by Gary Singer
Q: I own a property with my three brothers. I want to sell my share of the property, but they are not interested. I read your article about suing them to get them to sell, but I do not want to do that to them. Instead, can I sell my portion of the property without their permission?
A: Yes, unless you are otherwise restricted. Your
right to sell what you own, both real estate and personal property, is very strong, subject to only necessary restrictions. For example, if you previously agreed not to sell the property, such as in a deed or written agreement, or if it is something that is against the public interest to sell, such as human organs, you will not be able to sell.
Other than these certain exceptions, almost all private property can be sold. If the property is in a community association, you might have to get your buyer approved. Again, this is because you agreed to that restriction when you bought a property in a planned development.
In your case, you would be selling your quarter interest of the entire property, not a corner of the land. This means that the person you sold your interest to would be a co-owner with your three brothers. This would not be attractive to most buyers, making your share very difficult to sell. It will also not be appealing to your siblings. For this reason, I recommend some sort of co-ownership agreement be signed when you buy property with other people who you are not married to. Parents giving the property to their children to own together should think about this too. They can put certain restrictions on the property to avoid this sort of issue via a trust agreement, or by correctly listing the restrictions directly on the deed. However, since the right to sell your interest in property is such a fundamental right, any restrictions must be balanced and fair or will not be enforceable.
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