Are oral real estate contracts enforceable?

Asked over 3 years ago - Rochester, NY

I purchased a home from a friend with an oral agreement to pay a monthly sum for x amount of years and the home would be mine. Obligation was fulfilled and now previous owner is suing me, claiming that I never finished paying for the home. These allegations are false, but I have to answer the complaint. It comes down to my word against his and I am not financially able to hire a lawyer. I am currently unemployed. I need to know what defenses I can claim. All payments were made in cash so I have no paper trail, but I do have the deed in my name with no liens attached. This lawsuit was only filed due to a falling out of our friendship and pure malice by the plaintiff who knows I am unable to pay for an attorney. What are my chances of successfully getting this case dismissed?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Michael David Siegel


    Contributor Level 15

    Answered . You have a deed, which recites the consideration for the transfer. Therefore, your agreement is not oral. It is in a deed. If the deed was to be given later, and all you had was an oral promise to convey the property, you would likely have no case, especially with the payments being in cash.

    Michael D. SIegel, Esq. Siegel & Siegel, P.C. One Penn Plaza Suite 2414 New York, New York 10119 212-721-... more
  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . No, oral contracts to buy real estate aren't enforceable, according to a law called the Statute of Frauds." But if here, you got the deed transferred to you, and you can show bank withdrawals for the cash you paid, you can show evidence of an executed contract that had already been fully performed by both parties. Your friend will have a hard time explaining why he deeded you this property if you hadn't finished paying the agreed purchase price.

    PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT, EMAIL ME OR PHONE ME. I'm only licensed in CA. This answer doesn't make me... more

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