What Do You Do If You Co-Own a Paid-Off House and Want to Sell It?

If you are a co-owner of a paid-off house and wish to recapture your investment -- and profit -- you have a few options.
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Co-ownership of a property has many benefits, including shared responsibility and increased buying power when the resources of one or more parties are combined. Selling a co-owned property can be tricky, however, especially if one of the owners is hesitant to sell. Several options may allow you to get what you want and need out of a house sale, though, regardless of the other owner's desires.

Partition by Sale

You may request a partition by sale to force the sale of a property. This legal maneuver is often used in cases of divorce, when a piece of property is included among the divisible assets. The court issues an order for the property to be sold and the proceeds of the property to be divided between the two individuals. Anyone who co-owns a property with another individual may utilize partition by sale.

Cash Buyout

If you want to sell a property, and one or more other owners wish to retain the property, you may also arrange a cash buyout. Based on the fair market value of the home as assessed by an independent real estate appraiser, you and the other co-owner may agree on a buyout price for the property. The other owner pays you a lump sum -- or agrees to a schedule of payments -- to purchase your share of the property, thereby terminating your ownership interest.

Refinance Buyout

Having a house that is paid off provides a great deal of freedom for all home owners involved. You may effectively sell your ownership interest in the property to the other owner and walk away with a cash payment by utilizing a home equity option. If one owner of a co-owned property wishes to retain the property or sell it at a later date, he may buy your ownership share by drawing on a loan against the value of the property.

Important Notes

When you embark on the sale of a co-owned property, it's important to protect both owners. There may be questions as to whether each owns the same percentage or one is entitled to a greater share based on a larger investment. The services of professionals -- a real estate agent and an estate attorney or real estate attorney -- may be needed to facilitate a fair and equitable arrangement. The sale agreement should be put in writing and the document should be notarized.

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