When you buy a house with someone, you rarely, if ever, consider the possibility that someday you may part under less than ideal circumstances. But it does happen. When it does, someone's name must come off the deed.
If you want to remove a party from the deed to a house, the deed itself will need to be changed. This will require a lawyer, and depending on the other party's willingness to work with you, may also involve a court procedure.
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Offer to buy the other party out, and have him or her sign a quit claim deed. This is a legal document transferring his (the granter) share of interest in the house to you (the grantee). The form must be drawn up by an attorney, and both parties may need to sign it and have their signatures notarised. Witnesses are required in some states. The deed is then recorded in the county office that handles real estate transactions.
Request a warranty deed when buying the other party's half of the property. This form transfers the title of the property and guarantees that the granter (or seller) warrants or pledges that he is the legal owner of the property and there are no liens, encumbrances or mortgages being held against it. A warranty deed contains a description of the property being transferred and needs to be signed and witnessed according to the governing state's laws. The deed is then recorded at the county office that handles public real estate records.
File a partition lawsuit to force the sale of the property, even if the other party doesn't want to sell. A court will determine if you have a right to request your fair share of the property, if it can be divided among the disagreeing parties, or if it must be sold and the proceeds divided. It is possible for you to purchase the property outright if the sale is forced.
Tips and warnings
- A quit claim deed is the easiest way to remove someone from a deed, especially in an amicable situation.
- A warranty deed is considered to have the most protection for the buyer. A warranty deed is also a guarantee of title, which means that the seller may be held liable for damages if the buyer discovers that the title is defective.
- Even though some counties may allow you to remove a person's name from a deed with a simple form, it is always advisable to have an attorney review the paperwork. This ensures the other party has no legal standing if they attempt to sue you for any interest in the property at a later time.
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