Here are some of the most common questions we get asked about co-owning vacation property.
Who is Plum?
Plum is the “easy button” for co-owning a vacation home!
In the simplest language, what does Plum do?
We help people form groups who are interested in co-ownership, and then we get them Realtor Ready by solving all of the hard things upfront (building the right legal agreements, agreeing to house rules, setting up the budget, understanding how maintenance works, fairly allocating vacation days, etc).
Once the group has bought a vacation home together, we make it easy to manage that property with maintenance schedules, concierge services, vacation scheduling, streamlining the finances (including the reserve fund!), and we even offer dispute resolution for that occasional disagreement about whether to buy a hot tub (or other major expenditure)!
What does "co-owning" a vacation home mean?
Co-owning a vacation home refers to a situation in which two or more people jointly own and share the use of a vacation property. This can be a cost-effective way for individuals or families to purchase and enjoy a vacation home, as it allows them to share the costs and responsibilities of ownership.
Co-ownership arrangements can vary widely, but some common features include:
- Joint ownership: Co-owners hold legal ownership of the property together and may be listed on the title or deed as co-owners.
- Shared use: Co-owners typically agree on a schedule or schedule in advance to determine when each person or group has access to the property.
- Expense sharing: Co-owners may divide the costs of owning and maintaining the property, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, and repairs.
- Decision-making: Co-owners may need to come to a consensus on major decisions related to the property, such as renovations or selling the property.
Plum CoOwnership helps co-owners have a clear understanding of their rights and responsibilities as co-owners, and to create a written agreement in place outlining the terms of their co-ownership arrangement. This can help to prevent misunderstandings or disputes and ensure that the co-ownership arrangement runs smoothly.
How many co-owners are there per home?
That’s up to you! In our experience, we generally see groups of 3-4, and sometimes groups of 8-10. The groups who aim for 3-4 owners usually think of the property as a comfy getaway where they can leave some of their belongings and have high availability and flexibility. The groups of 8-10 generally like to be able to go to the same place, have the comfort and familiarity of a single home, and value very affordable ownership shares, but treat the property a bit more like a “check in, check out” experience.
Are the other owners vetted?
Plum provides a background check, a credit check, and a budget check to ensure that all parties will be good co-owners, also known as PlumCertified! The results are confidential to the buyer who is being vetted, and, in the event that there is a red flag, the vetted buyer has the opportunity to simply and elegantly remove themselves from the process.
How does Plum make money?
Plum has a 3% Success Fee at Closing
(paid by the buyers and not a real estate commission)
We only get paid if we’re successful at helping you form a group, get Real Estate Agent Ready, and close on the vacation home purchase! Our co-ownership platform makes it easy to manage your co-owned home in an ongoing manner (from vacation scheduling, to maintenance, to concierge services!).
Why co-own a vacation home?
There are several reasons why people might consider co-owning a vacation home:
- Cost savings: Vacation homes can be expensive to purchase and maintain, but co-ownership allows you to split the costs with others. This can make it more affordable for everyone involved.
- Increased flexibility: Co-owning a vacation home allows you to use the property more frequently, as you can coordinate schedules with your co-owners and use the property when it is not being used by someone else.
- Shared responsibility: Co-owning a vacation home means that you don’t have to bear the full burden of maintenance and upkeep on your own. You can share these responsibilities with your co-owners.
- Investment opportunity: Depending on the location and condition of the vacation home, it may be a good investment opportunity. Co-ownership allows you to share the risks and potential rewards of owning a vacation property.
- Improved vacation experience: Co-owning a vacation home can provide a more comfortable and convenient vacation experience, as you have access to amenities such as a kitchen, laundry facilities, and multiple bedrooms. It can also be a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family.
Plum can help you create or find the perfect opportunity for your new co-owned vacation home!
What’s the easiest way to get started?
Plum makes it easy to form your group, get your ducks in a row, and then engage a realtor. Your first step is to engage us to help you craft a Plum based on your budget, and then share it with people with whom you’d like to buy a home!
What kind of groups can successfully co-own a vacation home together?
There are many different types of groups that can successfully co-own a vacation home together. Some examples include:
- Friends and family: Many groups of friends and family members choose to co-own vacation homes as a way to save money and spend quality time together.
- Business partners: Some business partners choose to co-own a vacation home as a way to invest in property and provide a retreat for employees or clients.
- Colleagues: Some groups of colleagues choose to co-own a vacation home as a way to save money and have a place to relax and unwind after work.
- Vetted partners: Co-owning a vacation home with folks you haven’t previously known can be a successful arrangement as long as all parties are properly vetted, communicate effectively, and have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and rights.
Overall, Plum provides the tools to ensure co-ownership can be a successful arrangement for any group of individuals or organizations who are willing to work together and communicate effectively. It’s important to have a clear understanding of each co-owner’s financial responsibilities and to establish a written co-ownership agreement to ensure that everyone’s interests are protected. Plum will be there every step of the way.
How do I get out if I need to?
You can leave any time after the first year with a 90-day notification period to the ownership group.
If someone else leaves, do I get stuck holding the bag?
Every Plum house is protected by a reserve fund sufficient to cover 6-9 months of operating expenses. Additionally, co-owners in good standing have “first dibs” on a defaulting member’s remaining equity.
The legal mumbo jumbo seems really complex.
Actually, Plum makes this really simple. You provide answers to a few easy questions, and Plum will create the right ownership and operating agreements for you. You are encouraged to have your lawyer review the materials, but you and your lawyer will be delighted with having most of the hard work done for you.
How do you protect yourself from potential financial surprises when co-owning a vacation home?
There are several steps you can take to protect yourself from financial surprises when co-owning a vacation home, and Plum can help you with each of these actions:
Create a written agreement: A written co-ownership agreement can help to clarify the terms of the arrangement and protect the interests of all parties involved. The agreement should outline the financial responsibilities of each co-owner, including contributions to the purchase price, maintenance and repair costs, and any other expenses.
Establish a budget: It’s important to establish a budget for the vacation home and to allocate expenses fairly among the co-owners. This can help to avoid financial surprises and ensure that everyone is aware of the costs associated with the property.
Set up a bank account: Setting up a separate bank account for the vacation home can help to track expenses and ensure that everyone is paying their fair share.
Fund a reserve account from the beginning: A reserve fund equal to 3% of the price of the house, funded at closing, and then topped off with monthly contributions. This protects all members and preserves relationships when a large and particularly unexpected expense comes along.
Why is it a good idea to have a set term for co-owning a vacation home?
Having a set term for co-owning a vacation home can be a good idea for several reasons:
- Clarity: A set term provides clarity for all co-owners as to how long the arrangement will last. This can help to avoid misunderstandings and disputes about the duration of the co-ownership.
- Planning: A set term allows all co-owners to plan for the future, as they know when the co-ownership arrangement will end. This can be helpful for financial planning and for making other long-term commitments.
- Flexibility: A set term provides flexibility, as co-owners can choose to renew the arrangement or end it when the term expires. This allows co-owners to adjust the arrangement to fit their changing needs and circumstances.
- Fairness: A set term ensures that all co-owners have an equal opportunity to use the vacation home and contribute to the costs. This can help to prevent any one co-owner from unfairly benefiting or bearing a disproportionate share of the costs.
Plum Co-ownership recommends an initial term of 7-10 years based on interviews with successful co-owners of vacation homes. You don’t have to sell at the end of the term, but having a term makes any decision about whether to sell easier for all the owners!
Get Help with Co-ownership
Plum’s friendly concierges are here to answer questions about co-ownership. Drop us a line and let us help you on your co-ownership journey!