In 2015 we signed a Sales Installment Contract for $435,000 on a home in SC, paid $18,000 down & $3200/month payment. This past April the owner notified us he had gotten a divorce & needed to unload the property. We hired an attorney & renegotiated a sale price of $317,500, we actually only owed $280k & some change. So we go forward getting our financing in order & approval. Days from closing we find out the owner has fired his attorney & stopped responding to emails, calls & texts.
We hired another attorney to handle litigation & a Lis Pendens was filed with plans to file suit this week. Today I google the property address, thinking he had put it on the market, and I see it listed as a pre-foreclosure on Zillow for $26,000 less than our contract!
My question is do we have a leg to stand on legally? Of course I’ve emailed our attorney with this finding but I’m in panic mode!
Zillow has a lot of inaccurate, outdated and “estimated” I formation.
You are experiencing of the risk with installment sales/land con contracts.
First, it is relatively easy to find out if the property is actually in a foreclosure process on your local county websites. There, I’m guessing the process is nonjudicial and there would be a Notice Of Sale recorded.
Something seems off, since getting a divorce wouldn’t cause a need to drop the price $120k.
Did you guys ever verify how much of a mortgage he had on this property?
Yes, you have a contract but that won’t stop his lender from foreclosing on him and chances of collecting any money from him afterward will be slim.