Inheriting a House With Siblings: Everything You Need to Know

By Tom Burchnell
inheriting a house with siblings

From your first day of preschool to your wedding day, your siblings have been by your side for all of life’s big moments. Now, you must undertake one of the most complex decisions of your lives: inheriting a house with siblings.

While these conversations are rarely easy, we’ll give you all the information you need to make the process as stress-free as possible. 

That way, you can get back to what matters most: kicking back with your siblings while discussing the exciting opportunities ahead like a home buy back program.

Schedule a Family Meeting

Before initiating buyouts, dividing profits, or discussing shared ownership structures, it’s important to hold a family meeting to make sure everyone sees eye-to-eye after inheriting a house with siblings. After all, your parents did always want you to handle scuffles by talking through them.

Some important inheritance discussions to have during your family meeting include:

  • Whether to own or sell the property
  • Each sibling’s role in the ownership process
  • How to navigate inheritance tax
  • Whether to start buyout proceedings

Of course, these are just a few important discussions to have. Your conversations may be more or less extensive depending on the number of siblings as well as the property’s location and characteristics.

Once you and your siblings have agreed on a few key points, it’s time to dive into potential inheritance scenarios.

#1 Shared Ownership

If your lakehouse, cabin, or family home is just too full of memories (or value) to sell, it may be wise to share ownership of the property. That way you and your siblings can keep on enjoying the house you’re inheriting—and eventually pass it on to the next generation.

That said, sharing ownership is predicated on several factors including:

  • Ownership percentage – Shared ownership works best if all siblings own an equal share of the property. If the will stipulates that one sibling or family member has greater control over the property than the other siblings, shared ownership may not work.
  • Cooperation – Sharing ownership of an inherited home or real estate involves equal involvement in taking care of the property. If one sibling or beneficiary lives far away or doesn’t want much to do with property management, shared ownership may not be the best move.

Plan of Action

If you and your siblings decide on shared ownership after inheriting the house, a detailed partnership contract is the best way to ensure the success of this arrangement.

Your contract should include the following:

  • When each beneficiary or family member can use the property
  • How to share maintenance expenses
  • Whether you’re going to rent the property
  • Whether you need to hire a property manager

Putting everything in writing is the best way for all parties to enjoy the perks of shared ownership.

#2 Selling and Dividing Profits

Wondering if you should sell the inherited house? Sometimes siblings agree that it’s better to sell a house after inheriting it and reminisce fondly than to keep the property and regret the expenses.

If you and your siblings agree to sell, it’s important to take note of the local housing market. 

If the real estate is located in a seller’s market, it may be advantageous to list the inherited home right away. If the property is in a buyer’s market, however, it may be better to wait for the right opportunity to sell.

Either way, you’ll need to take the following factors into account:

  • The house’s available equity
  • First refusal rights
  • How you’ll put the house on the market

Plan of Action

If you and your siblings choose this scenario, you should first agree on an appraiser. 

After getting the house professionally appraised, you’ll need to list the house and discuss the best strategies for selling. You’ll also need to discuss divvying up real estate fees, closing costs, and other expenses.

You should also consider alternative options that convert your equity into cash.  Flexible options can provide the money you need to continue making memories in your beloved property.

#3 Initiating a Buyout

Inheriting a house with siblings is a relatively straightforward process if you agree on shared ownership or selling and dividing the profits evenly.

However, inheriting real estate with multiple siblings gets a tad more complicated if one or more wants to sell the house while the other sibling(s) wants to retain ownership.

If this situation arises, a buyout may be the best course of action. In this scenario, one or more siblings relieve the disinterested sibling of ownership by “buying out” the sibling’s share of the house you’re inheriting or rental property.

Plan of Action

To initiate a buyout after inheriting a house with siblings, you’ll first need to decide how you’ll buy the sibling’s share. Will you use personal funds or take out a home equity loan?

After procuring the necessary funds, you’ll need to devise a contract in which you state the specific structure of the buyout while taking legal considerations into account, whether you inherited a house with no mortgage or with a mortgage. This can include estate tax, partition action, and property tax reassessment if needed. So, be sure to seek legal advice and talk to the real estate agent about this as well and the specifics of what happens if you inherit a house with a mortgage.

Deciding on an Option: Key Considerations

It’s important to remember there’s not a “one-size-fits-all” model when it comes to inheriting a house with siblings and splitting it evenly.

To decide the best option for you and your family, take the following into account:

  • The property’s characteristics
  • The property’s location
  • Each sibling’s wishes
  • The available equity 
  • The home’s sentimental value
  • Necessary renovations and maintenance expenses
  • The nearby housing market

Once you’ve weighed these factors, you and your siblings can make decisions that will minimize headaches and maximize happiness.

Inheritance Made Easy With a Sale-Leaseback

When it comes to inheriting a house with siblings, the options can be overwhelming. From sharing ownership to initiating a buyout, the possibilities can make you long for the days when the biggest sibling decisions involved playing video games.

Fortunately, a sale-leaseback could make your decisions a heck of a lot easier.

Through a sale-leaseback solution, you can convert your equity to cash and stay in the home as a renter. That way you and your siblings can enjoy each other’s company in the home you cherished.

Key Takeaways

If you have found yourself inheriting a house with siblings, there are a lot of factors and options to consider. It may be an emotional time and this may just be more added stress. Talk to an expert on what next steps might work best for you and your family.


  1. CityNationalBank Insights. How to Manage an Inherited Property with Your Siblings and Minimize Conflict.
Life Event
Real Estate
Tom Burchnell
Written by Tom Burchnell
Director of Product Marketing

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