How to Buy Out the Rights of a Co-owner of a Residential Property

How to Buy Out the Rights of a Co-owner of a Residential Property
••• Tetsu/amanaimagesRF/amana images/Getty Images

Certain residential properties have more than one owner--not just a husband and wife, but other interested parties such as a parent, son or daughter or elderly relative. Young home buyers will sometimes seek the assistance of a parent to buy a home, while older homeowners may include one or more adult children on the deed.

If you are part owner of residential property, you can acquire the rights of another owner, to increase our stake or take over full ownership. As with any new or modified legal agreement you will want to get it in writing to protect the rights of each of the vested parties.

Define your interest. Legally, if you have part ownership in a residential property and the other owner is not your spouse, then you have what is known as tenancy in common, or TIC. According to Cornell University Law School, shares can be of unequal size and transferred through a will or while both parties are alive.

Review your agreement. Even though a TIC generally means certain things, your own agreement may vary somewhat. Review your TIC to see how it was set up. Most TIC legal agreements have a provision where the home can be sold to one or more other vested parties instead of to a stranger. What this means is that you have the right of first refusal if the other party wants to sell. Only if one of the parties is not interested in buying the available share in the property can that property be offered to a third party. Confirm that you have the right to buy out the property per the TIC.

Get an appraisal. If you and the other party come to an agreement where you will purchase the property, then pay for an appraisal to find out how much the property is worth. If you own equal shares in the property, half the amount of the appraisal is what you would offer to the other party. Consider local conditions too when setting a price. Some families prefer not to get an appraisal, choosing to settle for an agreed-upon price.

Seek legal counsel. Speak with a real estate attorney about the best way of handling your TIC. A new deed for the property will need to be issued, naming you as sole owner. An attorney can attest that the funds have transferred and work with you to close on the property.

Tips

  • Speak with a tax accountant before buying out residential property. There could be certain tax advantages or deferments related to the sale.

Warnings

  • Family agreements are often made without legal representation. Avoid misunderstandings by clearing everything with an attorney.