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An inherited house may have multiple owners

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Real Estate Law

If you’re looking to purchase a house, you may assume you’re buying it from a single seller. Many couples will own homes together, so married individuals may be joint owners. But you still assume you are buying from the couple directly, so you know who holds the title.

This can sometimes become complicated if the home that you are buying was originally inherited. In some cases, the way that the home gets passed down splits ownership between multiple people. Two or more beneficiaries may all be co-owners, and this can complicate the sale process.

Tenancy in common

One way that this happens is when two people are considered tenants in common. This means they are both noted on the title and they own a share of that property. It could be an equal share, such as two people who were each given 50% of their parents’ home. But it can also be an unequal share, where one person may have a far smaller ownership percentage than the other.

But even when the ownership percentages aren’t equal, one tenant cannot claim sole ownership. They would not be able to sell the property on their own. Both people would have to work together. 

This is a rather common situation – many children inherit their parents’ homes and immediately sell them because they already have homes of their own. But it can make the situation more complicated for you if two owners aren’t in agreement and it creates significant issues with the title.

This is just one way that purchasing a home can become more complicated than you may have assumed. If it does, take the time to look into all of the legal options at your disposal.