I entered into a verbal agreement to sell a 1977 mobile home to someone for $10,000 and he paid half of that and will not pay the rest. Can I legally take the mobile home back from him?
For the most part, verbal agreements can be enforceable contracts unless a principle called the Statute of Frauds applies. The Statute of Frauds requires certain details of certain transactions to be in writing. The purpose is to minimize the chances of misunderstandings or people changing the terms after the agreement has been made. The Statute of Frauds applies to most real estate transactions or to the sale of goods over $500. You don’t specify whether the mobile home is sold as part of a property transaction or whether it’s just the sale of the mobile home. Regardless, the Statute of Frauds will apply, and you would typically need to have certain details in writing and signed by the purchaser to enforce the agreement. However, you have already transferred the mobile home to the buyer, and the buyer has already made a partial payment. This means that even though the Statute of Frauds applies, you can demand that the oral agreement be enforced. You can file a suit against the buyer for the remaining $5,000. Keep in mind that although a court will probably recognize your right to enforce the agreement, you will need some evidence that you agreed to a sale price of $10,000. A local real estate attorney can help you proceed.