What is co-ownership?

Co-ownership is a type of ownership which can be applied to housing, businesses or other assets when more than one individual or company share the item in question.

In housing terms, co-ownership occurs when two or more individuals own a percentage of a property or piece of land. It can apply to investment homes, holiday homes, land to build on or housing to live in.

Co-ownership is usually utilised because housing is unaffordable and the opportunity to own with another person decreases risk, increases affordability and quickens the purchase process. Currently Australia is one of the most expensive countries in the world and co-ownership is increasing.

Before co-owning with another person, you should plan where you want to live, where you want to buy and how you want to purchase. This may include whether you want to live in or invest, whether you want a detached property or an apartment or whether you want to buy pre-existing or build a brand new property.

Once you have decided on these factors it is time to find your co-owner.

In traditional settings, co-ownership will apply between partners, friends or family. You can buy 50%, 33% or 25% (or other) depending on how many others you purchase with and whether the split is equal or variable depending on deposit amounts and buying capacity.

Mortgage Mates applies co-ownership to a new cohort of individuals looking to own their own home. We match two or more users to each other to co-own a home together based on housing preferences, location and deposit amount.

Mortgage Mates has been created for two reasons. Firstly, some individuals who cannot afford to own a home outright, do not have family and friends who are also looking to purchase property. It may be that friends have already bought with a partner, or circumstances have changed and they are seeking home ownership at a different time to their closest friends and family.

Secondly, by buying with a stranger after specifying your housing preferences you are more likely to buy the type of property you want, in the location you want to buy in. You will not compromise on the cost of the accommodation or the legal agreements you want in place because you do not have an emotional attachment to the person you are buying with.

We believe our version of co-ownership is quicker, cheaper and safer than alternative options of owning a home.

To ensure your rights, and the rights of your co-owner are met throughout the duration of the co-ownership, you can chose a specific mortgage which facilitates owning a property with some one else, and complete a legal agreement (called a co-ownership agreement) which sets out the terms and conditions of your purchase.

Each party can establish how long they want to own for, when they can sell, what happens if an owner defaults and other important items relevant to the property. There are now a number of law firms and companies who specialise in affordable, usable and specific co-ownership agreements which can work best for your needs. Whilst Mortgage Mates does not recommend a particular agreement, we do recommend seeking independent legal advice to ensure you are protected in every aspect of your co-ownership journey.

Some options for legal support can be found here:

If you are interested in learning more about “the Tinder of Home Ownership” please head over to http://www.mortgagemates.com.au where our platform also provides information on mortgages and real estate options to help you in your journey into co-ownership.

Everyone, knows some one, who cannot afford to own their own home, and we are their solution.

How does it work?

After deciding you want to own a home (which is a massive decision in itself some times), you may come to realise that traditional home ownership isn’t for you. Perhaps the property market is just out of reach, or your savings amount doesn’t meet the deposit requirements for the house you are interested in.

It may seem like you are limited in your next steps, but this is where Mortgage Mates comes in!

We help you to find another buyer who is in a similar situation to you. They are interested in buying but for one of many reasons are unable to buy on their own. Perhaps they have a partner, but aren’t ready to buy with them yet, or they don’t want to buy with a family member or friend. They know what they are looking for and it matches the same housing choice as you.

By clicking on our website, http://www.mortgagemates.com.au you will be taken to a landing page which explains your options to either build a new property or buy an existing build.


Buy

Buy a property together as an investment, for one mate to live in or to both live in.

Build

Buy a piece of land together and sub-divide to build a number of properties.

Either option can be as an investment opportunity, or a home to live in. Using innovative build and architecture designs it may be possible to create two homes in one, or, you can live in the same home in the same way as a long term house share.

By clicking on the ‘Sign Up’ tab, you will be invited to create a profile, which allows you to share some interesting information about you for potential Mates to read. Perhaps you are a massive Friends fan (who doesn’t want to live with their best friends), or are interested in gardening and want a home with an acreage to maintain.

Once your profile is set up you can search for Mates who have the same housing preferences as you, under the ‘Find Mates’ tab. You can determine the type and size of the property, where you want the property to be and how much you are willing to spend (along with other specifications). Under your ‘Mates Search’ tab you will be able to find other users who have matched against your housing aspirations. The match will also show what percentage you match with your mate, based on the search requirements you put in.

You will be able to contact your potential Mate using a secure email- to learn more about them and whether co-owning a property together is going to work for both of you. You can use the ‘What’s Next’ page to find third parties who can help you and your co-owner on your housing journey. This includes links to Banks and Mortgages, Real Estate websites and Co-ownership agreement legal advisors.

Whilst the next steps taken by you and your co-owner are now decided by you, we suggest only providing personal information (e.g. phone number or address) when you feel comfortable to do so. You may also chose to take some additional steps before buying with your co-owner, such as requesting a police check or overseeing previous financial information. These are all conversations which can take place at a pace you both feel comfortable with and may even form part of your co-ownership agreements.

By following these steps, you will be able to #buyahomeinhalfthetime and we believe in a way that is safer and more secure than buying in traditional methods. Imagine asking a partner to give you a police report before you bought a home, or requesting financial documents from your sister or best friend. It is unlikely you would feel comfortable doing this, but with a new Mate you can feel confident doing so.

Mortgage Mates is extremely excited to support new users to co-own a home together, because we believe every person in Australia should be able to own their own home.

What would you do for success?

As one of the Co-Founders of Mortgage Mates I am sat on the plane (which had actual WIFI if we can appreciate the craziness of that 🙌🏼) about to touch back down in Perth after a 27 hour whistle stop tour of Adelaide as part of the Pitch@Palace pitching event.

As a founder you will often be asked by potential investors, other entrepreneurs and interested parties: what have you put into it? Did you sell your house to fund the website development (I met a man today who sold his house to bring his product to market and I was in ore of him) and my answer is I definitely haven’t done that.

Ok, so do you work on Mortgage Mates full time then? Erm, no, I actually have a full time job and have this as my “side hustle” is the answer.

Disappointment sweeps across the persons face with these answers! So you aren’t homeless and unemployed? How do you expect the idea to be a success?!

There is a fine line for a Start-Up between putting enough in to make it work, and putting in too much and losing everything. We’ve all seen the shark tank pitches that say ‘we gave up our jobs, invested 2million dollars but don’t have any users yet’ and they are given the crushing news that not only will they not receive investment, but the sharks don’t actually think the product will work at all.

For us, working and developing Mortgage Mates hand in hand is still an option and one that is working for us well at the moment. However when I received the invite to pitch in Adelaide (with less than a week turnaround) it made me answer that real question, of what would I put in, to enable us to succeed?

The flights and accommodation would cost a not insignificant amount- and timing wise I would have to work Tuesday, fly to Adelaide, Pitch, fly back to Perth (VIA MELBOURNE) and go to work Thursday. It was not an insurmountable feat!

I did what all good entrepreneurs should do- I text my dad. These are the cons of trying to attend- but this is the amazing opportunity I would be missing out on. I woke up to the answer I needed him to give me, which was I had to go. Whatever the outcome, not putting this effort in meant I really didn’t have the effort it would take to make Mortgage Mates succeed.

Earlier today, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the businesses to go through to the next round. This definitely made my trip worthwhile! But even if I hadn’t been chosen, the ability to sit in a room with other people with vision and innovation is invigorating, and the next time some one asks me, but what have you put in to it, I will be able to confidently say, I’ve put in time, money and most importantly passion and that this combination will enable us to continue supporting individuals into the co-ownership market.

What If?

When you start a Startup lots of people have lots of questions. What if it doesn’t work? What if you don’t make any money from it? And lastly: What if some one steals your idea?

We have been asked all of the above questions, and more. But the last question we get asked more than most. It is the question which rings most alarm bells for a new Startup and strikes fear into the heart of the founder. What if someone does steal the idea? What if they are more successful than us? What if this all leads to nothing?

In the short time that that we have been a Startup I have come to the realisation that whilst an idea can be stolen, the essence of our concept, cannot. Mortgage Mates as a matching platform could definitely be replicated. Co-ownership as a concept is not unique and some one, some where, could definately make a similar website. But the thing that makes Mortgage Mates special, is the passion behind the website.

Mortgage Mates is about turning strangers, into friends. It is about creating opportunity for people who currently have no, or limited housing choices and which are unlikely to include home ownership.

Behind the scenes the co-founders of Mortgage Mates are looking to improve and ensure there is safe and affordable housing for every person regardless of circumstance. In the future we will be working towards a social arm of Mortgage Mates to support other forms of housing as individuals transition through their housing journey.

Because of the background of the Mortgage Mates co-founders we come with more than just the website. We come with the vision of community and the desire for social impact. We aren’t just looking to match two people, we are looking to connect two new Mates.

To answer the question ‘What If’, our response now is, what if we didn’t do Mortgage Mates? How many people would be impacted by us thinking, it might be too hard, we may not make it, some one else may do it first. This What If, is far more significant than the one about some one stealing our idea. Competition is healthy, and we believe however much competition exists, we will always have distinguishing feature, a stand alone capability that cannot be replicated. We will be the Uber of co-ownership, leading the way for future Olas, Lyfts and other related businesses to copy but not replicate, Mortgage Mates.

Co-Founder insights.

As part of Mortgage Mates we believe it is important for you to know who we are, as well as what we do so as part of our blog page we are going to give you a little insight into us, the Co-Founders of Mortgage Mates as part of our story.

My name is Daisy, and I am an Australian Permanent Resident originally from the United Kingdom. I came to Australia on a Working Holiday Visa, with the original intention of enjoying a 12 month long holiday before I returned home to buy a house and get a ‘proper job’. I saw a meme recently that said ‘I might move to Australia to work at a water park, giving nods to children to go down the slide’ and this is exactly what I envisaged when I left the cold hard shores of England for the warmer climates of Perth!

In the UK I had completed a law degree, specialising in housing and welfare law for a local authority. I enjoyed helping individuals who would have otherwise struggled with the legal process, but always felt there was something else I should be doing to make a difference.

In 2007 I was watching Dragons Den (think the UK version of Shark Tank) whilst having a couple of beers (beer is a common theme in my entrepreneurial journey!) I realised I wanted to come up with an idea that would make a difference to individuals, impacting the wider world and challenging current norms. It was in a conversation over some text messages with friends, that Freegal was born. Freegal was a legal website, supporting individuals to receive free legal advice from students who had passed their Legal Practice Course, it was also my first taste of being an entrepreneur.

Freegal ran for over two years and was long listed for the Daily Mail Enterprising Young Brits award. We were also Highly Commended by the Edge Upstart Awards. It came to an end in 2009 after the students working on the website found employment and were unable to continue working on the website part time.

After Freegal finished a friend asked me, what do you want to do in life? I replied ‘I want to be an entrepreneur’… she looked at me and said ‘no I mean like an actual job’, and I knew then I would always want to have another chance at creating something meaningful.

In 2010 I decided to go travelling, visiting Australia, New Zealand and USA. I spent six months away before returning home to look for work. Despite looking at moving to a number of places in Europe, I was unsettled after my backpacking experience and decided to return to Australia to spend another 12 months living in Perth. (Insert waterpark idea here).

When I arrived in Perth, I actually started work in community services, an area which I continue to work in at the moment. It confirmed I am passionate about social justice, entrepreneurship and supporting individuals marginalised in areas including housing, employment and social connection. I have been lucky enough to work in these fields for the past seven years and continue to feel inspired by my work, colleagues and the clients we support.

In 2015 my third ‘idea’ came to me (idea two is still in development) and Mortgage Mates was formed. We talk more about a Mortgage Mates and it’s formation in other posts, so I will leave this idea here for this blog post.

Other things about me which you may find interesting- or are an important part of who I am, is that when I am not working on Mortgage Mates, I am spending time with my partner who is super supportive of all my schemes! We are getting married soon and I am incredibly excited to take the next step with him! We have a French Bulldog called Bo- who is very spoilt and enjoys his best life every day!

I am lucky to have incredible friends and family who also listen to my ramblings on ideas, innovations and concepts- when many others would have left me long ago.

An important thing I have learnt, is that there is more to innovation than just the entrepreneur. There are the partners, friends and family who finance, emotionally support and lend an ear to versions 1-52. Not every start up will make it, and even those that do, may never pay back the time, tears and effort that has been placed into them. Without support, I couldn’t do what I do and I am grateful I get to live my ‘best life’, in a job that I think is even better, than giving the nod to kids as they go down the slide.

Where did we come from?

Mortgage Mates was an idea that Co-Founder Daisy Ashworth initially had back in 2015, when a friend was left holding an expensive mortgage after they separated from their parter. It sparked the question, what could you do to mitigate this? How could some-one/anyone on a limited income, ever enter the property market without a partner or family member to support with a second income?

Once the question was asked, it never quite went away. Daisy began researching housing affordability from a home owner perspective and found that for most individuals in Australia, housing affordability was a huge issue, and that owning a home was something unlikely to be achieved for many people.

In 2017, Daisy met Jess, another social entrepreneur who was interested in making positive change and wanted to make an impact to the home ownership market.

Over a few cold beers the idea started to develop, and Mortgage Mates become more than just a concept, it became a community and a disruptor, looking to bring the idea of co-ownership to the market.

Daisy applied to attend the Curtin Ignition program in 2017, where Daisy and Jess planned to test the idea more robustly, in order to establish whether the idea would work, and whether this could be a business, and not just a website.

Ignition is a week long, intensive training program for aspiring entrepreneurs- provided by Curtin University and with amazing support and assistance from a number of incredible people (thank you Ignition team for all the support and guidance you give at the beginning and after the program). By providing individuals with interactive information sessions on areas including marketing, finance and intellectual property, alongside mentor sessions where you can work and develop your idea, Ignition teaches you to understand, develop and polish your idea affectively. At the end of the week you are then able to pitch your idea to a number of professionals who provide feedback and support on your idea.

After hearing stories from successful entrepreneurs, such as the developer of Rhinohide Marc Berryman (https://rhinohide.com.au) and individuals previously based in Silicon Valley, excitement increased and the beginning of Mortgage Mates was formed.

Despite being incredibly nervous to pitch, it was an amazing experience to sell an idea to professionals working in the housing space. It validated the idea and confirmed that it could, one day, be something amazing and disruptive in the housing space.

Following Ignition, Jess and Daisy spoke to three website engineers about their vision, and the tech team of Mortgage Mates was formed (Marcus, Alan and Luke thank you)! Over the next 18 months the team worked hard to turn the concept of Mortgage Mates into a website, researching third parties to link to, overseeing website content and photos when needed and developing, creating and finalising the algorithm that matches two or more Mates to each other.

In June 2019 http://www.mortgagemates.com.au was launched and has been growing in success ever since. The team are working towards improving and developing the site to ensure customer experience is as positive as it can be and are already thinking of ways to develop the opportunity.

Daisy and Jess continue to look at ways to improve the home ownership opportunity for every day Australians and work on Mortgage Mates to it’s full potential.

What does housing affordability mean? Why does it matter and how do we fit in?

In recent years housing affordability, housing crisis, home ownership and homelessness have become daily statements and rhetorics in news reports, social media posts and community conversation. But what does this mean, both specifically for the individuals we hope to support through Mortgage Mates, and also the wider community?

Mortgage Mates has been created to support individuals in the upper end of the rental market, currently unable to afford their own home. This may include individuals aged 18-39 who are reliant on a partner to afford a property at current prices, to individuals aged over 55 who have experienced a life change such as the break down of a relationship. For us, housing affordability looks at the number of people unable to own their own home, who may otherwise chose home ownership as their housing option.

A question that has been raised is does this even matter? Does home ownership need to be a housing choice for someone who has recently secured employment? Should a person who has separated from their partner, be able to chose to re enter the housing market after selling the marital home? Should a social housing tenant, currently seeking assistance with unemployment be able to aspire for home ownership one day?

Mortgage Mates believe so, and as we will explain below, this isn’t simply because it benefits the individuals we are helping to co-own but also the wider rental community.

There is a positive impact on the whole of housing continuum that comes from increased home ownership. By transitioning individuals from upper level rental housing to co-ownership, we will be able to influence a freer rental market, with a reduced competition in the sector. This, we believe, will lead to a reduction in rental cost for individuals who’s current circumstances mean rental housing is the only housing option they currently have.

For individuals aged 18-39 there are 6.5 million people potentially priced out of the home ownership market in Australia.

This is due to a number of factors, but, primarily, it is because the cost of housing far exceeds the income received by the average Australian. Melbourne and Sydney are two of the most expensive cities in the world with the average median house price often tipping above a million dollars, and all major cities in Australia are considered unaffordable.

How have we reached a position, where 6.5 million people is no longer a shocking figure? Where it has become acceptable that for some people we believe home ownership will never be an opportunity for them, and that receiving rental accommodation is something they should be accepting of, and potentially grateful for?

In 2016, over 116000 individuals had no safe, secure or suitable accommodation to call home. In part, the cause of this is the lack of affordable social housing, but secondly to this, is the lack of affordable private rental accommodation available to low income earners (Centrelink or Wage dependent. with a significantly competitive rental market there is competition from individuals with a higher income and additional references.

Anglicare’s Snapshot on housing affordability found that currently there are two properties affordable and suitable to a single person on Newstart Allowance in Australia. The reason for this is as follows: why would a landlord chose to a) rent a property at a rate affordable on Newstart when they can charge increased rent for some one on a higher income b) why would they chose to rent to a person on Newstart when they can rent to some one on a wage, which is perceived as safer and more secure and c) is this a landlords problem when primarily rental properties are a financial asset to the landlord?

A recent report by Shelter WA states ‘More than one in three households in Western Australia’s top five electorates for rental stress are struggling in housing they can’t afford, electorate data released today shows.’ In addition Kate Colvin (Everybody’s Home campaign) commented ‘the narrow focus on real estate prices for young home-buyers means that 72,000 Western Australian households in rental stress are being forgotten by governments at all levels,’. (http://www.shelterwa.org.au/72_000_west_australians_in_rental_stress?fbclid=IwAR1IeI3Bl6VOWFLdTt9pRrgFZcFOpmP8EX2e_PIqmL2YW1R8ch0UdJ4Lu5M)

This piece highlights that a lack of home ownership is directly impacting the rental market in Australia, increasing affordability on all levels.

If we don’t start to understand the cause of the housing affordability crisis, at either end of the spectrum (and how one element can fundamentally impact the other), we will never be able to ensure housing choice is a positive option for every Australian.

We believe Mortgage Mates, is one way in which we can ensure each Australian has the opportunity to have housing choice- either because an individual can directly change their housing option through co-ownership, or because the rental market has become more affordable due to the reduction in private renters competing for properties.

Mortgage Mates believes it should be unacceptable, that the average cost of a property in Sydney sits at over 1 million dollars, and that a single person should be required to earn an income sufficient to meet the mortgage on the price of these homes. By co-owning with another person, we are reducing risk, reducing cost and increasing housing security and opportunity for those we work with.

When is a stranger better than a friend?

There are not many times in life that you would prioritise a stranger over family and friends, but we believe buying a home may be the perfect example of when a stranger may be the better option.

This may seem like an odd concept, but as the question above asks- are you already part of the stranger culture? You may not think so, but if you have ever used Deliveroo, Ola, Airbnb or Tinder- you already have relationships with strangers.

Strangers bring the opportunity to expect positive experiences with defined outcomes. For example, if you ask a family member to drive you to an appointment- you probably have to travel when it’s convenient for them, on the route they know, and they may or may not be able to take you home. If you use an Uber, you can define your start and finish time, the route you take and price you are willing to pay.

We believe the same can apply for housing.

If you buy with a partner or friend you may well feel you need to compromise on where you buy, what property you purchase and how much you spend. You may also feel uncomfortable in asking them to complete legal forms or contracts to protect your asset. When it comes to love we often believe the positive will win out, and behave as if this will always be the case.

By buying with a stranger you will feel more confident in what you ask for, what the terms of the purchase may be and what works best for you. You can also ask the difficult questions- like asking to see a police check, or verify income details.

Mortgage Mates believes co-ownership is the answer to our current housing crisis, and that co-ownership with a stranger is a positive home ownership choice. Some of the reasons for home ownership with a co-owner are set out below.

Mortgage Mates has been created to make the journey of stranger to ‘mate’ a simple one. By setting up a profile on the website, you can choose the housing choices best suited to your needs, including location, deposit and housing amount. Using a unique algorithm we match you to other users who have similar housing preferences to you.

Mortgage Mates also provides useful information to guide you in your next steps of the housing journey. We have information on third parties including mortgages, co-ownership agreements and properties. We believe users should regain control of the housing process despite buying in an innovative way.

Mortgage Mates hopes that by enabling strangers to buy a home together, we are increasing housing affordability and social connectedness for our users. Strangers offer us a unique opportunity which may be better than buying with friends.

Who is Mortgage Mates?

Who are we, what do we do and why are we here?

Mortgage Mates is like a dating app for home ownership. We match you with other users who have the same housing needs as you, enabling you to co-buy your home.

This is our first post using the Mortgage Mates blog. We have developed this space to enable us (your Mortgage Mates co-founders) to let you know more about who we are, what we do and why we are here. We hope to keep this blog active with information on how the website works, why we set it up and what our impact may be on the Australian Housing Market. The below is a little bit more about the website, and us, and we will be following this shortly with our first ‘original’ blog!

Mortgage Mates is like a dating app but for home ownership, matching you with individuals with the same housing preferences, i.e. location, cost and property type. Mortgage Mates is a revolutionary website for the Australian housing market, assisting you to enter the property market in half the time. It will allow you to choose the security of home ownership over rental properties and share houses. 

Using a unique algorithm Mortgage Mates matches you to other like-minded individuals to search for, apply for and purchase housing together. By matching with another user who shares your housing aspirations you can afford to purchase a home to live in, land to build on or an investment property with less financial risks and increased legal protection.

Daisy Ashworth – Co-Founder

Throughout her 12 years experience working within the legal, housing and welfare space Daisy began to identify a growing gap in the market leading to individuals finding themselves without a roof over their head. She noticed that younger generations were simply being priced out of the housing market, with no opportunity to purchase their own home and enter a competitive housing market. It was through this experience she developed the idea of connecting individuals together to allow them the opportunity to co-own a property.

Jess Vesely – Co-Founder

In 2017, Daisy and Jess crossed paths while working in the humanitarian sector and the idea for Mortgage Mates came to life. Jess has worked in the community development and humanitarian space for 5 years, working in Nepal post earthquakes providing strategic support and has since worked in strategy and program development in the youth and community development space. Jess has provided strategic direction and knowledge on the demographics of users, clarifying the importance of the sharing culture we live in today and a partnership began to form.

Since then we have worked alongside an engineering and software team to develop Mortgage Mates into what it is today – a space to connect with like-minded individuals to purchase a home, investment property or buy land to build on. 

“Through the use of innovative technological solutions, Mortgage Mates will disrupt the house market, providing all Australians the opportunity to own their own home.”Daisy Ashworth & Jess Vesely, Mortgage Mates