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Title disputes: when one party doesn’t want to sell

Posted on September 5, 2022

Real estate is the most valuable asset the average person will purchase and own in their lifetime. According to Missouri Realtors, the average sale price for residential real estate in Missouri was more than $295,000 in 2022, an 8.3% increase compared to the previous year. Many people may not be able to afford real estate on their own, which is why they may need to pool resources with other people to become co-owners.  

However, circumstances may change over time, and one co-owner may want to sell the jointly-owned property. If the other co-owner does not want to sell, disputes may arise. As real estate attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri, we have handled numerous title disputes in which one party doesn’t want to sell. At TdD Attorneys at Law, we know how costly, contentious, and emotionally-draining these disputes can be.  

If you are dealing with a title dispute because you want or do not want to sell co-owned property, I can help you negotiate a mutually-acceptable solution and settle your dispute while protecting your best interests.  

Situations in Which One Person Won’t Sell  

There are different situations in which one co-owner may refuse to sell their property despite the other co-owner’s attempts to force the sale. Some examples of situations when one person won’t sell include: 

  • Divorce. Spouses, who are also co-owners of marital property, may not reach an agreement regarding the division or sale of the jointly-owned property shortly before ending their marriage or while their divorce is pending.  
  • Inheritance. Siblings or other relatives may disagree about what to do with inherited property. Once they inherit real estate and become co-owners, a dispute may arise if one co-owner wants to sell the property while the other co-owner wants to keep it.  
  • Invested ownership partners. When two or more partners are joint owners of investment real estate, they may disagree on what to do with the co-owned property.  

In any of these situations, reaching an agreement can be tough when one party wants to force the sale while the other party won’t sell. In that case, seeking the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney may be necessary to facilitate the negotiation process and explore your options for resolving the title dispute.   

Understanding Partitions  

Partition is the process of dividing real or personal property owned by two or more persons or entities. When title disputes arise, one of the co-owners can file a partition lawsuit to divide the real estate or sell it and divide the proceeds. A partition lawsuit may be the only option to resolve a title dispute when one party does not want to sell real estate.  

There are three types of partitions that can be ordered by the court: 

  1. Partition by sale. One of the most common outcomes of a partition lawsuit is the forced sale of real estate. The sale is “forced” because it occurs even if one party doesn’t want to sell. After the sale of real estate, the proceeds will be divided among co-owners in proportion to their ownership percentages. 
  1. Partition by kind. Partition by kind refers to the physical division of property in an equitable and fair manner. Courts prefer this method of partition when applicable so that each co-owner can own a certain percentage of the property.  
  1. Partition by appraisal. This type of partition involves one or more co-owners buying out other co-owners for the appraised price. In other words, those who do not agree to the sale purchase other parties’ interests in the property following an appraisal. However, each party needs to agree to partition by appraisal before the court order.   

The partition process can be costly and complicated as it typically requires co-owners to get a formal appraisal of the property. That is why you may need to consider hiring an experienced attorney who can help you negotiate and mediate the dispute to save money and time.  

However, partitions may be an inevitable outcome of a title dispute in which one party doesn’t want to sell. You may want to discuss your specific situation with a real estate attorney to determine whether filing a partition lawsuit would be appropriate in your particular case.  

Dividing the Proceeds  

If a court orders the sale of real estate in a title dispute, the proceeds of the sale will be divided according to each co-owner’s interest in the property. However, one thing to keep in mind when dividing the proceeds is that judges may consider other factors that may affect the interest ownership of the parties.  

One of the factors that may affect the division is when one co-owner made the vast majority of all mortgage payments while the property was in joint ownership. Another factor that the court may consider is the parties’ financial contributions to the property, such as improvements made to the property.  

Get Dependable Legal Action Today  

If you are involved in a title dispute where you or the other party doesn’t want to sell the property, you may need legal counsel from TdD Attorneys at Law to resolve the dispute. As real estate attorneys in St. Louis, Missouri, we will represent your best interests in and out of court and help you achieve the best possible outcome through negotiations or partitions. Call us today to discuss your options.