Question about real estate law?

I bought a piece of land from someone. This person buys land, resells them to people who cannot get traditional financing. So, the deal is, he doesn’t check credit or job references, but hangs onto the deed until it is paid in full. There is a contract between him and the buyer as proof of ownership. He allows development on the land without exception.
Now here is the deal. He has so much going on, that he accidentally sold my lot. He meant to sell a different lot. I am currently not using the land as it is for retirement.
The land is now in the new owner’s name on the deed.
Is this sale legal? Can I sue/win that he had no right to sell my land?
What would the process be to do so? What court?
This is a sale between someone who lives in AZ, bought in HI, and the owner is in TX. So, wouldn’t even know where to begin.
He is offering another lot-which is not acceptable to me or to refund my payments. The land is worth more now than I bought it for-so wouldn’t cancel.
I don’t want my money back. I want my land. I want to somehow default this sale he made. I want it to be declared illegal and nonbinding.
This is not a leasehold property.
The contract states that I own the land as long as my payments are made and that the deed will be recorded in my name as soon as the loan is paid in full. To me, this is breach of contract. There is no way that I leased this, I BOUGHT this.
This is such a mess. Bostonian…. are you a lawyer? Why the attitude? I am not a prelaw student, thus the question.
If the contract states I can build on the land, I own it. He was the recorded owner. But it is not like a car lease. I didn’t have a term and then it was over was my point. It was a loan to buy.

4 Responses to “Question about real estate law?”

  1. alterfemego Says:

    That is land fraud and he can be prosecuted and jailed. I would hire an attorney right away and sue him.

    And by the way, how would have felt it you had built a home on that land, then he sold it to someone else? So if you get it back, don’t build on it until the deed is in your name!

  2. sudhir19_us Says:

    his sale is definately legal and in no way u can sue the new owners. but since u have contract from him that u r owner of teh land and he is just holding the deed till payment , and now that he has transfered the land to another persons name { u dont know/care if he has sold to new buyer or just changed the name to his relative/friend to cash in on price increase}, so he has violated that contract and u can definately sue him and ask for ur money back at the market price.,, i dontthink someone sold ur property by mistake imagine what if price had fallen , will this still be happening?
    write one detailed letter to him to ask him to reply to you "why should u not sue him?"… and see what can be done using negotiation directly with him { may be he can offer another piece of land and attractive price since he has made money from ur land} ,, if nothing comes off negotiations then sue him and use some community lawyer since u have time at hand to fight in courts.

  3. bostonianinmo Says:

    Unfortunately this was not "your" land. If anything you had a long-term lease or land contract on it. Ownership is designated by the deed and nothing else.

    Since your agreement was for over one year you SHOULD have recorded it. Had you done that it would have served notice on any potential buyer that there were clouds on the title and would likely have prevented the sale. At the very least, the new legal owner would have been on notice that they would be bound by the agreement you had signed with the prior owner. You might still have those rights without recording your agreement but some states require any lease or land contract agreement of longer than one year to be recorded to be enforceable.

    Without recording of the agreement, you may or many not be able to sue the landlord and recover damages. Again, it depends upon state law. You need to consult with an attorney in the area where the land exists to see what rights you have, if any.

    FYI, most real estate in HI is held leasehold. It’s rare that title is passed fee simple, and when it does the prices are astronomical. You need a real estate attorney in HI to sort this out and advise you how to proceed.

    Addendum: Sorry, but YOUR claim IS leasehold! Unless your name is on the deed — and it is NOT — you do NOT own the land! Any pre-law student will tell you that. The seller’s claim may be leasehold or fee simple but YOURS is leasehold (at best) until your name is on the deed. As I stated above, you NEED an attorney. Since the property was actually sold to someone else as evidenced by the deed that they hold, you may be able to do one of two things. You may be able to force the new owner to honor your leasehold agreement or you may be able to sue the person you entered into the contract with. What you might be able to recover will be up to the courts to decide. GET A LAWYER! YOU NEED ONE!

  4. Ross Says:

    This is one reason why Realtors are important. You did have a contract on that land but he held the title and therefore he appeared to own the land if the other party did a title search. You have a contract with him so get a lawyer.