I sold 5 acres to builder & carried 1-yr. note, which expired in March. He has continued to pay interest but we have no new note. What is my legal status?

In current economic slump, the buyer of my 5 acres has been unable to find another buyer to build a custom house for. 1-yr. note has expired, and no new note has been signed while buyer/builder and I discuss possibly making minor modifications to original sale (trust deed). A couple of months ago, buyer asked to return land in exchange for down payment, but I responded that I can’t do that (financially), and don’t want to. So far, buyer has continued to pay monthly interest and has now listed the acreage for sale. What are my current liabilities and what should I do now to protect the sale?

Asked on June 25, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Oregon


J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I would suggest that the end game to is get your money back and be made whole.  If you have a note with this buyer and you are entitled to payment on the note, then you can seek to collect the money from the builder in a lawsuit.  If the note is secured with the land then you can sue the builder, and foreclose on the land - at a judicial sale, you can sell the land to the highest bidder and then go after the builder for the balance of the amount due on the note.  If the builder has other properties, you can lien those other properties.  I suggest that you hire a lawyer and take the documents to him to review and decide whether you want to take legal action against the builder.

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