Mom loaned $33,000, but ex-girlfriend got the house

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss passed away on Sept. 26, 2007. This was one of the last real estate columns he wrote. Inman News is publishing Bob's last work as a final salute to the nation's most well-known real estate writer. DEAR BOB: My brother purchased a house with his soon-to-be wife. They went to one of those "subprime" lenders because of his credit problems and self-employment. But the loan officer, a rookie, arranged a mortgage in the girlfriend's name alone. She is now on the mortgage and the title alone. Two years have passed. They broke up and were never married. He moved out. In today's market, she can't sell the house for any reasonable price so they took the house off the market. The problem is they borrowed the $33,000 down payment from my mother. How can we protect mom's money when the house sells in the future? Can she record a quitclaim deed? Can interest be added? Will mom be able to get half the profits when the house eventually sells? --Joseph D. DEAR ...