Is refinancing the only option?

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Is refinancing the only option?

Unofficially the house where I live was owned by 2 of my uncles and my father. Officially the house is owned by my uncles. They are the ones on the mortgage loan. One of my uncles went back to Mexico and gave me his part. So unofficial the house is now owned by my other uncle, my father, and me. In order to make it official, would the only way to put my name or my father’s name on the title would we have to refinance the house?

Asked on May 5, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) There is no such thing as "unofficial" ownership: you own something or you don't.
2) The mortgage does not determine who owns the home--that is determined by the title.
3) The only way to make you and/or your father owners would be for you and/or him to be placed on the title by your uncles. They would have to voluntarily agree to do this--but could also refuse to do so, since as owners, they can't be made to give part of their ownership to someone else.
4) Refinancing would be a necessary part of putting you or your father on the title, since interests in the home cannot be transferred without paying off the existing mortgage. But refinancing by itself is not enough, since the people on the mortgage have to pay the loan, but do not only by being on the mortgage get ownership. Again, your uncles would have to voluntarily agree to the transfer. If they do agree, then you'd have to refinance in the process of putting you or your father on the title.


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