Updated: February 18, 2022

Buying someone out of a house

Thinking about buying someone out of a house? There are lots of options! Find out how to buy out a partner, or anyone else, in our in-depth guide.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 18, 2022

If you’re looking into buying someone out of a home, it’s often because life has taken an unexpected turn. You may be dealing with a separation or a death in the family.

To keep any additional stress to a minimum, this guide will explain in simple and practical terms the details of mortgage buyouts and everything you need to know before undertaking one. We’ll discuss:

What is a mortgage buyout and when might you need one?

A mortgage buyout is a way of acquiring another person’s share of a property you currently own jointly. This situation usually arises because:

  • You bought a home with your spouse or partner and the marriage or relationship has since ended.
  • You inherited a home jointly with another person (perhaps a sibling) who wants to sell their share.

By buying out the other person, you can remove their name from the title deeds of the property and release them from the mortgage. You alone will be the homeowner, with sole responsibility for both the property and the mortgage repayments. Before you do this, you should consider all your options and discuss them with the other homeowner.

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Buying someone out of a house: what are the options?

Whether you own a home with your partner but you’ve reached the end of your relationship or you’re looking to buy out a sibling/family member from an inherited property, there are three options available to you:

1. Sell the property and split the proceeds

The most obvious. You can simply sell the property, repay any outstanding mortgage debt, with each of you taking your share of the proceeds once the sale is completed.

In the case of a relationship break-up, you’ll each receive a lump sum from the sale that you can use as a deposit for a new home. You might then need to apply for a single person mortgage.

2. Maintaining joint ownership of the home

If you’re on good terms with your partner and you both agree that it’s best for one of you to stay in the home (for the benefit of your children, for example), you might choose not to sell the property yet and keep your current arrangement.

The downside is that you’ll both have cash tied up in the home for now. This may also prove tricky when deciding who’s responsible for the repayments (particularly for the partner who is no longer living at the property).

If you’ve inherited a property you might choose to rent it out, splitting the costs and income. Or you might share usage of it, for instance, as a holiday home. If there is an existing mortgage on the property, you can remortgage to find a buy-to-let mortgage or second home mortgage.

3. Buying out the other person

This will allow you to remain in your home while giving your partner the cash they need to move out and live elsewhere. Alternatively, you might also plan to move out, but you’ve decided to keep the property and get a buy-to-let mortgage so you can rent it out.

For an inherited property, this works best if you want to retain ownership, but the other owner would prefer to sell it. Unless you have a lot of cash savings available, you’ll need to raise equity on the property (i.e. take out a mortgage) to buyout the other person’s share.

How to buy someone out

There are two stages to buying someone out, and we’ve broken them each down into simple steps.

Step 1. Calculating how much to pay

First, you need to agree with the other property owner (e.g. your ex-partner or sibling) how much you will pay them for their share of the property. To do this:

  1. Find out the property value. You can hire a surveyor to value the property or ask your lender to do this, for a fee.
  2. Check how much you have left to pay on the mortgage. You can ask your lender for a redemption certificate. If there is no mortgage, skip this step.
  3. Work out how much equity you each have in the property. If you each have an equal share in the property, simply subtract the remaining mortgage from the property value and divide by two.

The calculation can be more complicated, particularly if the home is just one part of a divorce settlement. In complex cases, your lawyer will usually manage this on your behalf.

Step 2. Finding a mortgage

Next, you’ll need to increase your borrowing to provide the cash you need to buy out the other property owner. To do this:

  1. Speak to a broker. While it’s possible to find a mortgage on your own, it will be easier, quicker, and more convenient to work with an expert who knows the market.
  2. Decide whether to stay with your current lender or move to a new one. Your broker will compare all your options and give you an honest opinion on which is best for you.
  3. Apply. At this stage, you’ll need to provide evidence of your income to prove to the lender you can afford the mortgage. Your broker will explain exactly what the lender’s requirements are and how you can show that you meet them.

Usually, by working with a broker, you’ll only need to do this once. If you work alone, you may need to make multiple applications before finding a lender who’ll approve your mortgage.

Challenges of buying someone out of a house

Mortgage buyouts are not necessarily complex – the process itself can be straightforward – but there are a couple of challenges that could arise.

Penalties

When exiting a mortgage to remove one partner, you may need to pay a penalty called an early repayment charge (ERC). The charge varies between lenders and is based on a percentage of the outstanding mortgage balance (usually between 1 and 5 per cent).

You’ll need to contact your lender or check your contract to find out how much you’ll pay.

Affordability

To get a new mortgage, you’ll need to prove to the lender that you can afford the repayments on your own. The amount you’ll be able to borrow could be a lot less than you’d be able to borrow with a second applicant.

Luckily, each lender takes a different view on affordability. Some will only lend four times your annual income, while others will lend up to six times. Some will only lend based on your salary from employment, but others will consider self-employed income, dividend income, benefits, or spousal maintenance payments.

Get matched with an experienced mortgage buyout broker

Finding the right broker can remove a lot of the stress, hassle, and hard work of your mortgage buyout. It’s important to choose someone with specific knowledge of your situation and which lenders will look upon you favourably.

Rather than speaking with numerous brokers and assessing their expertise yourself, you can simply use our free broker-matching service. Tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll set up a no-obligation call with someone who fits the bill.

To speak to an expert in mortgage buyouts, remortgaging after divorce, or inheritance buyouts, call us on 0808 189 0463 or apply through our website.

FAQs

Can you buy out a partner if you have a Help to Buy equity loan?

Yes, but depending on when you took out the equity loan and how much it is, you might want to consider remortgaging to pay off the equity loan as well as buying out your partner, which could save you money in the long run.

Can you buy out a partner if you have a Shared Ownership deal?

Yes, it’s possible. You may have the opportunity to increase your share in the property or become the full owner, but this will depend on your financial circumstances.

Can you get a second mortgage to buy out your partner?

Yes, you can sometimes get a second charge loan to cover your partner’s share of the equity in your home. There are strict rules around second charge loans so, again, you should speak to an expert to see if it’s appropriate for you.

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We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in Remortgages Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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