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Homeowners in New Jersey should keep certain considerations in mind when selling a jointly owned house in this state.

In many cases, real estate is usually owned by multiple individuals. This usually occurs in some cases through inheritance. Whatever the reason, our New Jersey real estate attorney is ready to help.



Selling A New Jersey Jointly Owned House In 2024

New Jersey offers an equitable remedy for joint tenants, this is called an “action for partition.” Partition is a legal action that allows the division of real estate belonging to two or more individuals.

  • Frequently, the real estate of joint owners and tenants in common can divide their real estate. 
  • However, this is not available to spouses as tenants by the entirety or by NJ registered domestic partners.
  • This process is governed by NJSA § 2A:56-2. If one or more of your joint owners are unwilling to sell the home, partitioning is the only way to separate the real estate or ownership interest. 
  • Partition requires filing of a lawsuit in the Superior Court of New Jersey, which is filed in the county where the property is located.

The latter can be found in New Jersey court rule 4:3: Divisions; Venue; Transfer of Actions.

landlord tenant lawyer nj

At our firm, we also have a landlord tenant lawyer in NJ ready to help individuals with these matters.

What Is A Partition Action When Selling A Jointly Owned House?

A partition action is a legal proceeding where the court divides a home between the joint owners or sells the home and divides the money from the sale among the joint owners. 

  • The term “partition” simply means the division of property. 
  • In most cases, no owner wants to divide their property. Therefore, this process can be an efficient route in some cases.
  • If the court is unable to divide the property itself, then it will be sold at court auction.
  • An example of these cases is that if each individual owns half of the property, each of them will receive 50% of the money from the sale of the house.

In the course of this process, any of the co-owners can exercise their right to purchase the rest of the co-owners according to the value of the home appraisal in New Jersey

Judicial auctions are often present in a foreclosure. Our expert is also a NJ foreclosure lawyers. Also, we invite you to learn the right way on how to purchase a foreclosed home in NJ.

What If I Don’t Reside In The Same County Where My Property is located?

Partition issues are often brought up at a hearing in the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court. This will be in the same county where the family resides.

Therefore, if a property is located in another county, the priority of the matter will be the hearing in the court where the family resides.

Who Can File For A Partition Action In New Jersey?

Any individual who is a joint owner of a home may request a property partition. However, to do so, the co-owner must not:

  1. Have previously relinquished their right to the property, or 
  2. Is forbidden from making a partition by contract. 

In the latter scenario it may still be possible to file a partition action. To do this, you must speak with our attorney Carolina T. Curbelo

Can A Partition Action Be Stopped?

Initially, you cannot stop a partition action. This is because each co-owner has the absolute right of partition. However, in some cases, it is possible to stop the partition on a voluntary basis.

  • If this is done, it must be through negotiation or through the purchase of the co-owner’s interest. 
  • Additionally, there are some limited exceptions when the co-owners are ex-spouses or spouses.
  • In some states, family law and divorce affect the ability of spouses to divide their property. Therefore, it is important to consult with our lawyer to determine your specific case. 
couple selling joint owned house in new jersey

Can A Person Sell A House With Two Names On The Title?

Individuals can sell their interest in a property with two names on the title. However, they cannot sell the clean title to the house. This means that one individual cannot sell the interest of the other individual. 

  • Generally, if an owner wants to sell their property, both parties must agree for the sale to take place. If this occurs, it will not be necessary to involve the courts. 
  • In addition, New Jersey property law allows for the partitioning of property. This is usually present when there is inheritance, where parents legalize their children through wills in equal parts to the property.
  • Through inheritance, title to property in real estate can be transferred to children.

You can learn more about this in our NJ property deed blog. Similarly, you may also be interested in obtaining title insurance in New Jersey.

Can I Sell My Share Of A Jointly Owned Home?

Joint owners can sell part of their home or transfer their interest, break joint ownership, and terminate their “right of survivorship.” The individual to whom the interest was transferred becomes a tenant in common with the remaining co-owner.

This can be seen in the case Gauger v. Gauger. Additionally, in accordance with NJSA 4 6 :3-17 , both parties must express their intent to create a joint tenancy in writing.

What Is Joint Tenancy?

Joint tenancy is a form of co-ownership reflected by the right of survivorship. The property rights of a deceased co-owner are transferred to the surviving co-owners automatically. 

Can The House Be Sold Without The Consent Of The Co-Owner?

In the event that a property partition is not feasible, then it is possible to resort to the forced sale of real property in New Jersey. This means that one of the owners can force the sale of the joint property in a lawsuit.

selling a multi owner home

What Is A Forced Sale Of A Property?

A forced sale is a legal process by which a joint owner of a home can effect a sale that has been ordered by the court. The sale will be produced under judicial supervision and concludes with the division of the property or the sale of the same.

A lawsuit only needs to be filed as a last resort. This means that all possible routes must be evaluated first before arriving at this scenario. In addition, it is possible to achieve a forced sale out of court, to do this:

  • Negotiate with the other owner.
  • Convince all the co-owners to sell the property.
  • Explain why and how the other joint owners will be harmed if they end up going to court.
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the other co-owner. It is important to know what you want and why you want it.
  • Ignore any emotional frustration and focus solely on the motivations.
  • Explain how a voluntary sale would avoid the painful process of litigation.

In the event you do have to appear in court for litigation reasons, our experts is also a well versed real estate litigation attorney in New Jersey.

How Is A Co-Owned Property Sold?

Next, we will show the steps to follow for selling a jointly owned house:

1. Check The Property Deed

The first step is to check the title deed to find out how the title to the property is maintained. If they are co-owners, they each own an equal share of the home. As a result, both owners have to consent to the sale.

Tenants in common share separate interests in the dwelling. As a result, each tenant can give away or sell their corresponding part. 

An owner can also buy the common part that the other tenant has. This allows to simplify the procedures. 

2. Agree On A Price With The Other Co-Owner

In order to estimate the home’s value, the home must be compared to comparable homes throughout the neighborhood. Although this process can be complex, a real estate expert can help tenants determine the best listing price. 

3. Advertise The Property

To advertise the property for sale, a real estate expert must be hired to assist the tenant in this regard. 

Lawyers or real estate agents use the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to locate homes for their clients. In addition, a lawyer allows you to sign the listing contract together with the owner.

4. Review The Offers With The Co-Owner

It is important that you both agree on an acceptable offer to continue with the sales process. To know more about this, you can have more information on selling a house in New Jersey.

5. Sign The Sales Contract

A buyer’s offer becomes a legally binding contract when the tenant accepts it. 

6. Attend Closing Day

Co-owners must attend closing day together. To finalize this sale, both owners have to sign all the documents and the grant deed.

Different Forms Of Residential Property In New Jersey

In New Jersey, prospective property buyers will have a wide variety of forms of housing options. These are:

patition action when selling joint owned house

tenancy by the entirety

A tenancy by the entirety is the tenancy held by married couples in their joint acquisition of title to property after marriage. 

This ownership method transfers title to the married couple as one individual. As a result, on the first death, the title is transferred to the other individual in its entirety.

Joint Tenancy

Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship gives two or more individuals an equal or undivided right to own real property. This is usually common when individuals are not married. 

joint tenancy

Joint tenancy gives two or more individuals an undivided fractional housing interest in the real property. Each joint owner has an equal right to own all the assets, but they do not have a right of survivorship. 

Individuals who own real estate as tenants in common may have unequal interests. In addition, the interest percentage of each individual co-owner will be determined by certain lease terms. 

Should I Sell A Jointly Owned Home On My Own Or With The Help Of A Lawyer?

Whatever the situation, it is always best to consult with a real estate attorney. Our lawyer has extensive experience of more than 10 years dealing with these matters. As a result, she will indicate the best possible paths to achieve your goals.

  • Although both options can be effective, with the help of an attorney, the possibility of costly mistakes can be mitigated. 
  • That being said, some scenarios can be quite complex to deal with on your own, so having a good lawyer will help you understand them better. 
  • Our experienced real estate attorney will be able to help you navigate all the fundamentals of selling a jointly owned house.

Call us today, send us an E-mail explaining your situation or if you prefer, schedule an appointment with our office located in Ridgewood, New Jersey in advance.