Q: I love reading your real estate advice on investment properties and have a question.
I’m one of 12 family members that own a large piece of land with one rental house on it. The property was inherited some time ago and I’m ready to sell my share of it, but the other family members are not willing put it on the market and don’t have money to buy my 1/12 interest.
Is there someway I can get out of the property? Can the others be forced to sell the property or would a lawsuit need to be filed to get them moving on it? Thank you.
A: You don’t really want to bring a partition lawsuit against your entire family. That would be time-consuming and emotionally messy and unless the property is worth millions, you may spend more than your one-twelfth share is worth.
(And, can you just imagine the talk around the Thanksgiving table?)
If none of the other family members has the cash to buy you out, and you don’t want to sue them, you’re probably stuck with this property –; for now.
Unfortunately, your situation is a great example of what not to do when leaving property to heirs. It’s difficult to have a dozen people inherit a single piece of property, unless it is an extremely valuable property that generates significant revenue.
It’s tough enough to get two people to agree on a financial course of action, but getting a dozen people to come to a meeting of the minds is next to impossible. There are always one or two people who either want to keep a property when everyone else wants to sell, or wants to sell when everyone else wants to hold steady.
The owner of this particular property should have directed his or her estate to sell it and then divide the proceeds. At that point, with the property officially up for sale, anyone (or even a couple of anyones) could have stepped up and purchased the property.
It’s far better to choose to purchase something than to force others to sell.
I can’t think of a good solution for you, but if any of my readers have a suggestion, I’ll publish it here and online at my forum at www.thinkglink.com/forum.