A man buying out the property of a joint owner. SAM Conveyancing describe how to buy someone out of a house
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How to buy someone out of a house

(Last Updated: 18/12/2023)
7 min read
Houses are expensive and most of us buy property with at least one other person, whether that is our partner, friend or a family member. Sometimes, your situation may change and one of the owners will want to take over full ownership of the property, or get their money out of the property.

What does it mean to buy someone out?

You pay the other owner for their share of the equity in the property and remove them from the title. If you have a mortgage, they come off the mortgage too, so they just take their share of however much of the house has already been paid off, and you own the house and are liable for the mortgage. This can become complicated as the person(s) who is keeping the property and buying the other owner out will need to meet the lender's affordability checks for the full value of the mortgage, on their income alone. We'll come to that later.

Are you looking to buy out the remaining share of a shared ownership property?

This article is about buying out a joint owner when you own the property together. If you own a share in your home through a shared ownership scheme and want to purchase some or all of the remaining shares from the housing association, read our article on staircasing.

How do I buy my partner out of our house?

The process for buying out jointly owned property is called a transfer of equity. It is where joint owners agree to not sell the property but instead agree on an amount to be paid, for a joint owner to give up their beneficial interest in the property (the equity/money).

Often, the challenge is working out how to split ownership of a house, if you didn't draft a deed of trust when you purchased the property. We will explain how to buy a joint owner out, the costs involved and how to calculate buying someone out of a house.

How to calculate buying someone out of a house

    1 Agree on the value you are paying to buy the other party out
This will depend on what percentage share you each have. If you can agree, this is simply a case of working out the value of the equity belonging to each party, but many homeowners get stuck on step one, as they fall out over what share they are entitled to.

If you're joint tenants, the split is 50/50. However, if you're married or civil partners and you're getting a divorce or dissolution, this split could be overruled by the family court. If you're tenants in common, you should have a specified share. Controversially, someone who has been living in your house and contributing to the household may be entitled to a share through something called constructive trust.

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  • What are you due on sale?
  • How to sell where one person doesn't
  • Mediation and Settlement Agreements
  • Applications to court, including Declaratory Orders, Regulatory Orders, Occupational Rent

    2 (if required) Get your current lender's consent to the change or get a new mortgage offer

    3 (if leasehold) Obtain freeholder consent and service charge/ground rent accounts

    4 Transferrer/s and transferee/s sign TR1 Form in front of witnesses

    5 Complete an ID1 Form if party being removed is unrepresented, however if a solicitor is acting for the owner being removed, then they will give independent legal advice.

    6 Completion takes place where money is transferred to the leaving owner's solicitor and the Land Registry title is updated with the new owners and (if applicable) mortgage details.

What can I do if I can't afford to buy out partner?

There are several ways to finance buying your partner out of their share in the property without needing to sell. These are:
  • Remortgage. You could use your existing equity in the property to buy out the joint owner. This requires you to be able to afford the new mortgage, based on the equity in the property and your income affordability. You can speak to our panel Mortgage Broker if you need help.
  • Joint Borrower Sole Proprietor Mortgage. This is a specific mortgage product that allows family or friends to use their income to support you in getting a larger mortgage than you can on your own, but they won't be legal owners. They are just jointly named on the mortgage.
  • Add someone onto the legal title. You could add a new partner, friend or family member onto the mortgage and legal title to increase your mortgage affordability. In such cases, a deed of trust is best drafted, to manage future occasions where you need to buy out a joint owner.
  • Gift from family. You may have a family member who is prepared to gift money to you, to buy out the other owner.
  • Loan. A loan could be from friends or family and the Loan Agreement could be registered at the Land Registry as security against your property.

If you cannot afford to buy out a joint owner, then you can look to sell and split the equity left after any remaining mortgage and fees are paid from the proceeds. If you can't all agree to sell, then you will need to force the sale. Forcing a sale is stressful, expensive and time-consuming. It can prove especially difficult to force a sale if children are living in the property. If the property was intended as a family home, you may not be able to get a court order to force a sale until the youngest reaches 18 years of age.

How long does it take to buy someone out of a house?

It can take just 4 to 6 weeks to buy someone out of a house if the decision is amicable. If you don't agree on how much of the equity in the property belongs to you, the process will take longer, while the correct split is settled. This may be done in a single mediation session, but in some complex cases, the dispute may have to go through litigation and even to court. If you have to wait for a divorce settlement, for example, the process could take 2 years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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