I have bought with friends before, and I’ll never do it again – you have to reach full agreement on everything!
And don’t do anything quickly! (bottom paragraph)
For some New Yorkers who have been priced out of New York City’s real estate game, pooling resources with friends and siblings has become the quickest path to homeownership. And while sharing a front door can put even the best relationships to the test, some are finding it’s worth the risk.
For Laurie Savage, a writer and restaurant server, and her husband, Garette Henson, a filmmaker, both 36, the arrival of their son, Fox Henson, almost 2, sparked the idea of buying real estate with a friend. That friend was Alix Frey, 37, whom they had met when they were all students at Sarah Lawrence College.
The group recently moved into a three-story two-family townhouse in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Ms. Frey, the director of the Blum & Poe gallery in Manhattan, occupies the top level while the couple have the lower level, including the basement and the backyard. The parlor level is divided between the Savage/Hensons and Ms. Frey.
For assistance in their search for a place to buy, the three, who had rented apartments in the same brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, for eight years, turned to Marina T. Schindler, a saleswoman at Compass real estate and one of Ms. Frey’s close friends.
“It’s a really good way for people to work the system,” Ms. Schindler said. “Not everybody has that money for a down payment. They realize if they team up, they get more bang for the buck.”
It’s a complicated process, she added, “because they’ve got to have an agreement between each other, they have to trust each other, but it’s a great way for young families to make a bigger, better investment.”
The friends had originally looked at properties separately, almost immediately concluding that they were priced out of Fort Greene. As they expanded their searches to Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant, the numbers still seemed shocking. “Alix was looking at a one-bedroom for $750,000. She wanted a two-bedroom for less than that,” Ms. Savage said.
“We realized we can get a better space if we buy together,” she said. “The apartments priced at what we’re each getting our units for were like tiny boxes. It was startling, the difference in the quality of what we could get. So very quickly we said we’re open to it.”
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