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New boat sharing case study

| Boat share, fractional ownership, sharing, template contract | October 31, 2011

We’ve a great new boat sharing case study, Andrew A has sold a share in his Fairline Phantom 48 based in Mallorca, to create a new private syndicate using Net Lawman’s contract templatesRead about it here.

ShareZen – making sharing simple

| Boat share, Property, sharing, template contract | December 23, 2010

Over the next few days most of you will be celebrating Christmas and New Year with family and friends. I’m guessing that some of you will end up discussing plans for the future, including the purchase of boats, cars, motor homes and holiday homes. When you think about it, these major assets are almost always bought to share. The real return on your investment is the joy of inviting your immediate family, extended family, friends, colleagues or even like-minded people you met through yours2share to share it with you.

(To make life easier, and so that I don’t have to constantly use the word “assets,” which gets a bit tedious, I’m going to use a boat as an example of an asset.)

There are two types of boat owners:

  1. Private boat owners who mostly just share their boat with family and friends. Usually the owner is on board with them, but some trusted souls may be allowed to use it unaccompanied.
  2. Boat sharers who have bought the boat with family, friends or yours2share partners and formed a private syndicate.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been talking to ShareZen, a new website that helps both types of sharers manage their sharing arrangements. ShareZen has been designed by Drew Bernard, Shawn Kemp and Adrian Pike, who together have shared several holiday homes, a boat and a light aircraft. Drew and his partners wanted a simple online system that made sharing simpler, so they designed ShareZen.

I have been impressed with the user friendliness of ShareZen. There are some excellent short videos on their website that explain the details, but the six key tasks ShareZen makes easier are:

  • Communication – helps ensure everyone who uses your boat knows the status of things at all times: How much fuel is on board? Is the boat clean? Is it at the dock?
  • Bookings – keeps track of who’s using the boat and when
  • Money – records all payments made by sharers and to sharers
  • Maintenance – ensures servicing or other “to-do” items get done on time
  • Info – stores anything a sharer needs to know, such as safety instructions, directions, contact details and maps.
  • Memories – builds a long-term history of your shared boat, with status reports, stories and photos.

I’m delighted to see the arrival of ShareZen, because it completes the sharing process:

  • yours2share gives guidance and finds like-minded partners
  • Net Lawman provides the template contracts
  • ShareZen keeps the sharing arrangement running smoothly.

ShareZen has several packages. For single owners who simply want to manage friends and family sharing their boat, the basic package is free. More complex packages are priced on a monthly-fee basis. There is also a free 30-day trial period for anyone. This is extended to a 60-day free trial special offer for friends of yours2share, if you sign up for the trial before 15 February 2011. (They don’t require a credit card at the free trial stage, so you won’t be caught out if you forget to cancel. I like this.)

If you’re sharing a boat or any other asset and want to try ShareZen out, or are considering sharing and want to see how it might work, sign up and try it out.

Andy Sirkin on fractional ownership

| environment, fractional ownership, sharing, template contract | October 19, 2010

Andy Sirkin, one of the world’s legal experts on sharing, gives his views on fractional ownership.  I couldn’t agree more.

One of the most important points he makes is the importance of the contract.  The people who need a contract are usually those who don’t have one.  Simply discussing the arrangement sufficiently to write a contract usually means everything has been thought through, understood and agreed.  In these cases, the contract is often put in a drawer and never needed again.  And that’s just how it should be.

On yours2share there is plenty of guidance on setting up a sharing arrangement and template contracts to help you get started in your discussions.  Then get professional legal advice to check it all through.

Why share?

| Boat share, Car club & car share, Dog sharing, environment, fractional ownership, fractional rent, sharing, template contract | April 13, 2010

We all have some fairly expensive assets that we rarely use: second, third or fourth cars that sit unused outside our house for all but an hour a week, swimming pools that are used twice a week, second homes we try to visit once a month, boats we make ourselves sail six times a year to justify keeping them, motor homes cluttering our drives for fifty weeks a year, plus all the sports and gardening equipment filling our cupboards sheds in case we suddenly have the urge to lift some weights or trim our hedges.

Amazingly most people accept this huge waste of resources, hoping they can continue to justify keeping them in their expensive sheds for their annual outing.

But now everyone is reconsidering their finances: some wonder if they can generate a little income or release some capital. Can they their assets work harder for them and still be there when they want them?

What if you could find one or two like-minded people that you trust? Would you consider selling them a share or agreeing a long term rental arrangement where they use the item (say) once a month? Until recently people only found sharing partners through serendipity: at a dinner party, through a friend, or a chance advert at the newsagent.

yours2share enables you to find like-minded partners in an organized manner. Advertise for partners to share just about any asset: property, boats, aircraft, horses, dogs, gardens, swimming pools, motor homes, cars, and so on. For example, if you have a second home, you can advertise to sell a half share or to rent it for a week a month. Or if you’re looking for a second home, you can advertise for people to join you in buying your dream cottage, or find someone with a second home from whom you can rent or buy a share.

Once you’ve found your partners, you need to invest sufficient time (several hours and several meetings) at the beginning to discuss everything properly and negotiate the agreement. This process will establish whether or not you are sufficiently like-minded and compatible: consider the contract as proof of this. For property and any major financial asset you should always take independent professional legal advice (and sometimes financial and tax advice as well). If you’ve already agreed everything, then the legal checks should be relatively inexpensive.

As well as the financial benefits, sharing is also environmentally friendly. It makes much better use of resources and, because the running costs are shared, shared assets are often maintained to the highest (environmentally friendly) standard, to the pride of their owners.  Often the higher standard of maintenance means the asset is safer too.

However the greatest pleasure of sharing doesn’t usually strike people until they’ve been doing it for some time. This is the sense of community and of shared responsibility. Whenever I speak to people in private syndicates, even the most cynical, hard-nosed “I never share anything, but my wife talked me into this” men will tell me how lovely it is to have found three (say) great “friends” who love this wonderful boat/property/aircraft as much as he does, and how fantastic it is to have pals to share the management and maintenance issues with. They tell me how extraordinary this is. I smile, because it is ordinary for well designed private syndicates to be extraordinary.

The same sharing wavelength

| environment, sharing, template contract | January 22, 2010

Someone on my wavelength!  I feel like yelling from the rooftops!

This post on shareable.net about non profit organisations sharing to cut costs is one (of many) areas that I’ve always thought yours2share could easily facilitate: resources and services used by organisations.  And yet most people don’t even consider this, unless they know people well in the other organisation or unless the economic drivers are very high.  In the former category, I know that health authorities often share resources and in the latter, I’m told that oil companies pool together to buy the most expensive spare parts rather than all carry one each of a part that rarely fails.  I’ve written a lengthy comment on the above post, so please read this if you want to find out more of my views.

In the article Janelle Orsi is only talking about not for profit organsiations, but I think profit making organisations can also get together to share.  The article above is actually the second of two parts.  The first part expands on the types of things that organisations could share.

If anyone wants to share accomodation, space, equipment, services or anything else with another organisation, please contact me and I’ll help work out exactly where to post the ad on yours2share and I’ll also work hard to publicise the request.

The Sharing Solution

| environment, fractional ownership, sharing, template contract | December 7, 2009

I’ve just stumbled over two great websites based in the US devoted to helping people share and showing them how to do it: the sharing solution and shareable.net.

The sharing solution is run by Attorney Janelle Orsi & Attorney Emily Doskow and is devoted to showing people how sharing can not only be economically advantageous, but also fosters community.  I’ve realised over the last three years of running yours2share that once people start sharing, the pleasure at the creation of a new community based around something you love or feel strongly about, is  far more important to them than the economic or environmental benefits.

yours2share on YouTube

| Boat share, Car club & car share, environment, fractional ownership, fractional rent, fractional resales, home worker, Horse share, Landshare, Property, sharing, template contract | June 15, 2009

I’ve finally managed to get yours2share‘s video onto YouTube!

If you want to see it in “high definition”, well much better quality, click here.

Family house sharing

| fractional ownership, home worker, networking, Property, sharing, template contract | June 10, 2009

house-share1

A few weeks ago I met Gemma Thompson, a life coach and owner of a local Suffolk magazine Roundabout at a WiRE business networking meeting in Suffolk.  I explained what yours2share is all about, as one does, and she surprised me by saying that she had bought a house with her parents and sister’s family, in which they all now live.

I had to find out more.

The arrangement came about when Gemma decided to move back to Suffolk with her nine year old daughter.  The house next door to her sister Emma was available to let, and she thought this was the perfect solution.  However her father thought Gemma wanted to move back to live with her parents was concerned that there wasn’t sufficient room.  He suggested that they all buy one property and live together.

Gemma liked the idea, but didn’t expect her sister, together with her husband and 16 year old son, to be interested, but they were.  Emma’s only condition was that she didn’t want to move away from the village of Alderton.  They thought finding a five bedroom house here would be difficult, but the following weekend the perfect house came onto the market. 90 days later in July 2008 all the three families moved in.

Everyone has their own bedroom, but the living room, dining room, kitchen and gardens are all shared.  They eat together about five nights a week, sharing the cooking between them but the arrangements are flexible.  All the food and household expenses are paid from a fund to which they all contribute every month.  They have regular meetings to discuss any issues. If someone wants to buy something for a communal room, say a new picture, everyone has to agree beforehand. Gemma, Emma and their father all work from home so they all need a working area.  They are just about to build a log cabin in the garden creating an office for them all.  Emma Aldous is a graphic designer, artist and photographer and their father works for Holiday Property Bond.

I was curious about how they managed times when one group wanted the house to themselves, maybe for certain visitors.  Gemma explained that they had all agreed to make themselves scarce on these rare occasions.  Whenever her sister’s in-laws come to visit, she and her daughter go out for dinner!

Gemma is clearly delighted with the arrangement and there are some obvious huge advantages:

  • Bigger house and garden
  • Much lower cost of housing, household expenses and food
  • More time with their family
  • More adult and children’s company for the children
  • Built-in babysitting and flexibility for single mum Gemma
  • As her parents get older, it will be easier for Gemma and Emma to manage
  • Advantages for inheritance tax

As I’m well aware, these arrangements can be fantastic as long as the people have thought things through properly at the outset, and have a proper contract in place.

At the beginning Gemma’s family had extensive discussions to work out how to make the arrangement work and this is defined in the trust deed and a financial document covering the monthly payments to cover expenses.  They worked their way through many “what if” scenarios.  One key decision was that no-one could leave the arrangement for the first two years, and after that the other owners allowed to buy out any leaver.  If this couldn’t be done, then the house would be sold.

It sounds like a model fractional ownership arrangement, long may it continue!

Landshare: gardens and allotments

| Property, sharing, template contract | November 25, 2008

yours2share has a new category: landshare. This category is for people who want to share land for vegetable plots, gardens, horses and livestock. You may have land that you are willing to allow other people to use; or want a piece of land that you can use to grow vegetables or use for livestock. There is detailed guidance here.

This has been a potential category for a year or so, but a recent conversation with someone I met at a trade show, prompted me to get on and set it up.

I was with my partner at an exhibition for working for charities and got talking to a man who worked for a charity that enables elderly people to go on holiday.  I have been wondering whether owners of second homes and boats would consider sharing or donating use of their house or boat to charities who operate holidays for disadvantaged people.  So I explained what yours2share does.

As so often happens, the man gave me a great example of sharing.  His daughter had bought a terraced house with a garden at the front and back.  After a few months, she realised that keeping them in order was much more work than she had bargained for, and she was not interested in gardening.  To make matters worse, her neighbours were proud gardeners and had beautifully manicured front gardens: her scruffy patch was letting them down.  She asked her father what she should do as she couldn’t afford to pay for a gardener.

He suggested that she ask her neighbours if they would be willing to help her.  She spoke to them and found that several were delighted to help if they could use her back garden as a vegetable patch.  She was pleased to allow them to do this and now gets some fresh fruit and vegetables during the summer.

Everyone is happy.  A little communication and a willingness to share goes an awfully long way.

Sharing private swimming pools

| fractional rent, sharing, template contract | July 24, 2008

yours2share’s latest sharing category is private leisure facilities which includes swimming pools, tennis courts and any other expensive private leisure facility that is only used occasionally, such as saunas and private gyms.

This has always been a potential category.I personally love swimming, but hate pools filled with screaming children or indeed with filled with enough adult swimmers to mean I have to swerve around them as I swim up and down.

But this category has been kick started by my recent move to Norfolk. An early conversation with a neighbour led me to explain what yours2share does. The response was “Oh, you mean like pool timeshare”.

As a result, I’ve discovered several “pool timeshares” around Norwich. The owners of private swimming pools allow people to rent their pool fractionally for specific times each week, usually for half an hour or an hour, for various periods, usually three, six or twelve months. I was astonished. I thought “how did I miss this practice: it must be commonplace”. Well it may be common, but only in Norfolk. If it’s common elsewhere, it is well hidden. I can’t find any evidence of sharing pools anywhere else on the web.

I’ve also met local people who are looking for partners to help them build a swimming pool in their garden. Usually they are looking for (say) ten families who will each contribute to the building and maintenance costs in return for use of the pool for (say) half a day’s use a week for the next (say) fifteen years.

The swimming pool sharing guidance and a template contract from Net Lawman are already available. Over the next few months we will develop the guidance and templates for other facilities.

If you have a private swimming pool (or tennis court or sauna) and are interested in finding people to rent it fractionally, post an ad, or contact me.

Finally yours2share can also be used to find someone to share your pool timeshare!In other words, find a swimming buddy.There are no lifeguards in private swimming pools which means users must never swim alone.I’ve been using the Natatorium swimming pool for the last three months, but my partner, who was never much interested in swimming, has refused to accompany me any more, so I need a swimming buddy!

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