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Problems Buying A Home With A Friend

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM #LAW 685

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A reader purchased a home with her boyfriend and now they no longer live together. Sam and Ilyce warn that she may have to go to court to force the sale of the home.

Q: I bought a house with my boyfriend. We are both on the mortgage and on title, but we broke up and now no longer live together.
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We had an understanding that he would refinance the house into his own name so that I would be free to buy a house of my own. That was almost two years ago and although he claims to be trying, he still has not refinanced.

Is there any legal action that I can take to either force him to go through with the refinancing or force him to sell the house?

A: You probably can’t force your ex-boyfriend to refinance the home, but you can go to court to force the sale of the home. Unfortunately, the costs involved in suing your former boyfriend would be high.

If you are on speaking terms, filing suit could splinter any good will that remains between you. But if you want to get your name off of the mortgage, you may need to go down this path. You can talk to an attorney in your area that has filed partition suits and discuss your options with her. Your threat of suit may be enough to get your ex-boyfriend to refinance the home.

On the other hand, if your ex-boyfriend’s finances are poor, he may not be able to refinance the home or may not be able to afford to refinance with only one income.

Is he still paying all the bills of the home? If he is, at least your credit has not been adversely affected. Your good credit history and score are the two most important things you have to think about right now.

If he is still paying all his bills and you are on speaking terms, you and he may be able to go to your lender to discuss whether the fact that your ex-boyfriend has been making all the payments on his own for two years is enough proof that he can afford to take on the mortgage solo.

If your current lender can’t, or won’t, assist you, and your ex-boyfriend refuses to live up to the promises he made, you will need to find an attorney who can force the sale of the property.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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