How to sell a house inherited by several siblings in Spain?


An inherited house is a matter of concern because of the amount of paperwork involved. For this reason, it is often a problem in families, especially between siblings.

In the following article we will see what is the procedure to follow to carry out the procedure and how it can be done in the best possible way.

Inheritance between siblings

It is very common that, when there are several heirs to an inheritance, we find that some of them do not pay for the expenses involved in the property and, then, there will be a moment when the rest of the family will consider how to sell a house inherited by several siblings, especially when there are community fees, utilities, insurance, building works, taxes, etc. to be paid.

We must start from the fact that it is not possible to force the sale of part of an inheritance, what we have to do is to request the division of the inheritance in court.

Thus, it is normal to find ourselves in this situation, when there is a house inherited by several siblings, and if a lawsuit is filed between the siblings, the family relationship will deteriorate even more than what is normal in these cases.

For this reason, if a sibling refuses to sell, legally what is usually done is to initiate legal proceedings to carry out a public auction of the house inherited by several siblings.

What happens if a sibling does not want to sell the inherited house?

It must be taken into account that selling the shared inheritance by means of a judicial procedure of sale at public auction, entails some economic costs that must be analysed before facing it; as the intervention of a lawyer and solicitor is necessary and, in addition, the intervention of a judicial expert, appointed by the Court, who will carry out the valuation of the inherited house among several siblings; without overlooking that the heirs may disagree with this valuation and may decide to challenge it.

Therefore, if the judicial valuation has to be challenged in order to sell part of an inheritance, the heirs will be faced with another added expense, that of their own expert valuer.

For this reason, it is normal that when the heirs decide to bring this legal procedure to sell the inheritance of a house between siblings, several siblings usually join together in order to share the costs involved.

Once the price of the house inherited by several siblings has been fixed, the court clerk sets the date and time for the public auction to be held. Any third party may bid for the property, as well as the heirs who were forced to bring the legal proceedings.

The only one who will not be able to ‘bid’ in the auction will be the heir who refused to sell the inherited house among several siblings, who is called the ‘dissenter’.

This being the case, the house inherited between several siblings will be awarded to the ‘highest bidder’ among the participants in the public auction, and the ‘auction price’, i.e. the money obtained minus legal costs, will be given to the heirs.

For this reason, experience suggests that in the case of a house inherited by several siblings, if one heir refuses to sell, it is best to try to reach an agreement between them, even proposing that the heirs who are interested in the inherited property buy their share without the need to initiate legal proceedings to sell the shared inheritance; this will save costs and further deteriorate the family relationship, which is usually very damaged in these cases.

Steps to sell an inherited house

In order to sell an inherited property, you must first accept the inheritance. Once the property is in your name, you can start the procedures to sell it. However, the problem arises when there is more than one heir.

In order for the inheritance to be accepted, you must present the death certificate, the certificate of last will and testament, if there is one.

If one of the heirs does not wish to accept the inheritance:

  • If there is a will: an inventory will be made of the deceased's assets as well as his or her rights, debts and obligations. Subsequently, a partition of the inheritance will be drawn up, in which the inheritance will be divided among the heirs.
  • If there is no will: the notary will determine how the inheritance is to be divided among the legal heirs. Afterwards, the deed of declaration of heirs and the division of the inheritance will be drawn up. As in the previous case, it is the notary who divides the assets and debts of the deceased and the estate.

Inheritance taxes

When we accept an inheritance we have to pay a series of taxes:

  • Inheritance and gift tax: this is paid when the inheritance is received and the amount varies depending on the autonomous community. This tax must be paid within 6 months of the death of the person who has made the inheritance.
  • Capital gains tax: this is levied on the increase in value of urban land. It must be paid within 6 months, taking into account local regulations. It is payable on receipt of the inheritance and on sale of the property.

Registration of the property in the Land Register

Once you have registered the property in the Land Registry you will be able to change the ownership.


Sale of the inherited house

Once the inheritance has been accepted, the property becomes the property of each heir according to the share stipulated in the deed. At this point, the property can be sold.

The buying and selling process is the same as in other cases. It is advisable, for example, to have a mediator who observes the whole process and takes care of the formalities.

In addition, it may be advisable to register the legal status of the property in the land registry before starting the sale and purchase process.

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