Is an appraisal mandatory to buy another sibling out of an inheritance?

I would like to buy my brother out of a house we both inherited from my mother. He has been living there alone for about a 1 1/2 years now and will not pay mortgage, so we are going to sell. He claims to have had the house appraised and says it will sell for a much smaller price than any other in its area, which I find very hard to believe. He is offering me a small portion of that price. He is clearly not being truthful so I need to know more about the real estate laws in LA before proceeding to buy him out.

Asked on July 26, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The fact that you and your brother inherited the house is not relevant; all that matters is that both of you own it. The short answer is, unless there is some already existing agreement between the two of  you as to a sale price, you do not have to simply accept your brother's appraisal; you can get it appraised yourself, and if the two of you cannnot come to a price and arrangement you both will agree to, it may come to litigation to dispose of the house, set a price, and distribute the proceeds. That can get fairly complicated and could also be expensive (lawyers and surveys don't necessarily come cheap). If you want to learn more about how this might play out in your situation, speak with a real estate attorney who can evaluate your unique circumstances. I would suggest think about whether, even if you didn't get as much as you'd like, you see if there is some price at which your brother and you can meet, to avoid potential litigation. Good luck.


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