Owning Land

Dealing with Undivided Interest in Rural Land

Have you ever heard the phrase “undivided interest” and wondered what it meant? Undivided interest means the title to a piece of real estate is held by two or more persons, but that the land itself is not divided among them; the land is a single, undivided parcel. This type of ownership usually occurs when a piece of property is inherited by siblings or if friends/partners/investors buy a piece of land together.

What happens when one of the owners wants to sell the land but the others are not in agreement? What do you do? If not dealt with early, professionally and properly, you can end up with a big mess, squabbles, and fights. With proper planning, disputes can usually be avoided. The last thing you want is for the property to be the cause of anger, resentment, and frustration among your loved ones. Pat Porter, owner and broker at RecLand Realty, offers some suggestions on how an owner can approach this type of situation. After all, land ownership should be a big blessing, not a big burden.

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About the author

Pat Porter

Pat is the owner / broker for RecLand Realty. RecLand specializes in selling hunting land, timberland, farms, & ranches in LA, AR, MS, TX, IA, & MO. See their company website at RecLand.net.

Pat, his wife, and three boys are land owners and enjoy hunting, shooting, and an outdoor lifestyle. They live in northeast Louisiana and are usually in the woods somewhere several times a week.


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  • We want to sell 28 acres. My dad owns 2/6 share. The other siblings want to sell except for one who has 1/6 share belonging to three people. The property is in MN. Can an investor buy all of the undivided interests in the property but his? Then can the investor take the remaining person( owner who does but want to sell) to court to force a sale or arbitration.? We have a buyer. Legal fees are too high for us to force a sale for the land and only the 1/6 owners do not want to sell. Everyone else wants to sell. Any ideas? Thanks! 5/6 of the owners want it gone!

    • Hey! Sorry you have that situation. It is common though.

      I don’t know the specifics of MN common law, but in LA we do have a mechanism in our civil code that would allow the owners to consolidate the total ownership interest. It’s called a Partition by Licitation. It requires the parties to use an atty to force the sale of the property. Anyone can buy the ownership interest…the current owners can buy the portions outstanding to complete their 100% or an outsider can buy the entire 100% with each owner getting their percentage of the sale proceeds. In LA, we use the Sheriff’s Sale to perform the public sale.

      Outside investors do buy partial interests and then pursue the outstanding interest as described above. Keep in mind, investors who buy partial interest usually do not (can not) pay full retail price per acre. They have to allow for the fact they don’t have all the rights to fully utilize the potential in the tract and any legal procedures would be an added expense they’d need to allow for.

      Check your state to see exactly how consolidating ownership interest can be done. I bet their is a mechanism similar to ours (in LA) that can be used. These mechanisms were created to help facilitate commerce.

      Good luck!

      Pat Porter

  • Hi Pat. I was wondering if you could recommend a real estate attorney in Texas that deals with siblings that own an undivided interest and two of the four want to form an LLP, he said to protect each of our personal assets as well as the farm. From what I understand an LLP won’t do that entirely.

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