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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 99430
Experience:  Qualified attorney in private practice including business, family, criminal, and real estate issues.
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Someone lived in my home in Florida that was not on the

Customer Question

Someone lived in my home in Florida that was not on the mortgage or deed. She put 126,000.00 into renovations in the home. Upon her move out I agreed that if I ever sold my house I would give her a fair amount of the proceeds. She asked me to sign a typed statement that said I would give her half of the proceeds if I sold the house. I signed it, she did not. It was not witness nor notarized. I asked for it back as in thinking that might not be a fair way to split the equity in the home should it be sold. She gave me a copy back without her signature (not the original). She is now claiming that is a legal binding document as she has signed it. Is the document legal and binding?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

I am sorry to hear about this situation. Is there any way you can attach a copy to your response? Or type out what it states (but do not include names, addresses, or any other personal identifying items)?

This is not an answer, but an information request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.

The statement read " We, BP and KR, agree upon sale of the residenc at ********** the amount of money earned after mortgage is paid off will be divided in half between p and R." I signed and she did not on 10/1/15... I told her the next day, after more thought we needed to sign something with more detail and asked for the copy back. She returned a copy to me unsigned by herself and told me to draft something. I did, and she would not sign, stating we needed to get an attorney to draw something up. I agreed, now the original document is surfacing with both signatures...Just want to know if it is binding. The document was never notarized.

Expert:  Ely replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

First of all, it does not matter if she is on the mortgage or deed if the contract gives her right to part of the proceeds of the sale. And the $126k that she put into the renovations of the home could technically be pursued in civil court if she claims (convincingly) that you promised to pay her back. However, it may be argued that the contract is just for that, so the contract would actually hurt her claim for any of the $126k.

The contract does not have to be notarized. And even though you only have a copy signed by you, she has the original, and can easily affix her signature to it to make it "complete," if she has not done so already.

So the question is then becomes - is the verbiage enough to make it binding? Traditionally, a contract requires:

1) Identity of the parties sought to be charged;
2) Identification of the contract's subject matter;
3) Terms and conditions of the agreement;
4) Consideration (in most states); and
5) Signed by the party to be charged.

This contract may be deemed to be missing #4. See HERE. Consideration is the mention of the benefit in the contract. Someone in your situation may wish to argue that due to lack of consideration, the contract is not enforceable. However it would then be up to the Court to decide.

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