitting your belongings. Should things go South and get nasty, the place will never sell or one of you is going to get a very short end of the stick. And if this location is as prestigious as you say it is (like I'd know??), then the fight would be all the more worse.

AND NO, we're not saying it's going to happen or that considering the worst-case scenario is bad. To not do so would be careless.

DIMPLES said...

As you know, Mr. ESPN and I bought a condo back in August. It's been an emotional rollercoaster and I don't think I would ever do this again (let's hope I never have to) We are fine as a couple, but we aren't talking about marraige or anything like that.

It's too late now, but I think buying property together should wait until after you get married. Did I do it that way, nope sure didn't, living together changes alot of things.

brookem said...

I agree with what's been said. I am not against living together, but I'd probably lean more towards starting off renting. Then deciding down the road, when the time is right, if you want to purchase a condo/house/something else together.

Jordan said...

with today's divorce rate, I would choose never to co-own anything.. ever!!!! haha