Q: What type of legal representation is needed for an inheritance buyout dispute where the home is in MD and I am in GA?
My siblings and I were willed a house. One sibling wants to keep the house and has made a buyout offer. I don't believe the buyout offer is equitable. I am seeking expertise with interpreting the appraisal to obtain a fair buyout offer. I have no idea what type of legal representation I need or in which state. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
A: This is something our Firm can help with. We are also real estate brokers with access to valuation tools. You want to avoid the cost of a partition action. Where co-owners can't agree on a sale, any one of them can run to court and compel the sale.
A: It’s been a pretty hot market this past year around here, so you’re going to want to get a fair appraisal done to at least know what the house is likely able to sell for. I think what you’re saying is that the house was already deeded by the estate to the three of you, so now you all own 1/3. If you can’t agree on a fair buyout, any one of you can petition the court and force a sale and to distribute your three equal shares. The standard way to determine a FMV buyout is: (1) get an appraisal, ideally by someone you all agree upon (a certified real estate appraiser is best, or you can agree on a real estate agent), or if you cannot agree, agree upon a method to select one (e.g., each select an appraiser, and then those appraisers agree on a third appraiser who will do it); (2) then deduct about 8% for what you’d likely pay in costs of a sale (commission, closing costs); and (3) divide by three. She owes each other owner that amount. If you put all this in a signed agreement, then you’re good to go. A lawyer can easily draft that agreement or, if she’s being unreasonable (her offer sounds grossly unreasonable) and won’t agree, then you force a sale by having a court appoint a trustee to sell it for all of you. That will net you a bit less since the trustee is paid a fee or commission. But you’d get a lot more than $25,000, assuming there’s no mortgage debt on the property.
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