Co-ownership of Property page 2

What to do before you buy (page1)

What if I bought a property with someone and now I need to get out?

Getting out of a joint property deal can be as smooth as you both agree to or it can be as hotly contested as either of you want to make it.  You can make some lawyers really happy.  Here are some options and negotiating points to consider:

  1. If you are still on good terms, work to keep it that way while you are trying to solve the real-estate problem.  Ask “What can we do to solve this problem together without this getting in the way of our relationship?”  Then work toward answering that question.
  2. If you’re not on good terms ask the question this way “What can we do to solve this problem together without causing more hardship and expense through the legal system and the courts?  Out of respect for our prior relationship I am willing to…”
  3. Evaluate if you or your partner has the greater negotiating power and consider that as you move ahead.  If they have more to lose, be respectful but firm.  If you have more to lose, ask for respect and consideration.  In any case, try to make the best of the difficult situation for both of you.  Winning just for the sake of winning or out of spite will inevitably come back to haunt you in some Karmic way.
  4. A suit to force the sale of a property and the division of assets can take a considerable amount of time, money and emotional energy.  Reasonable steps should be taken to reach a compromise before bringing in the attorneys.  Once you have reached an agreement, write the points out on paper and take that to a lawyer to make sure what you are doing is legal and fair.
  5. When you hire a lawyer to help you negotiate make sure that you find one that is willing and able to handle the matter in the manner that you want.  Some attorneys pride themselves on being sharks and others prefer a positive approach toward settlement.  Also make sure the lawyer is willing to handle the matter efficiently rather than by stirring up the waters to generate more fees.
  6. Seek the counsel of a tax advisor to make sure that you both understand your state and federal tax obligations associated with the sale or transfer of ownership.  The last thing you may need at this time is a nasty tax surprise.

Emotions can run high in a joint property split.  Acknowledge your emotions and their emotions.  Let them know that you understand and respect how they feel.  Then do your best to work in concert to resolve the problem.

Please remember that you are in control of your life.  None of this information should ever be considered a substitute for medical, financial or legal advice.