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Would you buy a house with your best friend?

Would you buy a house with your best friend? Not your spouse, but a close friend or another couple. That's one way Washington residents aim to navigate the state's housing market.

Across the country, buying a house is more difficult than ever. The market is competitive, expensive, and out of reach for many.

A short supply of housing paired with all-cash bidding wars is deterring many would-be buyers from pursuing the dream altogether. But some Washingtonians have opted to increase their odds of owning a home by joining forces with friends who share similar interests.

RELATED: This realtor wants to find you a house in Washington. The odds are stacked against her.

Rachel and Alayna, two friends, met in the summer of 2017 at a horse rescue in Renton.

Throughout the summer, the women spoke casually about their love for horses and horse ownership. But all of that sounded expensive and difficult to manage alone.

After Alayna rescued her first horse, Bolero, the casual chats about horses became plans to co-own property where the two could both have a horse.

"I’m sure people thought we were insane," Rachel shared in an email. "Compared to a lot of individuals who purchase property together, we had really only known each other for a brief time in the grand scheme of things."

caption: Horses graze at the home of Rachel and Alayna, two women who co-own property in Lake Stevens. The two purchased their home in April 2018, after less than a year of getting to know each other through their shared love of horses.
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Horses graze at the home of Rachel and Alayna, two women who co-own property in Lake Stevens. The two purchased their home in April 2018, after less than a year of getting to know each other through their shared love of horses.
Credit: Courtesy of Rachel

By January 2018, Rachel and Alayna made the decision to go all in on a property together.

They had many in-depth conversations about their wants, needs, and deal-breakers. They even covered "parenting styles" when it comes to animals. Neither wants to have human children, but they planned to care for more than horses.

By April of 2018, Rachel and Alayna bought their current home in Lake Stevens.

Now, their hobby farm is filled with all kinds of creatures and critters: horses, goats, cats, dogs, rabbits, ducks, chickens, and turkeys. And things seem to be going well.

“Neither of us has tried to kill the other one after almost four years,” Rachel says. “So that’s a plus.”

Rachel and Alayna are not alone in this choice.

Silas Lindenstein, an associate real estate broker for Boutique Brokerage in Edmonds, says more clients take up co-buying as an option to navigate expenses.

Lindenstein assures skeptics that a lot us already have roommates and perhaps this solution just means living with them a little while longer.

"If you can work out the dish situation in a house, I think you can work out the equity," Lindenstein says.

We asked you: would you buy a house with friends or another couple?

"It's hard enough to decide on dinner with two people. This sounds like a great way to ruin a friendship. "

— Scott from Capitol Hill

"More people than ever are moving to Seattle, yet more people than ever are also choosing to live alone...While employment growth is a big part of the picture, so is the growing number of single owners and renters who are eating up bedrooms and units that used to serve two to three people. Purchasing with friends is a great way to afford a place and maximize utility of housing for all."

Anonymous

"I did buy a home with close friends back in the 1970s. I would do it again."

Richard from West Seattle

"I would but my husband wouldn't. I would because it is more vibrant to share a home — eating together, games, serendipity, etc. When we all live in separate castles, we miss out on that, and our worlds are smaller. We have to schedule and plan for time with others, and it's easier to not to."

Jess from Silverdale

"Yes — if the property was laid out well for multi-family privacy, and there are legal documents laying out what happens in the case of dispute, death, financial hardship,abandonment, etc., I'd probably do it only for financial reasons, with the plan to buy my own place and then make the joint owned property a rental."

Nate from Ravenna

"I'd rather buy with friends. The partnership would be more democratic and communicative because it's a fresh idea. With another couple, you'd have to fight against all the social norms we've been raised with about family and housing."

Anonymous

With market rates fluctuating badly, it may be very hard to dissolve such a "joint ownership" by buying someone out. That's already hard enough with married people getting divorced if they own a home together, almost always resulting in a need to sell the home if the partnership breaks. The more people are involved, the trickier that gets.

Jo from Seattle

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Correction: This story was updated on Wednesday, February 16, 2022 to amend the spelling of Alayna's name. A previous version of this story misspelled her name as "Alyana." Additionally, a previous version of this story mistakenly referred to the town of "Bolero, Washington," which does not exist.