Most of us avoid conflict whenever possible, and there are perhaps few conflicts as stressful as trying to sell a home when the co-owner doesn’t want to. Whether your ex-partner has decided they don’t want to move, your sibling won’t allow you to sell the family home, or a friend you went in on an investment property together refuses to sell, you may feel like there’s nothing you can do.
The good news is that there is something you can do if one person who owns a property refuses to sell. They cannot force you to continue to own a property, and so today we’ll guide you through your options so you can come to the best decision for you.
You cannot legally sell a property wholly unless all co-owners agree. That said, you’ve got a few options to free yourself from a property you no longer want. You can:
Get The Reluctant Party to Buy Your Share
This is often the best solution if the other party is in the financial position to buy your share of the property. This will allow you to get the equity from the property and allow them to continue owning it.
Trade Your Share for Another Asset
If your co-owner cannot afford to own the property alone (perhaps due to credit issues preventing them from getting a large enough mortgage) but there is another asset worth a similar amount, you may decide that a trade is better than a sale. For example, if you both own a large RV or a vacation cabin, you may agree to take the cabin for your share of the home.
This is also an option if the other party owns an asset worth the right value, though generally, it will be better for them to liquidate that asset and then buy their share from you.
Sweeten the Pot
If they aren’t holding onto the home for sentimental reasons, and they’re just being difficult due to past grievances between you, you may want to consider sweetening the pot to avoid taking the matter to court (which can be costly). You may find that offering them a 55/45 split or even a 60/40 split of the profits from the house sale will give them the incentive to move.
Alternatively, if you co-own other assets, you could agree to give them another asset if they agree to sell.
Have Someone Else Buy Your Share
You can sell your ownership to someone else, either someone they know (such as a new partner, child, parent, or sibling) or a stranger.
Selling your half of the property to another person who will co-own the property with your current co-owner is a great solution, and one worth suggesting to your co-owner if they do not have the financial means to buy you out alone. Since property makes such a secure investment, people with the financial means who care for your co-owner may be willing to pitch in and buy your half of the property.
It is also possible to sell your half of the property to any interested party. There won’t be many buyers interested in this option, but it is possible and can be done if you find the right person, though generally, this needs to be done through a cash purchase. Mortgage companies do not look kindly upon part ownership in general. You need to make any buyer completely aware of how much of a share they will be receiving.
Take Them to Court
This is the most time and cost-intensive option but is often necessary if your co-owner simply cannot be reasoned with. A judge can compel the sale of a property, if necessary. It’s also worth noting that if your co-owner is being this difficult, they may continue to make the sale difficult by refusing to get the home ready for viewings or refusing to sign the necessary paperwork. A judge can force the sale to happen, even if they have to be evicted from the property, but obviously, this will be time-consuming and stressful for all involved. It’s best to try the other options here, and use this as a last resort after trying to reason with them.
If you applied for a mortgage together, you are both responsible for the mortgage. It’s important to remember that a mortgage is just a loan secured on a property, even if we consider a mortgage a part of owning a property. That means if both of your names are on the mortgage, you are both liable to keep up the repayments.
Similarly, if you are the only name on the mortgage, it is your responsibility to keep up the payments to maintain ownership of the home.
Provided you have proof of your share of ownership, anything you do regarding your mortgage will not affect how much equity (in terms of percentage, not cash amount) you have in the property.
While this is a last resort, it is not unheard of for someone trapped paying for a mortgage on a property they no longer live in that a co-owner lives in to stop paying the mortgage to allow the home to go into foreclosure.
This is not a decision that should be ever made lightly – defaulting on a mortgage will have serious ramifications for your credit history. However, if that is not a concern to you and you wish to be rid of your mortgage on the property sooner than you want to sell it (the foreclosure process is not always a fast one), it is an option if you have exhausted all other options and going to court is not within your financial means.
Whether you come to an amicable arrangement with your co-owner and want to sell quickly, or need more advice on how to get out of your current situation, we can help. We buy houses in as-is condition in Massachusetts for cash, so you may find it beneficial to approach your co-owner with an offer already on the table.
To find out how much you could get for your home, or to discuss your options, click here or give us a call at 781-309-7085. We cannot give you legal advice, but we can talk you through the process of selling your home quickly.