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Buying a Ski House with Friends

2Planker

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May 16, 2007
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Conway NH
That's a good list. I'd think we'd need to agree on how to address all those ahead of time in case they come up and that's why I'm looking for someone who's done it before.
We've thought about it twice.... But both times went solo, and ended up being VERY glad we did.....
 

Killingtime

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Owned a ski home for many years. It was great until it was time to move on. The best part was it was my decision and I didn't have to deal with another party. I've seen people do what you are contemplating except they did it with a seasonal rental. It's hit or miss. Usually one party tends to dominate the house and use it way more than the other and it creates resentment. I know it sounds great on paper but after a season or two of getting on each others nerves, well you know the rest.
 

skithetrees

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All of the concerns noted are valid. That said, I can still work out. We are big into boating and many of the sailboats at our marina are owned by multiple families. Not the same, but the model can work.

That said, if you do decide to move forward, have a real estate attorney prepare a contract for you detailing all aspects of the transaction—expected maintenance costs, unexpected costs, usage, what to do in the event of default, sale, etc. Feelings may still get hurt, but being able to point to a written and enforceable contract will make things easier. I would absolutely not do this without a contract.
 

crank

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An old colleague's parents owned a house near Mt. Snow with some friend's for decades. It was a 2 family and eventually they rented out the bottom as a seasonal and split weekends using the top floor.

My parents owned a 30 foot sailboat with another family and we would split weekends and weeks and share expenses and maintenance chores.

It is not necessarily a disaster waiting to happen. I would get some sort of binding agreement as stated by skithetrees above.
 

tumbler

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Don't buy and try seasonal rental first. Have had a few friends that did the seasonal rental together and it was a disaster. If your kids are little it makes it harder. If you can't financially carry it use some weekends and rent it out the others you are not there. One group of friends ended up in an argument that one should pay more than the other because one family used it more- they were counting days!
 

jimmywilson69

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I think it can work and I also think it could be a disaster. the disasters have been covered.

Think of it as if you were going to live with these people for the rest of your life. We fortunately do have friends where I think this would work perfectly for us. I also think you need to treat it somewhat like a business deal. I would have those conversations with your friends and enter into appropriate, binding agreements that protect everyone. you want this to be something everyone enjoys, but there is a serious financial (business) component to it.

best of luck!
 

jaytrem

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Welcome Thurston! I'm in a somewhat similar situation, except it's with family. It can definitely put a strain on things, I'll just leave it at that. Amazing how disrespectful friends can be too. Give people free place to stay but they don't even have the decency to clean the piss off the toilet and the toothpaste out of the sink. You would think they would at least fake a decent cleaning. And that's nothing, oh the stories I could tell. It does get annoying when whenever anybody would stay there, I would end up with a bunch of extra work. Was very tough to keep up when my kids were younger and needed constant attention. I'm still reluctant to even have guests (except for a few that I really trust). Anyway, three words for you...DON"T DO IT!!!!!!!
 

trackbiker

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Man, didn't think I'd get so many HELL NO responses! Really thought this would be more common than it is for a vacation rental.
Sounds like you already made up your mind and rationalized that everything would work out and this would be different for you. It won't. Write back in few years and tell us what a disaster it was so others can be forewarned. If you can't afford it on your own you can't afford it.
 

skithetrees

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Welcome Thurston! I'm in a somewhat similar situation, except it's with family. It can definitely put a strain on things, I'll just leave it at that. Amazing how disrespectful friends can be too. Give people free place to stay but they don't even have the decency to clean the piss off the toilet and the toothpaste out of the sink. You would think they would at least fake a decent cleaning. And that's nothing, oh the stories I could tell. It does get annoying when whenever anybody would stay there, I would end up with a bunch of extra work. Was very tough to keep up when my kids were younger and needed constant attention. I'm still reluctant to even have guests (except for a few that I really trust). Anyway, three words for you...DON"T DO IT!!!!!!!
On the cleaning, it adds an extra expense, but my friends and my policy always has been that we will split a cleaning crew to come through after we leave whenever we stay at a friends place (and my policy as well). We do our best to clean, but knowing from the start that we will pay the crew avoids any hurt feelings. I would think this is particularly important when alternating weeks.
 

Hawk

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All of the concerns noted are valid. That said, I can still work out. We are big into boating and many of the sailboats at our marina are owned by multiple families. Not the same, but the model can work.

That said, if you do decide to move forward, have a real estate attorney prepare a contract for you detailing all aspects of the transaction—expected maintenance costs, unexpected costs, usage, what to do in the event of default, sale, etc. Feelings may still get hurt, but being able to point to a written and enforceable contract will make things easier. I would absolutely not do this without a contract.
Skit the tree's nails it here. I have had 2 groups of friends go through this venture. One did a very thoughtful and comprehensive exit plan and cost responcibility matrix. It was all laid out in black and white and when both couples had kids and wanted to move on, the buy out was easy to implement. The other situation turned into a disaster becasuse there was no agreement. The bickering was endless an it destroyed thier frendship. One of the guys was a great carpenter and did modifications and renovations for years. when it was time for buy out he wanted all of that work figured into the buy out cost and he thought it should be a 70-30 split. That did not go over well.
 

p_levert

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I think if you buy a house with friends, the odds for success are poor. But it can work with siblings because the relationships are different, and you're probably already tangled up financially in one way or another. And if Mom and Dad are still alive and thinking well, they can help arbitrate disputes. Or you might get Dad to put up some of the dough required. But I give a solid thumbs down for buying with friends.
 

Thurston

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Sounds like you already made up your mind and rationalized that everything would work out and this would be different for you. It won't. Write back in few years and tell us what a disaster it was so others can be forewarned. If you can't afford it on your own you can't afford it.
Thanks chief 👍super helpful...

Great to hear some opinions from the both sides here. Thanks all, definitely given me some things to consider/reconsider!
 

drjeff

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Skit the tree's nails it here. I have had 2 groups of friends go through this venture. One did a very thoughtful and comprehensive exit plan and cost responcibility matrix. It was all laid out in black and white and when both couples had kids and wanted to move on, the buy out was easy to implement. The other situation turned into a disaster becasuse there was no agreement. The bickering was endless an it destroyed thier frendship. One of the guys was a great carpenter and did modifications and renovations for years. when it was time for buy out he wanted all of that work figured into the buy out cost and he thought it should be a 70-30 split. That did not go over well.
Group A sounds like the partnership contract I have with my business partner... It's about 5 pages of what the partnership agreement is, and about 35 pages of how to end the partnership in the future if need be! ;)
 

fbrissette

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It can be done, but make sure you have a detailed written contract which takes into account how to dissolve the partnership. A shotgun clause is simple to implement. IF you're not familiar with a shotgun clause, it is a simple way to terminate your contract. Family A may offer Family B (at any time) to buy their share of the house at a given price. Family B can either accept (family A then becomes sole owner), or refuse, in which case it has the obligation to buy family A share for the same price. Simple and elegant. Obviously, if you have to invoke the shotgun clause, it means shit has hit the fan, but that's what it's for.
 

p_levert

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It can be done, but make sure you have a detailed written contract which takes into account how to dissolve the partnership. A shotgun clause is simple to implement. IF you're not familiar with a shotgun clause, it is a simple way to terminate your contract. Family A may offer Family B (at any time) to buy their share of the house at a given price. Family B can either accept (family A then becomes sole owner), or refuse, in which case it has the obligation to buy family A share for the same price. Simple and elegant. Obviously, if you have to invoke the shotgun clause, it means shit has hit the fan, but that's what it's for.
Welcome back @fbrissette. OTOH, I would never take legal advice from a Canadian, as the legal systems are different. Hey, nothing personal.
 

jaytrem

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On the cleaning, it adds an extra expense, but my friends and my policy always has been that we will split a cleaning crew to come through after we leave whenever we stay at a friends place (and my policy as well). We do our best to clean, but knowing from the start that we will pay the crew avoids any hurt feelings. I would think this is particularly important when alternating weeks.
One friend has suggested that I should get a cleaning service and they would pay for it when they stay. To me that's just more work and more potential trouble (VT neighbor was burglarized by his cleaning lady's son). I have no interest in running a Bed and Breakfast. Clean up after your damn self, you got free lodging! Same person gave me a hard time about leaving in the morning, I prefer to be the last one out so I can check on things. I give in, and give instructions to turn off 1 switch and show her the switch. Of course she turns off the wrong switch which leads to a unfortunate chain of events that depressurizes my pressure tank.

That being said, I have other friends that clean up so well you would never know they set foot in the house. I appreciate them and am happy to have them anytime. Of course things can get complicated when then want to welcome some friends but not others.

Sorry for all the bitching! First world problems!
 

ctdubl07

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Jan 30, 2021
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NorthCentral CT
Not sure if this was previously mentioned but while today you all might in synch, 10 years from now your needs and useage desires might differ enough that the initial harmony around ownership creates a strained situation.

My parents bought 1 of the original "Trailside" units at Okemo off of Sachems back in 1976. We actually have the original promo brochure which is super cool. Whats depressing is that they bought in for $33K with some friends. 2 yrs later, the gas crunch and marital drama hits for the other couple which forced the sale, at $31K which my parents couldnt afford.
Crazy that fast forward to 2021 and that dump now trades for $470-$500k.
 

parahelia

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I think if you buy a house with friends, the odds for success are poor. But it can work with siblings because the relationships are different, and you're probably already tangled up financially in one way or another. And if Mom and Dad are still alive and thinking well, they can help arbitrate disputes. Or you might get Dad to put up some of the dough required. But I give a solid thumbs down for buying with friends.
Good point on the difference with family purchases. We bought our condo @ SR with my dad 5.5 years ago. Our lives are already more mingled than friends, so it hasn't been a problem. And because it's my dad, he didn't mind when we decamped to there for the first five months of the pandemic. I think he preferred it to his kids & grandkids being in the city.

It helps immensely, however, that he is retired and skis mostly midweek. We are there most weekends and our kids are in seasonal programs. He knows he'll get it to himself during the week, and that if he comes on weekends, it'll be a big family party.
 
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