I closed on a home with a co-owner in June 2018. We did not sign any pre-closing agreement determining what will happen if we split up.

We currently divide everything 50/50 including the maintenance, down payment...etc

If we decide a buy out is the best option, other than the down payment, what is he responsible for paying?

Is it possible for him just to pay me my portion of the down payment? I am willing to give up some money for the burden and unforeseen circumstances. We will take the legal route if we are not able to research solutions on our own.

The house is in Wisconsin.

  • 3
    Pretty much anything you both agree on is possible, are you looking for the easiest option for one party to give up their ownership, or the most equitable approach?
    – Hart CO
    Aug 28, 2018 at 15:35
  • @HartCO I am looking for the easiest option, the other party is looking for the most equitable if that makes sense. If he buys me out would he be hurt financially other than the money he has to pay. For instance their credit score cause I assume he will have to refinance.
    – Asia
    Aug 28, 2018 at 15:46

1 Answer 1


Is it possible for him just to pay me my portion of the down payment?

It might be possible, but might not be fair. What would be the most fair is to determine the market value of the house, subtract out the balance of any mortgage, and split the remaining equity 50/50 (or proportionally to whatever you each have paid to principal thus far). If one of you have paid more than 50% of maintenance or other costs, then you might try to get some compensation for that, but there's no law to my knowledge that would require that.

If you do not already have an agreement in place, then I would write one up to protect both of you. If you cannot reach an agreement, and end up pursuing it in the courts, then a judge is most likely going to enforce something very similar.

I am not a lawyer, but this Wisconsin statute would seem to apply (emphasis added):

700.20  Extent of undivided interests in tenancy in common. The extent of the undivided interests of tenants in common for the duration of the tenancy is determined by the intent expressed in the document of title, instrument of transfer or bill of sale; if no intent is expressed in the document, instrument or bill of sale, tenants in common are presumed to own equal undivided interests for the duration of the tenancy.

  • Thank you! Is it too late to write a "if we split this is what happens with the house agreement"?
    – Asia
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:21
  • Not at all - it doesn't even have to be "if we split". It could apply if/when you sell the house so you know how to split the proceeds. Something simple like you each own 50% of the remaining equity (or whatever you agree to). The point is that you've agreed on it and have it in writing so that the agreement is clear.
    – D Stanley
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:25
  • The trickier parts are when one person moves out and the other continues payment or both people keep living there but one stops paying, etc. You'll need both parties to agree to a sale, so an agreement should include wording that prevents one party from adversely affecting the other by refusing to sign off on sale and whatnot. Wouldn't hurt to get a lawyer to take a once over your agreement.
    – Hart CO
    Aug 28, 2018 at 16:30
  • What type of lawyer should I consult?
    – Asia
    Aug 31, 2018 at 15:29

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