Selling My Half of a House
In Florida, real estate is often one of a family’s most valuable assets. To pass on the family’s wealth and to keep real estate in the family, parents often leave the family house to their children or other close relatives. Regardless of how close the siblings or other family members who inherit it are, making decisions about the property may not be easy. In fact, the co-owners may have very incompatible ideas as to how to manage the property or how to dispose of the property. One person may wish to keep it in the family and eventually pass it on to the next generation, while the other person may want to sell it and use the cash for something else. One co-owner may be willing to sell it as is, while another co-owner may want to get the highest price. When co-owners of an inherited home cannot agree on what to do with the property, contact an experienced Palm Beach partition lawyer who can help with selling your half of a house.
Under Florida law, an owner cannot be forced to keep property that they want, but an owner can be forced to sell their property. If neither of the co-owners will agree on selling their interest to the other, or if the owner who wants to sell cannot find a nonowner buyer to sell their interest to, the only other option is to go to litigate the issue in court in an action for partition. With a partition action, the petitioner requests that the court to partition the property. Partitioning amounts to dissolving the co-owning relationship. This can be done in two ways. The court can order the property to be divided or to be sold.
If the court orders division of the property, the property will be divided it two parts that reflect the interest of each party. Each parcel will be individually titled in the name of the new owner, legally severing the co-owner relationship. While division of property is common with farmland, vacant lots, and other unimproved land, it is not common with houses. Instead, the partition that the court will order is by sale. If you are wondering whether your property is likely to be divided or sold, contact an experienced Palm Beach estate lawyer to discuss the specifics of your property.
If the court determines that division is not possible, it will order the property to be sold. The former co-owners will receive the proceeds of the sale. Fees associated with the partition action will be deducted from the proceeds.
Note that the parties are responsible for paying fees and costs related to either the division of the property or sale of the property. Any sale of property is subject to any mortgages or liens that might be on the house. Depending on how much is owed, the owners may end up getting very little if anything from the sale. Contact an experienced partition attorney in Palm Beach County to discuss your case and how a mortgage or lien on the property may impact a partition.
In Morrison v. Smolarick, No. 2D20-2693 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. Jan. 28, 2022), the plaintiff and defendant owned a home as joint tenants with the right of survivorship. Mr. Smolarick filed a complaint for partition and asked the court to order a private sale of the property. There was a mortgage on the property. The property sold at a price below the amount owed on the mortgage. As a result the owners received nothing from the sale. They were still required to pay fees and costs related to work of the special master who worked on the case.
When multiple family members inherit a house as co-owners, their differing opinions on what to do with the property can cause friction. Severing the co-owner relationship may be the best way to proceed. To understand your options for selling your half of a house, contact an experienced partition attorney in Palm Beach at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have extensive experience representing clients in complicated real estate and estate matters. Contact us at 561-710-4000 for a free no obligation consultation. We represent clients throughout the following areas: Palm Beach County, Dale County, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, and we give our clients individualized attention.