What can I do about a breach of a verbal contrctto purchase a home?

My nephew asked me to take over payments on his house. We had a verbal agreement that when the house was paid for it would be mine. I have been paying on the house for 20 years and just learned that he refinanced the house 6 years ago; the house is now in foreclosure. What can I do?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alabama


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In most states in this country a verbal agreement to purchase real property is inadequate due to a doctrine known as the "statute of frauds" where all real property sales must be in writing and signed by the person to be charged with the sale. However, in some circumstances part performance of an oral agreement to buy real property may take the oral agreement out of this doctrine.

Examples would be paying on the home for twenty (20) years by you. The problem is that the home is in foreclosure and there may be no equity in it due to the refinance of it by your nephew of it six (6) years ago.

You should immediately consult with an experienced real estate attorney regarding your options in getting legal title to the property or getting the moneys you have paid on the home the past twenty (20) years with accrued interest back from your nephew.

Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.