Texas Real Estate & Ownership Question

Asked about 2 years ago - Giddings, TX

There are 4 of us that own a home jointly, (it was inherited). Three of us want to sell, one does not. Since the three that want to sell make up 75% of the ownership can we sell even if the fourth does not want to, as long as we divide the money from the sale equally in 4 parts?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Frederick J. Biel

    Contributor Level 3

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . The information provided in this response is for GENERAL INFORMATION, and it does not substitute for legal advice from an attorney after full disclosure of all the facts relevant to your case. This general summary of Texas law also DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship with you or any other reader of this summary.

    Based on the facts disclosed in your question, each person appears to own an undivided 25% interest in the home. There are not enough facts in your question to determine how the four of you iinherited your undivided interest in the home. This general response assumes (i) that none of the four of you is the surviving spouse of the deceased from whom the four of you inherited the home, or (ii) that any of you owned an interest in the home before the decedent died leaving each of you an undivided interest in the home, or (iii) that any Texas homestead suvivorship rights exist in any of the four of you in the home.

    Under general Texas law, each of your 25% undivided interests in the home may be separately, or collectively conveyed to a third party. In other words, if three of the four undivided interest owners could find someone willing to buy their 75% undivided interest in the home, they could convey their undivided interests in the home to a third party, and the party acquiring that 75% undivided interest would then own a 75% undivided interest in the home, with the non-selling owner having the other 25% undivided interest. Such a sale, however, might not be attractive to a prospective purchaser (i.e., the prospective purchaser has substituted himself or herself for the other three undvided interest owners, and the home is still owned in undivided interests), or to the three of you as prospective sellers because a sale of an undivided interest in the home might not bring the same price as a sale of the entirety of the home. Undivided interest owners also have equal rights of possession of, and access to, the home.

    A second option ALWAYS available to an undivided interest owner is to ask a court with appropriate jurisdicition over the matter to partition the home. A partition of real property may be in kind (i.e. each person receives a distinct part of the larger tract based on an equalization of value), or by sale of the real property if the real property is not capable of partition in kind. Based on the facts in your question, it appears that a partition by sale, rather than a partition in kind, would be the result in your case.

    While a partition suit does involve expense for the partitioning parties (meaning less money in your pockets after the property is sold, and all closing costs, court costs and attorneys' fees are paid), the threat of a partition action will sometimes bring the party or parties unwilling to sell the property around once they learn that the other unvidived interest owners are entitled to a partition in kind or by sale. Again, the primary issues in a partition suit is valuation and division of the real property into distinct parts if there is a partition in kind, or the setting of a value, and marketing the property for sale, if the property is not capable of a partition in kind.

    The owners interested in selling their undivided interests in the home should consult with an attorney so that the attorney can explain all the pros and cons of proceeding with a partition. Again, the primary "con" is the time and cost of a court supervised partiton in kind or sale of the property if the property cannot be partitioned in kind.

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