It sounds like a dream; splitting the cost of a lakefront home or woodland cabin with your close friends. However, purchasing a group home can end up being more complicated, and that's before you throw in any possible falling outs or conflicting schedules. Below are a variety of things to consider before purchasing a home with others.

1. Discuss finances first.
Can everyone afford to do this? To minimize complication, it's best for everyone going in on the purchase to be able to put down equal funds. In addition to discussing purchase costs, go over who will pay for furnishing the home, improvements, monthly bills, taxes, etc.
It's important to really scrutinize the financial coverage, from little things like landscaping to emergencies, like a flooded basement.

2. Write it down.
After you have a clear plan that all parties agree to, get everything in writing. This will be helpful in the future should someone forget who agreed to pay for those new energy efficient windows. It might be a good idea to bring in a lawyer to help come up with a contract everyone agrees to. A lawyer will not only help document your decisions, but also map out any additional legal concerns – like what will happen to an individual's share of property should they pass away.

Although it may be uncomfortable, you should also talk about what will happen to a property share should someone want to sell or liquidate their assets.

3. Decide how the home will be used.
After you've taken care of the legal and financial issues, it's time to talk about the fun stuff: how you will enjoy your home. Will you split up visiting dates throughout the year? Will you all visit at once, reunion style? While it might seem silly to designate days up-front, it will ease any future tension should schedules clash. Additionally, talk about what will happen to the property as your lives progress. A group of friends purchasing a home in their late 20s will surely use the property differently than a group of friends who are now in their 40s.
After you have your basics covered, celebrate with your friends and enjoy your new vacation home!

As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, I have a wealth of real estate and homeownership information that may be of help to you. Feel free to contact me any time to learn more about this important information, and be sure to forward this article on to any friends or family that may be interested as well.