If a house is co-owned and one owner wants to buy the other owner out who pays the seller’s legal fees?

My sister and I co-owned a house and she recently agreed to buy me out. She is taking over the mortgage. I have paid half the mortgage, half the maintenance expenses, half the property taxes and half the property and content insurance over the past 5 years, although only she lived in the house while I rented an apartment in another city. We are splitting the increase in value over purchase price (I get half of that). I have to pay a land transfer tax. My sister now expects me to pay half her lawyer’s fees for drawing up the paperwork. I never agreed to do that. Is she in the right on this?

Asked on November 30, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alaska


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

In a situation where one co-owner is buying out the other co-owner's interests in the real property that you are writng about, the attorney's fees incurred by the seller and their payment are typically subject to negotiation between the parties.

Custom and practice in the real estate industry is that when a person sells his or her property through a real estate agent, the real estate commissions are typically paid by the seller. With that being said, an argument could be made that your sister has to pay her own attorney fees associated with the sale of her interest in the property to you.

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