Property & Planning Law

Making homeownership accessible again with CoHome

Above: Josh and Damian from CoHome

It’s getting harder and harder for young people to own a home and Melbourne-based startup CoHome wants to change that.

CoHome is an online platform that makes it easier for individuals to purchase houses together. Users can set up a group and manage all aspects of the mortgage application and the construction of a contract.

The startup was founded by Josh Littin and Damian Horton, the brains behind Huffle, a Melbourne-based fintech startup that is working with banks to bring new types of loans to the Australian market.

“It’s been a long process, which is still ongoing, but while we were working on Huffle, we started seeing more and more evidence that young people are finding it harder and harder to buy their first home,” Littin says.

The hunch wasn’t wrong. Recently a study of 1000 millennials by REST Industry Super found 80% of 18-34-year-olds believe they were not on track to being able to buy a home. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of first home buyers in the market has fallen by roughly a third over the past decade.

To build their business, the CoHome team uses tools familiar to many startups and small businesses - Slack, Jira, Trello. They also use online tools to take care of their legal work, a tactic less common, but made possible thanks to LawAdvisor.

“We’ve got Slack, Jira, Trello and all that. It’s cool because LawAdvisor follows similar patterns,” Littin says.

“Just being able to go online and choose from a whole raft of lawyers, and then get all the quotes back was really cool. It saves however many phone calls that would be.”

CoHome used an in-house lawyer to build its first templated contract, and then LawAdvisor to find a lawyer to review it. 

“Anytime you can use a system with live messaging, notifications so you know when to check something, even being able to sign the contract digitally is huge,” Littin says.

“Given we’re working with mortgages, there’s so much paperwork, so a digitisation process like this, for me is a real winner.”