Asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Illinois

Q: I'm buying my home contact for deed. I've paid on it for almost 4 years. I'm behind on payments and the owner said he

Wants me out but I found out he has a mortgage on it and several other properties and he's going into foreclosure. Idk if he ever recorded it. Can I request to rescind and get my money back? Or is it pointless since he obviously has no money?

1 Lawyer Answer
Peter J. Weinman
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A: It may not be pointless just because he has no money - you need to find out whether there will be any remaining equity in the house after the mortgage lender (and any other lienholders ahead of you) are paid. But it could be pointless if being behind in your payments means you're in material breach of the agreement - and/or if it means you cannot afford to bring the lawsuit. Does your agreement allow you to redeem yourself and catch up, or does it convert to a lease (whereby he can evict you) if you are behind? From my NY perspective, it would not have been the landlord/seller's responsibility to record your agreement - that would have been your responsibility, assuming the agreement did not prohibit its recording (or unless the agreement made it the landlord/seller's responsibility). Were you represented by an attorney when you entered into that agreement? If so, I'd expect that a full owner/judgment/lien search was done to make sure that the landlord/seller was able to convey good title (at least at that time). That same lawyer would probably have recorded the agreement (unless it was prohibited). Just because the house is going into foreclosure does not automatically mean there's no equity. Sometimes (believe it or not), a person lets their house go in foreclosure and there's money left over (a "surplus") after the mortgage lender is repaid. So, if your agreement is not recorded, it may not be too late to do so, but you'll need to retain a local attorney to assist you with that to determine whether it makes financial sense to do so at this juncture. If you need to locate a local attorney, you can start your search here: and I'll wish you good luck.

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