Home Selling in 92549>Question Details

Perplexed, Home Seller in 92549

Co-owners but not married. One wants to sell, the other doesn't.

Asked by Perplexed, 92549 Mon Nov 23, 2009

I co-own a home with a man, but we aren't married. I want out and have been making the payments and put down the majority of the down payment. He doesn't want to sell. We aren't married, so I can't divorce him and force him to sell. I want to sell and buy a cheaper home in my name only--he has past tax debts that have now incurred liens that equal his part of the down payment. My current equity is over $400K. What is my recourse?

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I think you really need to direct this question to an attorney.

My guess is that you could sue to force the sale of the home, but in the meantime you're equally liable for the mortgage debt and if he decides not to make payments then it's all on you. In addition, the best you can probably hope for is a 50/50 split of proceeds regardless of how much of the down payment you put down.

Good luck!
2 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 24, 2009
Readers should note that this is a relatively common problem, whenever two people who aren't married to one another buy property together.

A smart thing to do before taking the deed is to spend an hour of an attorney's time drawing up a partnership agreement that addresses these possibilities in advance.

We always want to believe that things will always go well, but they often go badly without either party misbehaving - partners die, become incapacitated, need to move "back home" to take care of family members . .. and that uncomfortable moment discussing what the expectations are of each other in these events can help solve problems like this if and when they occur.

In this case, the lender's point of view is that Perplexed has promised to pay the mortgage in the event that "he" flakes out. So, she's stuck, and the solution is going to be very much more painful than if they had prepared an agreement in advance that she could use to enable a sale of the property.

Good luck to all.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 24, 2009
I agree, you need the advice of an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2012
I agree, you need the advice of an attorney.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 20, 2012
Bring an action for "Partition" to force the sale; if title not in your name, stop making payments
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jul 19, 2010
It depends…how do you currently hold title to the property? As joint-tenants or as tenants-in-common?

If you own the property as tenants in common then theoretically you can sell your share of the property – but you would still be liable for the loan unless the purchaser is able to assume your mortgage. If you hold title as joint tenants then you will have to sell the entire ownership or propose a buy-out agreement to your co-owner.

Another way is to simply stop making the payments in an attempt to force your co-owner to sell, but you may not like the ramifications that can come from this option. If you stop making payments and your co-owner stops as well then your credit scores will start plummeting making your intent to purchase another home on your own quite a challenge.

The best solutions usually come from the least obtrusive path, so you may have to settle for less than you could expect to receive out of the home if you were to sell it out right on the open market. I think the best advice you’ll find here is to seek professional real estate guidance and possibly legal help immediately!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 25, 2009
I agree 100% with Mack, and Tony.

Have you asked him to buy you out? He could refinance (with the loan only in his name) to cash you out.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 24, 2009
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