When a co-owner of a property sues for partition of the property, the court may divide the property in kind, or if it finds it more equitable to do so, it may order the property sold and the proceeds of the sale distributed to the co-owners.  (CCP 872.810, 872.820.)  Normally, sale is by public notice and either public auction or private bids.  But, if the parties agree, the property may be sold by appraisal, in which case, the appraisal sets the value of the property and either party may buy it for the highest bid over the appraised value.  In this case, the trial court invoked allowed a sale by appraisal to be followed by a public sale if neither party bid more than the appraised value.  That was error, however, as the parties had not agreed to sale by appraisal.  And the order could not be treated as an allowed “private” sale because public notice was not given.  Nevertheless, the error was not prejudicial as the appellant didn’t show that the property would have brought a higher price if sold by the proper method.

California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 4 (Rivera, J.); July 19, 2017 (partial publication); 2017 WL 3048706