What is called when someone owns a home but can not refinance without seller’s permission?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What is called when someone owns a home but can not refinance without seller’s permission?

I was under the impression that my brother owned his home. He gave the seller a large down payment but cannot refinance on his own. He asked the seller to refinance and was told no. Is this glorified renting? What happens if my brother wants to sell the house? It doesn’t seem like a good situation for my brother. I have never heard of such a situation and my brother has been tight lipped when I probe.

Asked on December 17, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If your brother cannot refinance without the seller's permission, he probably doesn't in fact own the home--if he did, while it's possible he might not qualify for refinancing, he'd at least have the right to apply for it on his own. Is your brother on the title or deed or not? You can check this at the county clerk's office if you like, since deeds and title are public record. If he's not on the deed or title, he is not the owner--maybe he is renting to own, and has not paid all the amounts yet, so title has not transferred; or maybe he was scammed by the seller, who took his money without turning over the property.

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