If my Ex- boyfriend and I bought a house together, how do I buy him out?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my Ex- boyfriend and I bought a house together, how do I buy him out?

My ex-boyfriend and I bought a house 5 years ago but he never put his name on the title of the house or the loan. It just has my name and my sister who helped us co-sign for the house. Now that him and I are broken up, I wanted to be fair to him and buy him out. However, I cannot afford to pay him a huge lump sum for the market value of the house. He then asked me he would want to put his name on the title of the house as insurance that if I cant pay him his half he will at least have his name on the title. Is that a good idea to let him do that? What are my options in buying him out?

Asked on June 18, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

NO, IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA--sorry to be emphatic, but we need to get the point across. If you put him on the title, he becomes an owner: he will be entitled to 50% of the equity (regardless of how much he has contributed), will have a veto on whether you can sell it (you can get around that with a court order, but that requires bringing a lawsuit), can move into (or move his new girlfriend or high school/college buddy, etc.) into the home since he'll be an owner, even though you and he are broken up, etc. You will give up a lot of rights and power by doing this.
Make him a fair offer; if he refuses it, ignore him--not being on the title, he has no say about what you do with the house and can't force you to pay him now or sell the home. If and when you sell it or if and when you can offer him his share as a lump sum while keeping the house, offer him the fair amount again--if he agrees, get him to sign an agreement that this will settle/resolve all claims he may have, then pay him. (Always get the agreement signed first, then pay.) You hold the high cards, since you are an owner and he is not; while you should be fair, of course, you don't have to bend over backwards for him.

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