“All my friends and family were like, ‘No way do it!’ And his friends and family said the exact same thing. But we thought about it and we thought that we can trust each other. So we were like, ‘OK, what the hell, let’s do this!'”
While it’s an option that many young buyers have taken up, the decision to buy a home together between two friends has often been a journey that ended in tears and bitterness.
Experts warn that among singles it often seems like an ideal quick fix to increase spending power and thus acquire a much better home; circumstances change; Friends can drop out and dual ownership can make disposal messy and legally complicated, especially when one wants out and the other doesn’t.
But in 2013, technician Kevin Whelan was looking for a flatmate to share a rented house with in Dublin’s Liberties. A friend of a friend was proposed to him, they were brought together and the two moved in.
“We got along really well and we shared this rental for a couple of years before we both got to the point where it was time for each of us to buy our own first homes.”
Sean wanted an apartment of his own, while his roommate was looking for a small entry-level home.
“So we ended up in the weird situation that we were both at home hunting for about eight months. And both of our budgets were set at around €300,000.”
But both parties were soon dismayed by what the market had to offer at their price points. “Of course, every night we talked about the places we had visited and been outbid for. The apartments in my budget were tiny, cheaply finished and small, while the houses he had available were mostly run down, freezing and expensive.”
The idea of buying a property together did not occur to them immediately. “We had these conversations about the great homes that we missed, that we couldn’t reach, that we could easily have bought if we pooled our resources. So that was an idea that gradually caught on.
“I’ve talked to my family and friends about the concept and everyone, without exception, advised against it. His friends and family were the same. I suppose a lot can go wrong and they were worried about that. So we had a discussion. We already knew that we could easily live together. We decided that we knew each other well enough and could trust each other to take this step.” Armed with a double size budget, the prospective co-owners didn’t have to look far for the right property to come onto the market.
“We spoke to a real estate agent who told us he knew of a property on North Strand that had just been renovated on Leinster Avenue by contractor Gerry Kilcoyne. We walked in and we knew we were home. It was wonderful. We made a deal then and there.”
Kilcoyne had just taken what was said to be a derelict craftsman’s house at 33 Leinster Avenue, with a window and door to the street, and transformed it into something modern and extremely spacious.
“Not a single person in my life has walked into this house and not been totally surprised,” says Whelan. “You just can’t believe how far inside it is given how it looks from the street.” Now the home spans 1,300 square feet; larger than a standard triple family room and just a little smaller than the average quadruple room.
Builder Gerry Kilcoyne says: “I was building two houses in Dublin at the time, one in Portobello and this one. North Strand was derelict when I bought it and was told it was occupied by a guy who had worked in Guinness’s his whole life. It was pretty easy to do because it had side access. My wife Josephine did all the interior design. We opened it up and added about 60 pieces more floor space with the expansion. We completed it in about six months.”
Two years after buying the home in 2018, the first test of her Property Step strategy came when Whelan’s co-owner met someone and signaled he was selling to move in with them.
“I told him I would like to stay at No33 and if there was a way to buy him out I would do it. So we went to a bank and to our surprise they agreed. I’ve lived there ever since. But now I’ve met someone and it’s time for me to move on.”
Looking back, Whelan agrees that buying with a friend was the best thing he could have done, not only to take the first step up the real estate ladder, but to make the next step easier. However, he realizes that he was lucky to have the right co-buyer.
Accommodation comprises an entrance hall and off of this bedroom one (currently a study) with a spiral staircase leading to an additional mezzanine level and en-suite bathroom with power shower. The heart of the house is the large modern living/kitchen/dining room with built in wood burner, integrated sound system and built in speakers. The kitchen has a built in Neff double oven with a five burner gas hob in the kitchen island.
Bedrooms two and three are both doubles and the latter has an ensuite bathroom with power shower. There is also a family bathroom with a combination bath and power shower. Outside there is a large split level patio garden which includes a storage shed.
DNG is aiming for 575,000 euros and is happy to accept offers from fellow buyers.
https://www.independent.ie/life/home-garden/my-family-said-dont-do-it-how-co-buying-opened-new-doors-for-two-friends-41992902.html ‘My family said, ‘Don’t do it!’ – how co-buying opened new doors for two friends