Anyone who lives in South Africa knows just how unaffordable and thus, unattainable property ownership has become in recent years. Even if you can afford your own property, it often comes with a hefty sum of repair and maintenance costs. With the uncertain climate of the economy, it also makes one question why they should make such a large investment in the first place.

Fortunately, these days there are many ways in which one can acquire shared property, which can lessen financial burdens and risks exponentially.

What is a half-share property? 

Half-share property is also referred to as co-ownership. As the name suggests, a half-share property is a property which is owned by multiple parties. Most commonly, shared property occurs when friends, family or even colleagues invest in a single property. In other cases, you might inherent parts of a property, or marry into the co-ownership of one. 

Why would someone want to share their property?

These days, the property market is more difficult to get into than ever before. Rather than saving up for something, you purchase only part of the property, that sadly, you may never be able to afford otherwise. Couples, friends and even colleagues are investing in properties together. Often, sharing property is driven by a desire or need to restore and resell properties to make a profit. In other cases, it’s simply to be able to afford it in the first place.  

Inheriting or gifting parts of a property 

You also have the option of leaving or gifting parts of a property to your children or other beneficiaries. A common example of this is when siblings inherit property and share or upsell it. You may also choose to enter into a shared property transfer should you get married or get a divorce. The latter can be quite difficult depending on the situation, however, it can be managed with the help of a professional conveyancer

What does the term ‘staircasing’ mean?

Shared property can also be an attractive option for individual, first-time buyers. By purchasing as little as 5% of a property from the property owner, they can then eventually work their way up to 100% if they should wish to. This term is often referred to as staircasing, which essentially gives you a foot in the market and a ladder to climb towards full ownership. 

What to keep in mind when considering entering into a half-share property

Although entering into a half-share agreement can save you a lot of financial risk and open the door into the property market, it doesn’t come without its own set of risks. Before signing or agreeing to anything, you’ll want to make sure that you know the other parties extremely well. You should also ensure that you discuss, in both spoken and written detail, which shares will go to who. For example, one party may get 30%, while another could only get 15%. 

All of these details need to be set in stone beforehand to avoid any unnecessary conflicts later on, as well as to hold everyone accountable. You’ll also want to outline and clarify who will be responsible for what, especially as far as maintenance and repairs go. The last thing you want when entering into co-ownership of a property is a situation where things get messy and you don’t have proof or a way to resolve it. 

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