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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19690
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. experience with Real Estate
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The lady that owned our house recently passed away. Now we

Customer Question

The lady that owned our house recently passed away. Now we had spoken to her about purchasing the house. She said she would sell it to us, in her words cheap. Now all these conversations were never documented only verbal. She had said she would work it am let us know . She also made a statement she felt that it was our house already. As I stated before she passed before it was done. We have calculated the total amount we have paid in the almost 12 years we have paid over 80 thousand to her. We checked property values in this neighborhood and they range in the 60's. Now we were told by the relatives to hold the rent payments because they don't have executor yet. Any advice ? Or are we dead in the water.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 months ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Unfortunately, there is a law called the "Statute of Frauds" which says that no promise to sell real property is enforceable unless in writing, spelled out very specifically, and signed by both parties. So, unless you either signed a "rent to buy" agreement when you first moved in, or there was a writing that laid out all of the specifics of a sale and signed by you and this person who owned the house, there is no legally enforceable agreement to work with.

That doesn't mean that you can't voice your interest in buying the house from the heirs of the estate and try to let them know what her intentions were. But, that isn't really a legal argument, just one of what you believe is fair. I can tell you that, as mentioned above, you cannot count on any of your previous rents going toward the purchase price unless at the beginning of your lease you all sign the rent to own document I mentioned.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the ratings box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 2 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 23rd. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.

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