If two siblings own a property neither occupies the home, can one sibling sell his portion to someone else? How is this done?

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If two siblings own a property neither occupies the home, can one sibling sell his portion to someone else? How is this done?

I want to buy the house next door which
is empty. The grandfather and father
both lived in the home when they died.
The children never filed a will or went
through probate. Now one sibling is
willing to sell but the other is not.
Can I buy just the one sibling’s
portion? Do i need more than a quit
claim deed to have ownership? This home
is in St. Louis, MO city.

Asked on May 2, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Missouri

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Until the house is legally transferred into the names of the children, there is nothng that can be sold to you. Probate will need to be filed. Then, once the house is in the names of the 2 children, you can have a 1/2 interest transferred to you via a quit claim deed. However, you will then own a property with a co-owner who you do not know and could potentially be in conflict with. Perhaps the better way for you is to try and get 100% ownership. This can be done by the current co-owner who wants to sell, filing for an action in "partition". This is a legal remedy employed when joint owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters. In such an action, the court will order that the property be divided if feasible. Since a single family home cannot be divided, the court will then order a "sale in lieu of partition". With this remedy, the house will be offered for sale to the general public, although any co-owner who wants to keep the property will have the right to first buy out the other owner(s). Bottom line, in your situation, if the owner who wants to keep the property cannot afford to buyout the owner who wants to sell, the property will be put on the market and you then can make an offer. At this point, you should consult directly with a local real estate attorney; they can best advise you further.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Until the house is legally transferred into the names of the children, there is nothng that can be sold to you. Probate will need to be filed. Then, once the house is in the names of the 2 children, you can have a 1/2 interest transferred to you via a quit claim deed. However, you will then own a property with a co-owner who you do not know and could potentially be in conflict with. Perhaps the better way for you is to try and get 100% ownership. This can be done by the current co-owner who wants to sell, filing for an action in "partition". This is a legal remedy employed when joint owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters. In such an action, the court will order that the property be divided if feasible. Since a single family home cannot be divided, the court will then order a "sale in lieu of partition". With this remedy, the house will be offered for sale to the general public, although any co-owner who wants to keep the property will have the right to first buy out the other owner(s). Bottom line, in your situation, if the owner who wants to keep the property cannot afford to buyout the owner who wants to sell, the property will be put on the market and you then can make an offer. At this point, you should consult directly with a local real estate attorney; they can best advise you further.


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