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Buying Back the House

Question: David in California says his wife was laid off two years ago. They sold their home on a short sale, and his in-laws purchased them a new home. David wants to know if they should buy it from them. Dave wants to know if they can afford the down payment.

Answer: This is not a refinance, but a purchase. You will have to qualify for a mortgage with a down payment and a purchase. You didn’t purchase a house and you didn’t borrow–your father-in-law did. You need to look at this through the eyes of the mortgage company. As far as the mortgage company is concerned, you don’t have a house or a loan. As far as your mortgage company is concerned, your wife gave her dad money to put down on a house he owns. That’s what the law says.

You don’t owe anything on it–your father-in-law does. If you buy the house for $300,000, they won’t lend you $300,000 on it. If it’s worth $3 million, they won’t loan you $300,000 on it because you don’t own it. You are doing an acquisition, so you have to have a down payment worked out to be able to do this deal. I would get the house in your name and get the mortgage redone as soon as you possibly can.

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