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Richard Hellerman
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Can You Sell a House if the Other Borrower Does Not Want To?

Generally, an owner of a house in Chicago can sell it whenever they want to whomever they want. However, if the property is also owned by another person, then both owners must agree to sell. If the two owners have different opinions as to what should be done with the property, including whether to sell it, both parties will become frustrated and nothing will happen. While the situation may seem frustrating, there are options for selling a house even if the other borrower does not want to. If you are interested in selling a house if the other borrower does not want to, contact an experienced Chicago estate lawyer at Stephen Bilkis & Associates. With over 2 decades of experience representing clients in complicated estate and real estate transactions.

Force a Sale

If you want to sell your house, but the co-owner of the house does not want to, there are options for selling your interest in the house or even forcing the sale of the property. The least complicated way to sell your interest in the house when your other borrower does not want to sell is to propose that your co-owner buy your interest. Your co-owner may jump at the opportunity and buy you out. However, if they cannot afford to buy your interest or decline your offer for another reason, then you will need to consider other options.

You can look for a third party to purchase your interest in the house. This may be difficult as there typically is not much of a market for partial interests in houses in Chicago. That leaves the option of forcing a sale.

Under 735 ILCS 5/17-101, if you co-own property with another person you may maintain an action to partition the property. Partition refers to the court determining the interest of each of the co-owners. The court would then either divide the property into separate parcels or sell the property.

As an experienced Chicago estate lawyer will explain, the court will only order that the property be divided if division will not result in manifest prejudice to the owners. In other words, if the property cannot be divided fairly, the court will not allow division. For example, in Wright v. Wright, 131 Ill.App.3d 46 (3rd Dist. 1985), 13 heirs to a parcel of property sought its partition. The court determined that the property could not be equitably divided because all the sections would be too small to use effectively, and some of the parcels would be landlocked. On the other hand, if the same property was to divided between only two co-owners, the court may have concluded that division would have resulted in a fair result. The court may appoint an independent commissioner to make a decision about whether division would be appropriate.

If the court determines as in Wright v. Wright that a partition cannot be made without great prejudice to the owners, then the court will order a public sale of the property. When it comes to a house in Chicago, the court is likely to order a sale as it is typically impossible to equitably divide a house between two co-owners or among more than two co-owners. An exception might be if the house is already divided into two apartments.

Once the house is sold, the proceeds are distributed to the interested parties, less any fees. In addition, if there is a mortgage or lien, they must be satisfied from the proceeds of the sale. Note that before the sale, the court will determine the value of the house. It will not sell it for less than 2/3 of its value.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Selling a home in Chicago that has a co-owner can be complicated. If the house has a mortgage, the legal issues can be even more complicated and can minimize the amount of money your receive from a sale. It is critical that you contact an experienced estate attorney serving Chicago at Stephen Bilkis & Associates who can help ensure that your interests are protect throughout the process of selling a house if where the other borrower does not want to. Contact us at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients throughout Chicago.

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