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Old 04-20-2014, 12:21 PM
15 posts, read 23,464 times
Reputation: 10


I'm looking at purchasing a 2 acre plot of raw land to build a home. I started digging into the deed of trust (public record) which was used by the seller (a non-profit) when they bought the land and came across something odd. Apparently when they bought the land, they bought 2 properties and used a bank to secure a single loan for both properties.

However this is where it gets confusing. The recorded sales price with the county on the land is the exact loan amount from the bank on the same date as the bank loan. The other property the seller listed with the bank doesn't show as transferring to the seller until almost 2 years later and the amount is for an amount less than the loan amount.

I'll show some numbers here because numbers are easier than words. I'm going to use fictious dates and amounts just to show what i'm talking about:
Loan amount $300,000 , date of loan : June 13, 2005
land sale price on county records: $300,000 June 13, 2005
current county land assessment: $60,000

Other property (B) sale price on county records $210,000 March 1, 2007 . Property (b) is about 25 miles away and is a business condo of 2100 sq. feet.

Now in 2012 the seller sold the other property (B) for $230,000 and the bank did a partial release (I found this in the public records), though the bank doesn't say how much was released, it does say it no longer holds a lien on property B and the loan is partially satisifed.
I can see in the county records Yes, property (B) is now owned by a different person.

My questions are thus:
1) How did the seller get away with allocating all of the original purchase price to the land in the county records? This appears to be very misleading to the next 'buyer' (me), because as far as I can tell, the seller didn't pay $300,000 for this piece of raw land.

2) How come for property (B) the county didn't record the sale of the property to the owner on June 13, 2005?

3) How did property (B) come into the owner's hands on March 1, 2007? There doesn't seem to be any sort of public record of this transaction that I can find.

4) If I get a land appraisal done, how can I make sure the appraiser is aware the previous price paid is actually the combination of two properties and not just the land itself? -- I ask this because the seller presented me with an appraisal done 2 years ago that appraises the land at 400,000 (its raw land) and I highly suspect the appraiser used their purchase price as part of the basis for the appraisal. -- The seller gave me this document before I had managed to discover the above information on my own. -- which in turn has made me highly suspect its worthiness.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:01 AM
1,831 posts, read 3,954,871 times
Reputation: 1240
If I were you, I would post this question in the Real Estate forum, or better yet, consult with a real estate attorney.
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:51 AM
Location: Baltimore
1,759 posts, read 4,564,266 times
Reputation: 1195
I value land for a living. Commercially zoned raw land may be worth 400k if the property will generate income when developed. For residential purposes to live in, it's a total crap shoot. As a quick check, the land, approvals and development cost should be around 30% of the finished average retail price of the home.

The seller may have transferred the LLC that was holding the land to avoid transfer and rec charges and thus avoid a sale. Most counties have cracked down on this.
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Old 04-26-2014, 06:14 PM
15 posts, read 23,464 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the insight. its currently zoned rural residential and the county says I can build a house on it.
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