My first foray into the world of co-investing was a participating in an eight townhouse joint venture property development in 2004 with seven other parties in eastern Melbourne suburb of Donvale.
A few years later in 2008 I decided to run a collaborative lifestyle experiment with an old friend of mine and bought a weekender in the Otways hinterland in a small town called Birregurra. Nearly 10 years into our experiment, we have been sharing the upsides (spending quality time together, bushwalking more, growing and eating our own food) and the downsides (weeding, maintenance and paying the mortgage) of the property with our partners.
In 2010 I teamed up with three friends to undertake another property development. We finished our four townhouse project in Northcote in 2013. Sharing a quarter of the costs and ending up with a townhouse each, everyone was so happy with the end result that at completion we all decided to occupy the dwellings. Since then we’ve been living side by side, sharing meals, drill bits, sugar, the odd potato, babysitting duties and garden maintenance.
In all of these co-investment experiments everyone has had to make compromises. However I think these ventures have worked because we have all had a balanced attitude towards the concepts of ownership and utility. As a result, it feels like we’ve all benefited from an experience none of us would have been capable of as individuals. Not only this the co-investment model has suited us because none of us could afford to do it on our own, we all had our careers to manage, and while we wanted to invest in property, we also wanted to live our lives and not have all our surplus cash flow tied up in servicing properties.
I know that today many people want to invest in property for their future but affordability is a real issue. In particular I know that many of my friends and family who have not already invested in property are wondering how they are going to enter the market.
From personal experience I know that joining a joint venture can allow you to sustainably invest in something for the future while allowing you to still enjoy your lifestyle by not over-extending yourself.
So in 2010 I thought it was time to see whether other people might be interested in joining together to build quality, architecturally designed inner-city homes at cost.
Looking at the development going up all around the city I wanted to try and create buildings with architectural and environmental integrity I could be proud of. And do it in a way that generated real financial and social capital for the people doing it.
Since then our little participatory development model has gone on to create 9 projects delivering 58 homes across the city.
If you would like to find out more about what we do and why we do it, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m more than happy to help if I can.