Buying a home in North Carolina from a family member with only verbal agreements.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Buying a home in North Carolina from a family member with only verbal agreements.

hi, as stated above I am buying my home from my mothermortgage is in her name I make the payments. This can be verified via bank statements.
We have been doing this for approx 11 years. Now we mother, myself and my spouse had agreed at the beginning that this would be the case until the 30 year mortgage was paid in full at which point the property would be placed either into my or my wife’s name or even into our children’s names. we have had a few very minor disagreements over petty issues, nothing regarding ownership. Recently however she has mentioned such things in conversation, and just generally being hard to get along with. I would like to know what,if any rights I have if for some reason she should act upon such a notion. Also it should be noted that in the beginning, we had given her our mobile home and set it up on the property which is her residence.
Thank you in advance for any and all information you are willing to provide.

Asked on August 1, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Retain a real estate attorney to help you--NOW. In your state, as in most states, a contract to sell or buy real estate must be in writing to be enforceable: an oral (that is the correct term, not "verbal") agreement is not enforceable. So at the outset, your "verbal" agreement to buy a house is not an enforceable contract.
The courts do have some power to go beyond the plain terms of the law in some cases when there is evidence that the "equities" require some action or adjustment. Since you have been paying the mortgage for 11 years,  an experienced attorney *may* be able to find some way around the prohibition on enforcing oral agreements, but it will be an uphill battle, so get a lawyer working on this right away.

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 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.

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