Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

I live in Lake Arrowhead, CA.

My name is Troy Herriman.

My ex and I bought a house together about two years ago. Both of our names are on the loan and the title. We are unmarried and have no children.

My ex put $100k cash down on the house. I have paid about $100k in payments. She wants the house but is unable to refinance the loan into her name solely and so won't be able to buy out my share. I still live at the residence with her and am still making repayments on the loan.

I have a feeling that she won't want to sell the house as she doesn't want to move. I also don't think she will want me to buy her out which I am capable of doing.

My goal is to have my name off the loan so I can move on and the only way I can see to do this fairly is for us to sell.

I would like to know what my options are and I thank you in advance for your advice.


Asked on 9/16/21, 4:02 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Haapala, Thompson & Abern, LLP

Since you are unmarried, you are basically the same as two business partners who invested in a house. This means that if you don't agree on how to deal with it, you have to file what's called a "partition" action. In the old days the court would actually divide the property. With modern subdivision and zoning laws they don't do that anymore. Instead they partition by sale. The court orders the property sold at auction, just like a foreclosure, and then the proceeds are distributed to the parties. The parties are entitled to agree on a division or if they can't agree they litigate over who is entitled to what percentage of the proceeds based on how much each contributed. You may find that does not go in your favor, since your contribution may be limited to the principle in each loan payment, not the interest. In the first two years the loan payments are almost all interest.

The big problem you both face is that you can't come off the loan unless the property is sold or she re-fi's you off the property and loan. Trying to think of something creative: would it work for you to buy her out with a lease back so she doesn't have to move? Not sure what other options there are.

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Answered on 9/19/21, 4:56 pm


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