New platform launches to connect co-buyers

by Maya Breen19 Aug 2016
New website CoBuy Homes went live on 17 August, serving as a space where house hunters interested in co-buying can connect and combine their resources to tackle Auckland’s relentless property market.

CoBuy Homes founder, James Ma, told NZ Adviser the idea formed when he began looking for an investment property with his wife and a friend. He already owns a home he bought four years ago but buying an investment now is a whole different ball game. 

“I got really lucky to purchase a home just before the peak which was in 2012,” says Ma. 

“The whole concept of investment is doing it as early as possible, it’s about timing. It’s exactly the same as savings – the earlier you start the better the outcome.

“That’s what we’re trying to do – get people on board and understand to get into the market early. If you can’t afford it, partner with someone and start from there.” 

Although the idea of co-buying with a stranger may put some people off, Ma says it is easier to write up a contract when partnered with a stranger than with family or close friends. 

He explains closer relationships can mean expectations are not so black and white on the details, such as when co-owners will review time to sell a property. 

The difficulty is in finding the right person to co-buy with in order to get into the property market faster, Ma told NZ Adviser and that is where the new platform comes into play.

“That’s the whole point of our platform – we’re not trying to complete a sale, that’s not our goal. Our goal is to initiate the contact.

“The issue is actually going out there and looking for those people - that’s the first step we need to take. We need to break that barrier that it’s ok to buy with someone else.”

The site is free for users and does not facilitate the buying and management of properties. 

“We have ideas of what we can do in terms of our value add,” said Ma. 

“We are working on those but really the most important thing is that a lot of those features that we add on are really dependent on how the market responds.” 
Ma hopes the platform will generate interest and start the conversation around the potential in co-buying ventures. 

Previously, he says co-buying start-ups have tried and failed but brings the reason down to timing. 

“The audience that we are dealing with right now, the millennials, are more open to the whole sharing economy,” he explains, using Airbnb as case in point.

“Who in their right mind would lease out their rooms to strangers, short term lease, on a permanent basis?” he says. “Times have changed.” 

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