If a newly married couple buys a property, the question of who is to be entered in the land register may appear to be completely irrelevant. But at the latest in the case of a divorce this entry becomes important. Lawyers generally recommend that both partners register as owners. But even in the case of joint registration, there are some things to consider so that the purchase of a house does not have devastating consequences.
Anyone who does not act prudently and with foresight when it comes to land registration can end up with nasty surprises. To illustrate this, we assume the following scenario: A young couple, recently married, decides to complete their happiness together by buying a house. The wife has just inherited a considerable sum from her grandparents, with which the home is largely financed. Her husband only makes a small contribution. Nevertheless, the two decide to be registered as owners in the land register in equal parts. At this point they vehemently rule out that they will ever divorce.
Twelve years later, however, the then unimaginable reality has become reality: The divorce is imminent. The wife intends to stay in the house together with her daughter and to take over the house. For this reason, her ex-partner is to be removed from the land register as the owner. But now the day of the land register entry catches up the wife, because although she paid clearly more with the purchase of the real estate, her still husband is entitled now 50 per cent of the house value.
To all abundance the appraiser, whom both assigned for the purpose of the determination of the current real estate value, determines then still that the value rose meanwhile. The value adjustment, which the woman must pay to her ex-partner, is accordingly high. At the latest now the wife regrets not having insisted on different ownership conditions when buying a house.
Since the pair did not lock like most married couples in Germany a marriage contract, the wife would have no advantages, if she could have been registered as a sole owner. The marriage as a joint gain would nevertheless have had the consequence that the wife would have had to pay her ex-partner a fifty per cent gain equalisation. A 2/3 land register entry would have been most favourable for her, as the shares actually paid would have been taken into account.
Because the wife must disburse her still-husband now however a so high sum, she cannot afford the maintenance costs for the house. A division of the real estate into two independent housing units, of which each retains one, is ruled out by the cut of the house as an alternative solution. The ex-partners also want to refrain from letting the property in order to avoid further disputes. Ultimately, the only option is to sell the house.
The real estate agent they hire quickly finds a suitable buyer and even manages to negotiate a price that is even higher than the appraiser’s estimate. The profit is divided between the two ex-partners. They draw up a sales contract with the new owner, which they notarize. Finally, when the land register is changed, they are registered as owners. The new buyer, a single mother of two almost adult children, is entered in the land register alone and does not have to fear losing the house in the event of a divorce.
You are not sure whether selling a house after the separation is the best solution for you? We will be happy to advise you on your options.
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