Managing Co-owned Homes, Gracefully
There are 2 million co-owned homes in the United States. Many are very successful, with great organization, effective communication, and financial stability.
Some could use a little help. It’s ok…. there’s a lot to manage and it can be challenging. The good news is that Plum has hundreds of hours of experience interviewing and working with co-owners, has built a platform to help you manage your home gracefully with your co-owners, and can help you get a handle on things.
Case Study: The Saldarini Siblings’ Inherited Lake Home
Katy Saldarini Barron and her two siblings inherited a lovely lake home at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Her parents had lived there in retirement, and it was a festive residence that build family bonds and created wonderful memories.
As the siblings inherited the home, they were thrust into co-ownership, and some of the things that they used to be able to rely on their parents for, such as scheduling and maintenance, became stressful.
They turned to Plum for help, and are now enjoying the home in the way their parents would have wanted.
Best Practices for Managing an Existing Co-owned Home
Plum has invested hundreds of hours in research and direct client engagement, and we’re happy to share a few best practices.
1. Knowing That You Have a Problem is Half the Battle
A vacation home is intended to be a place of peace, respite, and joy. If it’s feeling like a burden… if you’ve thought “maybe we should just sell this place…”, then it’s time to realize that you may need some help. It’s ok… this stuff is hard. We’ve found that there are 25-30 “things” that you have to do well to ensure happiness in co-ownership.
The good news is that we’ve come up with a process and a platform to do that for you. So, chins up! There’s definitive light at the end of this tunnel!
2. Make a Fair Use Schedule
We’ve found that many groups (especially if the group inherited the home), don’t have a good handle on how to share in the usage of the house. Usually this is because people don’t want to be too formal and started by saying “it’s ok, we’ll work it out.”
But then real life happens. Two co-owners both want July 4th weekend. One co-owner is just more organized than the others, and tends to reserve days before the others can respond. You get the drift.
The best way to avoid that conflict is to have a Fair Use Schedule. We explore a few ways to get that done (the “draft” and the “random rotation” are both good ways to solve this problem). Feel free to download our Guide to Co-ownership for more details.
3. Build a Maintenance Schedule
Sometimes, conflict happens because the upkeep of the house is being ignored, or because some co-owners are doing more of the work than others. In our experience, this is rarely because people are lazy or unwilling to help. It’s usually because there is no plan in place, and it’s hard to know what to do.
Plum can help. Our Plum Concierge provides you with a maintenance schedule every season, complete with which tasks are DIY (changing air filters) and which require professionals (inspecting the septic tank… ewwww). The schedule allows the group to assign tasks and stay on top of important maintenance events.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Retro Fit the Group Co-ownership
If you’ve never formalized the legal structure, set up an effective bank account, or tackled tasks like the ones listed above, then it’s ok to just start from scratch. Plum can guide you through the entire experience, and you can rely on your Plum Concierge to make things straightforward and simple.
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!