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The kindness of strangers

As early 20th-century American entertainer Will Rogers once said, “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet.” 

In today’s immoderately priced mortgage market, this pithy saying may well become the descriptor of the future of home ownership, thanks to a startup called GoCo Solutions, launched by Royal Lepage realtor Lesli Gaynor. This past May, Gaynor organized a speed-dating style event in Yorkville, Ont. where prospective homeowners — strangers — were invited to meet other like-minded people for a tête-à-tête about going together on a mortgage, Yahoo Finance Canada reported. The concept for GoCo Solutions concept was based upon Gaynor’s own positive experience as a single mother who signed a mortgage with a friend. The pal lived upstairs, Gaynor and her child lived downstairs. The relationship, Gaynor found, was mutually beneficial in terms of responsibilities and took the pressure off solo mortgage financing.

Some credit unions in Ontario have warmed to the idea. Meridian Credit Union (300,000 members and $14 billion in assets) recently launched a family and friends mortgage, allowing up to four individuals on title. Meanwhile, DUCA Financial Services Credit Union (54,000 members and $2.5 billion in assets) launched its More Together mortgage this past May, which allows up to six people on title. ◊