Q: My ex-girlfriend and I own a house together. She lives there I do not. The mortgage is only my name.
My question can I have her buy me out so I no longer have any financial obligation. What is the best method for this? My thought was to get the house appraised then sell it to her. She would get a discount since half the equity is hers. So I would sell the house to her for (current balance) + (my half of the equity) = sale price. Does that make sense? I assume she would have to get her own loan correct? This seems to be the best method.
A: You can transfer the house to her and she would need to refinance the house in her name alone. You should consult with a real estate lawyer to handle the transaction.
A: This happens in divorces all the time, with one spouse buying the other out by refinancing the property in their own name for enough money to both pay off the existing mortgage and pay the buyout amount to the other spouse. Typically you would enter into a written agreement regarding the transfer/buyout of the property, and give the party who is buying the property some set time fame to complete the purchase/refinance. In the meantime, the parties include terms for who gets to live in the property or have use and access to it, who is responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs, etc., and what remedies are available in the event either party fails to do what they agree to do (e.g., to go through with the buyout by the time agreed to). Generally, there is a provision to sell the property in the event the purchasing party fails or is unable to qualify to go through with the purchase, together with the process of how to accomplish that. Such an agreement is enforceable in court. What you do NOT do is transfer the deed out of your name until the mortgage is paid off and out of your name. The only way you can force the sale of the property is if your name remains on the title. The written agreement will contain escrow provisions regarding the closing so that any deed you sign to transfer title in the property is held in escrow by the title/closing company until the existing mortgage is paid off and released, and not recorded until that happens. I would recommend reaching out to an attorney experienced in drafting such agreements, and that generally would include most attorneys who handle divorces.
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