Can Realtors assist their clients in selling a co-owned property?
As a Realtor, you may have come across situations in which a disagreeable co-owner disrupts an otherwise easy sale. Your client may have his or her heart set on selling the home but is unable to do so without the signature of the uncooperative co-owner. Or, perhaps one co-owner wants more of the proceeds than the other co-owner is willing to agree upon. In other situations, one co-owner claims they will never agree to a sale unless the Realtor can obtain an unreasonably high price for the property that no buyer will pay. Either way, when one co-owner decides to sell the property but the other co-owner refuses, this creates complications for Realtors. How can a Realtor assist a client whose co-owner refuses to sell a home?
The answer lies in the judicial system. A partition action allows a judge to sign in place of all co-owners, which includes the belligerent co-owner, thereby forcing the sale of the property.
Your co-owner client might be asking whether the court is likely to grant the partition. As the leading treatise on California real estate law, Miller & Starr, explains under the heading “Absolute right to partition,” “each cotenant has an ‘absolute’ right to partition the common property.” Right of partition—In general, 4 Cal. Real Est. § 11:14 (4th ed.). One court explained that “if the party seeking partition is shown to be a tenant in common, and as such entitled to the possession of the land sought to be partitioned, the right is absolute.” Bacon v. Wahrhaftig (1950) 97 Cal.App. 2d 599, 603.
Steps to selling jointly owned property in California
If you are looking to assist your client in selling co-owned property, there are 3 major steps to take in the process:
- Set up a conference call between your co-owner client and Talkov Law, where the focus of our practice is California partition law
- Talkov Law will draft and file the partition action complaint, record a lis pendens, and thus initiate the partition lawsuit
- Talkov Law will appoint a partition referee who will then appoint a Realtor to sell the property
How does a partition referee appoint a California real estate agent?
The referee will draft a referee’s report that usually recommends the property be sold at public auction. Then, a Realtor will be hired to market and sell a property through all of the typical channels. Often times, the Realtor can work with the plaintiff’s attorney to hire a partition referee who will in turn strongly consider the Realtor who is already familiar with the property as the listing agent. Sometimes, the Realtor can even be appointed as the referee and listing agent.