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How to buy someone out of a house: Steps & Tips

How to buy someone out of a house: Steps & Tips

Anya Gair
Last Updated 24 October 2023

How do you buy someone out of a mortgage? Read our guide to learn the steps to buying someone out of a house and getting out of a joint mortgage.

In this guide

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Luckily, you're in the right place. We can help you find all the ways to increase your affordability, so you can buy your ex out and own your home by yourself. To get started, simply create a free Tembo plan.

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Unless you’re the sole owner of a house, you might find yourself facing the prospect of buying someone out of a mortgage.

Divorce is a common trigger of mortgage buyouts. The ONS reported that 113,505 divorces were granted in 2021, a 10% increase on the year before. When a marriage or relationship breaks down, one person out of the couple splitting up usually keeps the house while the other person is bought out and takes sole responsibility for the mortgage.

What does it mean to buy someone out?

Buying someone out means giving the other owner of a property their share of the equity in the home to remove them from the mortgage. This is how you buy out an ex partner from a mortgage following divorce or separation, but friends or family who have bought together and decide to part ways some years down the line will go through the same mortgage buyout process. 

Before we explain how to buy someone out of a house, first a note of caution. Everyone who is named on the mortgage is jointly and separately liable for the payments. 

The formal term is jointly and severally, which means the same thing. If one person doesn’t pay their share, you’re both liable for the whole payment and will be chased by the lender and the credit score of all parties will be affected. That’s why it’s important to stay organised and make sure everyone knows their responsibilities.

How to calculate buying someone out of a house

If you have a joint mortgage and there’s no specific divorce settlement that dictates how equity is split, it's easy to calculate how to buy your ex partner or co-owner out of a house. Being registered as joint owners means you both wholly own the property, so they will be entitled to 50% of the equity in the property. To buy them out, you need give them their share of the equity to buy them out in cash, then remove their name from the mortgage.

If you’re registered as tenants in common, you each own a separate specified share - up to four people can be registered as owners this way. For example, two owners could have a 40% share each and the remaining two could have a 10% share each. This will be reflected in how much of the equity in the home each person owns.

How to calculate equity

To work out how much equity you have in a home, first get the property valued by a surveyor - an estate agent’s valuation is not accurate and could over inflate the property’s worth. Next, subtract the mortgage balance from the value to get your equity.

Then divide this by the number of property owners to get each person's share – unless there is a specific agreement that lays out how the equity should be split.

For example, take a couple who have a property valued at £300,000 and have a mortgage of £175,000. That gives them £125,000 of equity, which means the person being bought out of the house is entitled to £62,500.

How To Buy Your Ex Out

How to buy someone out of a house

To buy someone out of a house, you take over their share of the mortgage and the property in exchange for the equity you’ve agreed. The legal process is called a transfer of equity. Once the transfer of equity is complete, their name is removed from the title deeds to the property, making you the sole owner of the home and solely responsible for the mortgage. But first the mortgage lender must agree to the transfer of equity.

Unless you have thousands of pounds in savings lying around, you’ll have to borrow the money to buy out your ex from a house. There’s a few ways to go about this. You can apply for a higher mortgage with your existing lender if your mortgage deal has expired.

If you’re tied into a mortgage deal, you can ask your lender for a further advance. This is a top up mortgage allowing you to avoid early repayment charges. However, if you’re not changing any other terms of your mortgage, for example the balance or term, you’re unlikely to pay an early repayment charge to carry out a transfer of equity mid-way through your mortgage deal.

If you’re staying with the same lender, you’ll need a letter of consent from them saying that they agree to the buyout. The lender will then run a credit check on you and calculate if your sole salary is enough to support the mortgage payments. Once you’ve proved you can afford the mortgage by yourself, the lender will agree to the transfer of equity.

You can also choose to remortgage away from your old lender to a new one as a single borrower. If you want to go down this route, we can help. To find out more, create a free Tembo plan today, or have a go on our Mortgage Calculator to see what you could afford.

If the new lender is satisfied you can afford the mortgage by yourself, you’ll receive a mortgage offer which lays out the details of your new loan. When your remortgage completes, your new lender will transfer enough money to your previous lender to repay your old mortgage. This releases your former partner from the debt, and the solicitor can then take them off the property title deeds. 

For both staying with the same lender and switching to a new one, you must prove you can afford the higher loan amount by yourself.


Top Tip

If you cannot afford a mortgage on your own, talk to a specialist mortgage broker like Tembo. They will be able to help you discover ways to increase how much you can borrow that you might not have thought of, including family support options and specialist lending schemes.

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How long does it take to buy someone out of a house?

If the equity split is amicable, buying someone out of a house and mortgage can take between 4 and 6 weeks. But if there are disagreements between how the equity is split, or you are struggling to find a mortgage lender who will lend to you by yourself, this can make the process take longer.

If you are struggling to find a way to afford the mortgage by yourself, talk to Tembo. We're experts at helping home buyers and movers increase how much they can borrow through a range of specialist schemes.

What if I can't afford to buy out my ex partner?

If you are unable to afford this higher loan amount by yourself, you could consider an Income Boost remortgage. This is a way to increase the amount you could borrow by adding a family member or friend’s income onto the mortgage application (and they won’t be on the deeds to the property).

If you are turned down, you may be eligible for a second charge mortgage, also known as a secured loan. These are specialist loans, so ask a mortgage broker for help.

Alternatively, a family member may want to gift you the money. They can use their own savings to give to you in a lump sum, or place them in a special savings account to be used as security by the lender. This is called a springboard mortgage, or Family Guarantor mortgage, which normally works by your loved one placing 10% of the property price in a savings account. After a certain amount of time, they will get their money back plus interest, as long as you keep up with the mortgage repayments each month.

Another way for a loved one to help is to release equity from their own home using later life mortgage option. For example, a Deposit Boost is a way for a family member to unlock some money from their property using a remortgage. This can then be gifted to the person trying to buy their ex-partner out of a house.

If you don't have any friends or family who can support, don't lose heart. There are options out there for those with no family support. One option is to use a private equity loan to get a second charge mortgage against the home. The lender will provide you with the additional capital you need to afford the home on your own by increasing your down payment, in return for a share of the property.

If you work in a professional field, the NHS or another key worker role, you could also be eligible for a mortgage worth up to 5 to 6 times your salary with a Professional Mortgage or NHS or Key Worker Mortgage.

If you need help working out the best option for you, we can help. Our smart technology will work out the best option for you based on your individual affordability. To start, simply create a free Tembo plan. After that, your dedicated advisor from our expert mortgage team can walk you through the options and next steps.

Read next: Shared Ownership vs Equity Loan: What's right for you?

Does my ex have to pay half the mortgage?

If you don't buy out your ex partner after a divorce or separation and their name remains on the mortgage, then they will need to keep paying the mortgage. You are both equally responsible for the monthly repayments, so even if your ex has moved out they are still legally liable for the mortgage debt as long as their name remains on the mortgage, even if the loan was only based on one person's income.

If you or your ex fails to repay their share of the mortgage, this can lead to you being chased by your mortgage lender to repay the debt and could negatively impact your credit scores, making it harder borrow money in the future.

It's often simpler to buy out your ex from the house and take them off the mortgage completely.

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We help buyers, movers and homeowners discover how they could boost their affordability in 3 simple steps. It’s why we’re the UK’s Best Mortgage Broker.


What fees will I pay to buy someone out of a mortgage?

You’ll need to pay legal fees of between £250 to £500 for the transfer of equity. You must pay a fee to the Land Registry to process the deed of transfer which starts from around £50. A valuation, mortgage broker and lender fee may also be payable. 

How to take over the mortgage after a divorce

Taking over sole responsibility for the mortgage after a divorce can be daunting. It’s no wonder so many homeowners use the internet search phrase ‘mortgage after divorce uk’ looking for help.

If you’re not able to pass a lender’s affordability assessment on your own, there are ways you can boost how much you can borrow through a range of family guarantor mortgages or specialist lending schemes.

To find the most suitable mortgage solution for your needs, it’s best to enlist the help of a mortgage professional. Our award-winning team of mortgage experts are specialists when it comes to helping people to boost their borrowing power. All you have to do is create a plan here to get started on your application.

We've helped thousands discover their max borrowing potential

Working with over 100 mortgage lenders, we specialist in helping people boost their mortgage affordability through a range of specialist schemes. If you need help working out how you can afford your home on your own after a divorce or separation, you're in the right place. To get started, create a free plan.

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