How to Sell a House in Boston When There Are Multiple Owners

Owning a house with other people has a number of marked advantages: the financial burden of bills and repairs can be shared, and the labor of, say, yard work and maintenance is usually spread among multiple owners. But problems can come up when it’s time to sell a house with multiple owners.

While the actual selling process is pretty much the same as with a single-owner home, bitter disputes – concerning, for example, what price to ask, when to sell, and how to sell – among the owners can arise that make selling no less than infuriating.

Think about an estate sale with inheriting children who don’t always see eye-to-eye.

Read on, then, to find out how to sell a house in Boston when there are multiple owners.

Find Out Exactly How the Title Is Held

The first (and perhaps most important) step to sell a house in Boston when there are multiple owners involves determining exactly how the title is held. Before you can even think about selling, you have to know who really owns the house and how they own it.

The most common type of joint ownership is called “joint tenants” or “tenants in common.”

When two or more people buy or inherit a property, they are known as co-owners. Homes are held as joint tenants or tenants in common. If ownership is not specified, a tenancy in common tends to exist by default. To sell a home, co-owners need to communicate and reach a mutual agreement. When disagreements arise over a home, the court can intervene to order a sale and divide the property.

There are other types of joint ownership, so you need to take a look at the deed to see how the title is held. Joint tenants own equal shares of a property, but both (or all) owners have to agree to a sale. In certain situations, though, if an agreement can’t be reached, the court can step in and force a sale.

If you are joint tenants, you each own an equal share. Both owners must consent to a sale. Tenants in common share separate, undivided interest in the home. Each tenant can sell or give away his share. If you want to sell the home with a tenant in common, you both must agree to sell your shares. The sale proceeds are divided based on the owner’s interest. One owner can also buy out the other tenant in common’s share to simplify the process.

We have a relevant episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast that you should check out:

Real Estate and Death – Estate Planning Details to Protect Your Assets

How to Reach an Agreement

Agreement early on among owners to sell a house in Boston is the best-case scenario. Ideally, the multiple owners would have thought about and reached a consensus on selling when purchasing or inheriting the house. But, of course, that doesn’t always happen.

When you’re selling a house, it’s not easy to get everyone on the same page.

In fact, getting multiple parties to agree on important details like what offer to accept, the closing date, and the move-out date can be tricky.

So before you contact an agent, you should set some guidelines regarding price, sale date, and anything else that could be a source of disagreement during the transaction. That way, you’ll at least have a baseline or common ground to work from during the process.

A Boston agent who has experience selling houses with multiple owners can be a great asset here. To discover more, just call (617) 657-9811.

Legal Issues 

Selling a house with multiple co-owners can be complicated. There could be the IRS, a family trust, or even a retirement community that owns the house along with you. These are just some of the scenarios that could occur when selling a house with multiple owners.

If you to sell a house in Boston when there are multiple owners, you also need to be aware that there are typically more legal issues to deal with (at least potentially). In fact, liens, loans, and unfavorable legal judgments belonging to one seller can complicate and even derail an entire house sale for all involved.

Whether married, divorced, or single, a home seller who owes creditors may incur liens against their name and real estate owned. Tax liens, mechanics liens, unpaid child or spousal support, and other major delinquent debt resulting in legal judgments against one seller can affect the sale of a home.

For example, an IRS tax lien would have to be repaid before closing or at closing with sale proceeds in order for the house sale to close. If paid at closing, this additional cost would impact the total net sale proceeds due to the sellers after closing.

If such legal issues are a concern when you’re trying to sell a house in Boston with multiple owners, be sure to contact a real estate professional at (617) 657-9811 for some guidance.

The Agent Advantage

Selling a house that is owned by multiple parties can be a challenge. There are a lot of details to work out, and many times, the people who own the property don’t always agree on everything. But it’s possible to do if you set some guidelines at the start. For example, it might be helpful to create a list of agreed-upon points, like what price to accept for the house, when the closing date will be, and whether any repairs are necessary before moving out. In this case, you’d have a good starting point from which to negotiate different details with each owner.

Ultimately, then, selling a house with multiple owners can involve a number of problems, and the process is littered with potential pitfalls. Although the selling process is no different from that for a single-owner house, the difficulties are often more numerous. And that’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced Boston agent. A good agent will know how to handle the problems that arise and can help you navigate the whole process.

So if it’s your goal to sell a house in Boston with multiple owners, contact us today at (617) 657-9811.


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