Lets say I lent someone a hundred thousand worth of dollars, and that was in 2000. On the contract that we signed, I stated that I can take anything from his belongings to be mine, if I deem it as of equal value (and if the government approves it IS of equal value). His house was proven as of equal value to the remaining amount of the loan, can I take the house?

  • How much was repaid? It is likely that you cannot take his house because it most likely has a mortgage on it, meaning the bank holds the lien. If you wanted to be able to leverage the house, you should have also placed a lien on it. What state/country is this "contract" in?
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 4:13
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    Where? The law that governs matters a great deal because there is great variation from place to place in this area of law. Also, if you made a loan in 2000 and were not paid for a long time, there is a very good chance that the statute of limitations for collecting the loan has expired. The time to get a lawyer, ideally, is before you make a loan, not long after you have gone unpaid.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Depends on the jurisdiction, but in most of the United States, almost certainly not.

You'd need to attach his house as collateral, which you can usually do with a signed writing that indicates the exchange of your loan for an interest in his house. But the writing needs to have a certain level of specificity; "all debtor's real property" would probably be sufficient, but "all of X's belongings" is probably not going to be enforceable.

Even after that, there would still be the question of perfecting your interest in the house and determining whether you or some other creditor has higher priority. If, for instance, X took out a bank loan to buy the house and defaulted on that loan, as well, I would expect the bank to end up with house, as well.

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    This is also an area where there is quite marked difference in a creditor's rights from state to state even within the U.S. Exemptions from general creditors who do not have duly perfected security interests and the rights of secured creditors in real property vary greatly from state to state. There isn't even really a majority and minority rule, just a great variety of rules.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 4:44

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