Homebuying startup makes it easy to buy a house with your friends

Swing at the End of the World, La Casa del Arbol - Baños Canton, Ecuador
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Most people view owning their own home as a core part of the American dream. But with house prices rising to increasingly unaffordable levels, it’s a dream that — for many folks — won’t become a reality any time soon. For that reason, it makes perfect sense for those in the crowdfunding generation to team up with friends and other family members to purchase properties which would otherwise be out of their reach.

The reality, however, is that there are still plenty of complexities to this approach. This is where a new Bellevue, Washington startup called CoBuy comes into play.

“When you look at the home purchase process in the United States, it’s a very convoluted process, based on archaic systems,” cofounder Matthew Holmes told Digital Trends. “There are already a lot of moving parts, but when you add in the element of co-buyers it’s just an added layer of complexity. We want to guide people through that process.”

Launching last month, CoBuy helps shepherd nontraditional buying groups (such as unmarried couples or groups of friends) through the labyrinthine house purchasing and ownership journey. In doing so, it asks straightforward questions, and uses the answers it is given to point users in the direction of the right people — whether these be real estate brokers, or experts in lending, law, or insurance.

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Holmes doesn’t see what he’s doing as replacing any one existing component of the home-buying process, but rather as holding people’s hands as they navigate that process — a bit like being being BFFs with a real estate guru.

The goal is to make sure that not only are customers able to get the right home for their situation, but also that the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed when it comes to the boring-but-necessary stuff like ownership structures, individual roles and responsibilities, possible changing circumstances, and more.

“The problem of a lack of affordable housing is one that’s seen all over the western world,” Holmes said. “With house prices very high, people are taking unique approaches to how they procure housing. We’ve developed a platform which helps facilitate that; making it easier than ever to co-buy, and to do it intelligently.”

Currently CoBuy covers the Greater Seattle area only, although hopefully it will expand to other parts of the country (and planet) in the future.

Free to try, the service costs $99 per co-buyer if you decide to proceed with a purchase, although the fee is fully refundable if your house sale falls through for any reason.

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