Question on Real Estate Law

Here is my situation: My Mother bought a house in 1976 with a 30 year note. The previous owner carried the papers. They had it set up for many years for my Mom to pay her payment through a bank or collection service. At some point the previous owner ended the relationship with the bank and had my Mom just make her the payments directly. I believe this was sometime in the 90’s while I was in high school. Around 2002 (about 4 years before the house was to be paid off) my Mom fell on some real hard financial times and just quit making the payment. My mom still lives in the house and has not made a payment in approx. 9 years. She has never been given notice, received a phone call or anything to my knowledge that states she still owes money on the house even though I am 100% certain it was not paid in full. I am now in a financial situation where I have the money to pay off the house to secure it for her as well as a long term investment for myself. I would like to get the house moved in to my name. I just don’t know the best road to take. We do not even know how to get a hold of the previous owner.

What is the best financial path for me to remedy this situation for my Mom as well as secure my future investments. Thanks in advance for all those who read / respond.


Who has been paying the property taxes and homeowners insurance? 

You need to start with a title / escrow company and ask them to run a preliminary title report which hopefully shows a 1st TD holders name matching your mom’s seller. Your mom should have a contract and title / escrow documents so you will need to take those documents into escrow and ask them to calculate what is still owed and interest to date.

Your mom will need to provide and prove how far she made payments so she will need to dig out the first 26 years of checks or title / escrow account or collection receipt for the payments.

Then you will need to deposit that amount to escrow and the title / escrow company will close the payoff provided the documents you provided indicate a 1st TD and define interest rate and terms.

Then you may need to spend minimal time trying to locate the seller or sellers heirs so escrow / title knows how the payoff check will be made out and who is getting paid.

Now I had friends in a similar agreement about 10 years ago find out although their was agreement verbally their was no existing documents to prove a sale and after occupying and paying on the property for years, did not own it!

Good luck,


Check your state’s statute of limitatons of uncollected debt.