contract signing

Community Questions: Purchasing a home with a non traditional contract

QUESTION:
I purchased a property on a simple two sentence document both signed with a witness and he would not turn the house over to me.  It took about 18 months for that to happen and when he finally took me to court, he took me to renters court .  This of course was proved wrong and we signed a deed of trust and now i am at today.  Now he claims I am 5 months behind but this is not true as he is holding 3 of those checks and will not cash them now wants to foreclose.  When I bought the house it was for $67,808 at 8% and i owe $50,000.  The house is worth $130,000 and he knows this and has been a problem since day one…..So my question is ….. what can i do?

ANSWER:
So sorry to hear about your struggles.  This is definitely the time to employ an attorney.   You’ll need to make sure your purchase is evidenced in public record and that your claim is available in the public record.  Often a short document, such as the two sentence document you noted that started your purchase, is enough to transfer ownership, but sometimes it isn’t.  It at least shows the intent of the parties.  You should contact an attorney to evaluate the options you have that are local to your state.

Contracts are an important part of a real estate transfer.  When purchasing a property, be sure to use a purchase agreement form that spells out the obligations of each party in the sale.  Often there will be other forms required such as a land contract in this case, or contract for deed.  If you have questions in the process of purchasing a home, it is a good idea to engage an attorney or a real estate broker.  They have specific expertise in property transfers and can help avoid future issues.

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