The coveted milestone of owning a house can seem like an unattainable goal especially in a city like Toronto. Even if you’ve found some good partners to co-own a house, there’s still plenty to do before any of you get your hands on the keys. There’s a thousand and one tips on buying your first home. Everyone knows about having good credit, income and a substantial down payment but what about the lesser-known intangible tips? Something as simple as being positive and emotionally intelligent may just be able to help you afford a house.
A commitment to co-ownership and the ‘co-ownership way of life’ calls for the practising of emotional intelligence as it is essential to manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others in a process that requires so much of one’s attention and time. Emotional intelligence is a skill that calls for emotional awareness, the ability to identify and name one's own emotions as well as the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem-solving. It equally demands the ability to manage emotions that include both regulating one’s own emotions as well as helping others do the same.
Co-ownership requires commitment on many levels to ensure its success. One might think a well thought out agreement should be enough, but what about the stuff that is less tangible? We have learned through trial and error, that a high level of emotional intelligence is an invaluable skill for co-ownership.
With co-ownership being a model that invites people to pool their resources to enter the housing market. It is one way that enables everyday Canadians to take advantage of the economic, social and community benefits of homeownership and it is an emotionally challenging process. An emotionally intelligent individual is someone who is both conscious of his or her emotional states, even when negativity - frustration, sadness, disagreement, or something more subtle can be managed in a way that benefits others who are potentially feeling the same way. Case in point: being an individual who is emotionally intelligent may offer a way of understanding co-Ownership through conversation in a new way. The three pillars of Co-Ownership being compromise, cooperation and compassion demand these skills to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your group.
Compromise is an essential part of our lives. While it is not always seen in a positive light, it is necessary. Compromising with others and being able to resolve conflict through positivity is a sign of high emotional intelligence. Empathy, communication and effective communication are key elements in a successful compromise between parties.
Successful Co-Ownership depends on all parties’ abilities to compromise. If they cannot come to an equitable solution that is fair for everyone, then there is no way that they will be able to succeed in co-owning a house. Being able to communicate effectively to resolve conflicts as quickly and as equitably as possible, in other words, to compromise with each other is an indicator of emotional intelligence as well as an indicator of the success of the partnership.
Many of us have grown up in a culture where owning something means we have exclusive rights to it. It is a personal choice if we choose to share our ownership with someone else and even then, we tend to want to hold onto exclusive decision rights if we perceive the object to be important to us. Unfortunately for most of us, it is unlikely that we will be able to afford the burden of a mortgage solely on our own. The average price of a detached home in Toronto in November of last year was $1.04 million while a condominium price averaged $618,000.
Co-ownership is a creative solution to overcoming the affordability barrier of Toronto’s housing market. However, it requires the parties to come together and, most importantly, compromise for the benefit of the partnership. Each partnership is unique and it is up to them to make rules that suit them.
To improve your ability to compromise, you need to communicate assertively and openly with others. Be open to empathy for others and aware of your own feelings.
Cooperation is the ability to work together toward the same outcome. The ability to cooperate with others is a key element of emotional intelligence that relies on being able to communicate, empathize and manage relationships with yourself and others.
Co-ownership is successful when the intention to cooperate is there before an official agreement is even in place. Early intervention and anticipation of issues allow for the success of the partnership. Members are willing to cooperate with each other to optimize their arrangement and quickly resolve any issues that arise through effective communication, empathy and self-management.
Working together is essential for the partnership. The process of co-ownership can be long and challenging. Supporting each other ensures the success of the process and the continuation of the partnership once all the paperwork is completed.
To increase your ability to cooperate, you can strengthen your emotional intelligence skills. Empathy and open, assertive communication are highly desirable as well as a good motivation to back up your partnership. All very important functions of successful co-ownership.
Compassion is probably the most important aspect of success not just in co-ownership but in your life. Compassion is the ability to show kindness, care and empathy for others. Being able to put yourselves in someone else’s shoes and find a common ground to understand one another demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence.
The ongoing success of a co-ownership agreement is heavily dependent on the compassion of all the parties involved.
You can enhance your emotional intelligence skills in empathy and self-awareness through reflection. Think of others and how you would feel in their situation and you’ll find that compassion often comes naturally. Sometimes the best intentions and the best planning still results in conflict that hurts. Co-ownership needs to happen with a compassionate heart. Ways through conflict come from real compassion and empathy towards your co-living partners. In the eyes of the law, it is a legal agreement, but the reality of co-living is that you have chosen to lead a purpose-driven life with partners of your choice.
Owning your own home is no simple feat. Co-owning a home can be a creative way to break into the real estate market but it can only work if you practise emotional intelligence and commit to a purpose-driven life through compromise, cooperation and compassion.