Can't Afford a Home on Your Own? Consider Buying One With Your Parents
by Maurie Backman | Updated July 19, 2021 - First published on June 15, 2021
If you can't swing a home on your own income, partnering up with your folks is worth considering.
Despite low mortgage rates, many home buyers have struggled to navigate today's housing market, because there's just not enough inventory. Not only does low inventory mean limited selection, it also means higher demand -- and higher prices. The National Association of Realtors reports that the median price of a home sold in March (not counting new construction) was $329,100, which represents a 17.2% increase from just a year prior.
If you can't swing a home today but don't want to continue renting, there may be an option to consider -- go in on a home with your parents. It's not unheard of to buy a home with a partner, or several partners. And while you could turn to your friends, if you buy with your parents, you make a large financial commitment with people who have already committed their entire lives to you -- and there's some comfort in that.
Here are some pros and cons to consider if you want to take this less-conventional route.
Buying a home with your parents could benefit you in several ways.
1. More money for a down payment
Buying a home on your own means coming up with a down payment on your own. And with home values on the rise, that's easier said than done. But if you buy a home with your parents, you may together be able to round up enough down payment money for a nicer place than you could swing by yourself.
2. A higher total income to qualify for a mortgage
If your parents have worked for many years, they may be enjoying a comfortable living. If you team up with them to buy a home, you'll enjoy the benefit of having a higher total income to present to a mortgage lender. That could increase your chances of getting approved for a home loan -- at an attractive rate.
3. Help with upkeep
Owning a home means dealing with maintenance regularly and paying for repairs. If you partner up with your parents, you won't have to handle all of those items on your own. Rather, you can in some cases split the physical work with them, as well as the financial burden when things go wrong.
While buying a home with your parents could work out well, here are some pitfalls to keep on your radar.
1. Tricky living arrangements
Buying a home with your parents doesn't necessarily mean occupying a home with your parents. Your parents may decide to buy a home with you as an investment, and have you occupy that home. But what if your parents want to live under the same roof as you? If you get along well with your parents, then maybe no problem. But if your parents are nosy types, you may find living with them less enjoyable.
2. Fewer options when you sell
When you buy a home on your own, you can sell it whenever you're ready. But when other people also own your home, whether that's parents, a romantic partner, or a friend, you don't get full say regarding when that home gets sold. As part of your purchase, draw up a contract mapping out how you'll handle situations like this, so you can avoid getting lawyers involved if difficult circumstances arise.
3. Less independence
It's often unavoidable -- if you end up living with your parents, it could mean relying on them emotionally, logistically, and financially. On your own, you'd perhaps function more independently. While buying a home with your parents does not guarantee that you'll stunt your personal growth, that potential is there.
Should you buy a home with your parents? Clearly, there are pluses and minuses to going this route. Weigh them carefully when you make your decision.
The Ascent's Best Mortgage Lender of 2022
Mortgage rates are at their highest level in years — and expected to keep rising. It is more important than ever to check your rates with multiple lenders to secure the best rate possible while minimizing fees. Even a small difference in your rate could shave hundreds off your monthly payment.
That is where Better Mortgage comes in.
You can get pre-approved in as little as 3 minutes, with no hard credit check, and lock your rate at any time. Another plus? They don’t charge origination or lender fees (which can be as high as 2% of the loan amount for some lenders).
About the Author
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.