Try to buy out sister's share of inherited house

Posted: July 12, 2012

DEAR HARRY: My sister and I just inherited a home from our uncle. The house is in a very stable area, but the maintenance has been neglected for a long time. When I examined the house, I also discovered some substantial cracks in the foundation wall in the basement. I want to borrow money on a home-equity loan to do the repairs, and then either sell the house or buy out my sister's interest. She will not sign for the loan. She wants to sell it now, as is. I paid for an appraiser to give us an evaluation for what it's worth now and what it would be after the repairs. The value after the repairs will be about $40,000 more with the repairs costing less than $25,000. My sister won't budge on her objections to the loan, and she won't sell her share to me for the appraiser's price. What can I do?

What Harry says: If you cannot persuade her to sell her share to you at the appraised value, you can agree to put it on the market. You then have the opportunity to buy out her share at the best price offered. Before then, you can point out, in a last-ditch effort to get her to go along with the appraiser's value and sell it to you, that sale to an outsider will cost a hefty commission. I don't know why she's doing this, but you seem to have no other choice. Good luck!

Email Harry Gross at harrygross@phillynews.com or write to him at Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, PO Box 8263 Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood — contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.

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