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Dueling Sellers in a Real Estate Transaction

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Dueling Sellers

Dear Phyllis,

I have an unusual situation. My ex-finance and I co-own a duplex. We lived together in one of the units, and we currently rent the other. He has recently moved out; the wedding is cancelled. I offered to buy his ½ ownership but he won’t let me. Without even consulting me, he has instead listed the property with a Realtor® friend of his. Shouldn’t the Realtor® be someone we both agree on? Since the Realtor® is his friend, I feel like I won’t be properly represented. What do you think my options are?

Dueling Sellers

Dear Dueling Sellers,

This is certainly a sticky situation. As you equally own the property, you will need to agree to any sale. Your ex can list the property without your signature but will not be able to sell it without a court order or your signature.

Years ago I encountered a similar situation with a good friend of mine. She owned a home with her parents and her mother decided she wanted to sell. Her mother listed the home for sale without consulting her daughter (my friend).

I co-listed the home with her parent’s Realtor®. Each quarreling party then had their own representation. The daughter and parents didn’t need to speak to each other regarding offers or any other details. Instead, they spoke with their respective real estate agents. Her parent’s agent and I worked through the offers and escrow process.

This situation is obviously more work for both co-listing real estate agents who will likely split the listing side of the brokerage fee (commission). I suggest you find an experienced Realtor® who can contact your ex’s agent to determine if this scenario can work. If it doesn’t work, you might consider consulting with a real estate attorney. In either event, you might want to meet with a real estate attorney to learn how you could buy out your ex.
I wish you the best of luck.

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