Property Rights in Purchase
I recently bought two houses and a trailer on 5 acres of land in my name. The arrangement was for my stepfather to pay for the houses as he would be living in one. I would in turn receive the other house as a "gift". He made me sign a paper stating that I was selling the homes and property on a land contract. Do i have any right to the property?
The fact pattern sounds a bit complex and confusing. You really should have a real estate attorney handle this. We'll give you some comments below, but this doesn't sound like a do-it-yourself-er!
- I recently bought two houses and a trailer on 5 acres of land in my name... That means the deed is in your name and you paid for the property.
- The arrangement was for my stepfather to pay for the houses as he would be living in one..... If the deed was in your name, how did your stepfather pay? If he paid the deed should have been in only his name. You really need to consult a real estate attorney and be sure that this is handled correctly. You don't want to adversely affect the title (ownership) to real estate.
- I would in turn receive the other house as a "gift".... This also doesn't seem clear. If you "bought" the property then the deed should be in your name, so how could your stepfather make you a gift? Also, what is he giving. you have two houses and a trailer on 5 acres. Did he subdivide the property? The property has to be transferred by deed by the trailer may be considered personal property and might require a bill of sale and other documents to transfer. There may be sales or other local tax due on the transfer of the trailer. Has this all be addressed with a lawyer?
- He made me sign a paper stating that I was selling the homes and property on a land contract..... Your question said you purchased the assets but that he paid. If he paid how could you sell on a land contract or another way? If your stepfather paid how could the deed by in your name for you to then sell to him? Why was the transaction structured this way? Your stepfather may have made a taxable gift to you if the deed was in your name but he paid for the property. Its not clear that your signing a document to "sell" property undoes this gift problem.
- Do I have any right to the property?..... If the deed was in your name you should have ownership, but its not clear how that could be if your stepfather paid. Further, if you did have ownership and signed a contract to sell to your stepfather (if!) then perhaps you gave up that ownership but retained only the right to whatever the contract said you were entitled to receive (and you did not give any information on this).
The entire matter sounds complex and potentially mixed up. Get a real estate lawyer and sort it out. Try to do it amicably so that the family can sit in the same house for Thanksgiving dinner (that's more important than the other issues!)