How these best friends prepared for buying their first home together

Evie and Lorna
It’ll mean they’re much more likely to qualify for a mortgage

If you’re unable to buy on your own, why not join forces with a friend who’s in a similar position?

You’re much more likely to qualify for a mortgage and sharing the cost means your deposit, monthly payments and household bills will be lower.

But before you go ahead and commit to buying with your bestie, it might be worth renting together first.

‘Living together allows you to get used to each other’s habits and personalities before making a more permanent decision,’ explains Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at regulated property buyers, GoodMove.

He also advises discussing your long-term goals so you are prepared if one of you wants to move out later.

‘Consider opening a joint bank account to make house payments from, and ensure that your personal finances are kept separate,’ he says.

‘And it’s a good idea to set house rules, for example whose responsibility it is to do chores. Living with a friend is a different dynamic than living with a partner, family member or alone, so it’s important that both parties feel respected and listened to.’

People watch the sunrise beside the Clifton Suspension Bridge on a cold and misty morning in Bristol. Picture date: Wednesday January 12, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
The besties first met, and still live, in Bristol (Picture: PA)

Evie White, 28, and Lorna Inglis, 27, became friends in 2018 after meeting through work, and were renting together in Bristol when they were given notice by their landlord.

This was the catalyst for pooling their resources and buying a home. ‘I have a cat and Lorna has a dog, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy to find another pet-friendly rental, but neither of us could afford to buy separately,’ says Evie, a health and safety adviser for a law firm.

‘We had the same priorities – finding a home with a garden, on a quiet road and within commuting distance of my office in Bristol and Lorna’s in Bath.’

Armed with a budget of around £240,000, they looked at a handful of properties in Bristol before setting their sights further afield where they could get more for their money, and last July bought a three-bed 1930s house in Coleford, a Somerset village.

‘It’s about 20 miles from work – I go in three days a week – and only eight miles from Bath, but ironically Lorna, a mortgage broker, now works from home,’ continues Evie.

‘We paid £238,000 for the house after negotiating a £2,000 discount as there were some issues with the roof, and we each contributed an equal amount to the 10% deposit. Lorna cashed in her Help to Buy ISA, and I used a redundancy payment topped up with money gifted from my dad.

‘Our mortgage adviser was very helpful and found us a pretty broad spectrum of options, and we went with a two-year fix from Accord Mortgages.

‘All costs are split 50:50 but we don’t have a separate bank account for the house – bills come out of mine and Lorna transfers her half. I’d thoroughly recommend buying with a friend if you can’t do it on your own.

‘You can get short-term fixes if you don’t want to do it for the long run – at least you’ll get your foot in the door.’

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Bristol – Metro