What are my rights to sell a home that I co-own with my brother?

UPDATED: Oct 9, 2011

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What are my rights to sell a home that I co-own with my brother?

My brother does not want to sell and I do. He cannot afford to buy me out. There is no mortgage on this home and I want to cash out.

Asked on October 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a joint owner, you have to pursue what is known as a "partition". This is a legal remedy available to co-owners of property when they cannot agree as to ownership matters (e.g. a sale).  A partition allows for the division of the property if it is physically capable of being divided (e.g. raw land).  Where division would be impracticable (e.g. a single family home) a court can order a "sale in lieu of partition" and an equitable division of the proceeds between the owners.  However, it would first permit one of them to buy the other out at fair market value.

Note: A partition action can be a time-consuming and expensive. So you may want to educate your brother about that fact. Possibly that will help him come to an arrangement with you.

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