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Old 01-18-2014, 08:30 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,405,867 times
Reputation: 2358

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I have an unstable sibling with a history of falling for scams (and another sibling who isn't unstable). Unstable sibling is a hypochondriac, was going to marry someone who turned out to be a Nigerian internet scammer, uses a service dog though she has no diagnosed medical condition which would require one, and is generally difficult to be around.

We all inherited money, property and investments from my mother who passed away last year in equal portions. We had some of the land up for sale, had an agent, got a few "bites" but no actual offers. The agent would call and say that she had an interested party, but a written offer never materialized. The agent terminated her own agreement with us citing the unstable sibling who was too difficult to work with. The property has not been listed since but we had plans to re-list in the spring.

I got a call from this sibling with the following claim: someone called her out of the blue about the property. This particular land doesn't even have a street address, no signage, no nothing. This alleged individual is living in another state, found this land when they were visiting family over the holidays, and tracked down my sister through the trust that owns the land. This person never spoke to an agent, and has been emailing my sister with a low ball offer but has not submitted any written contract, gotten an agent, or been represented by a real estate attorney. I have not seen any of this email correspondence (in contrast,when we listed it with the agent, everyone was on the emails and unstable sis would forward anything that she got from her). Nor am I aware that the trust has any publicly listed contact information.

I think this is so bizarre. My other sister and I told unstable sis that she needs to get a contract in writing before we even consider this. She immediately got defensive and started yelling, but we stood our ground. Does this sound weird to anyone else? How to proceed from here?
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:39 AM
Status: "Trump is orange buffoon" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Berkeley, Denver, CO USA
14,926 posts, read 22,256,060 times
Reputation: 25248
Scam.
A serious buyer would ask:
1. selling agent's address so the buyer could send a written offer
2. or, if no agent, sister's address to send offer
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:42 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,405,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
Scam.
A serious buyer would ask:
1. selling agent's address so the buyer could send a written offer
2. or, if no agent, sister's address to send offer
I agree. My sister said that they are communicating via email and she called my older sister and I last night to "approve" moving forward with the amount offered during this email communication. This person is supposedly offering to pay our attorney fees for not using a realtor. All red flags.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Bloomington IN
7,024 posts, read 8,621,670 times
Reputation: 17490
It's not necessarily a scam, but as you said, you will only consider a written offer.

I've had people call me about properties I've listed in the past that no longer had a sign, etc. Some one knew that the property had been for sale and tracked me down. Given that the person has family in the area, the family may have noticed the property and mentioned it.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Georgia
4,571 posts, read 4,449,106 times
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So . . . you have a sister, who you know to be unstable. You have a phantom buyer, who suddenly appears out of nowhere to buy this land. Doesn't sound like a good combination, to me.

I'm starting to wonder about what the tax records show. Does it show this particular piece of land as being owned by the trust? Is your sister listed as the registered agent for the trust? Tax records are pretty readily available online in many areas -- that's one way he may have found your sister.

Regardless of HOW he found it, any prudent person would have a real estate attorney to make sure that everything was above-board. Sounds like it might be two against one -- why don't the two sane siblings just tell the unstable sibling, "Nope, we are not doing ANYTHING without an attorney." You don't have an offer, you have a verbal "hey, how would you feel about this number?" sort of an offer. Unstable sister can just go pound sand -- presumably, she can't sell without all of you agreeing, right? Or IS she the agent for the trust, and can manage the trust without your say-so?

I find it interesting that the agent was the one that terminated the listing agreement -- your sister must be a piece of work for an agent to walk away from a listing over her behavior.

Anyway -- time to grow a spine and tell your sister "No." Unlike the holidays, when she dragged her dog to your house and you just gritted your teeth. :-)
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:51 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,405,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrah View Post
It's not necessarily a scam, but as you said, you will only consider a written offer.

I've had people call me about properties I've listed in the past that no longer had a sign, etc. Some one knew that the property had been for sale and tracked me down. Given that the person has family in the area, the family may have noticed the property and mentioned it.
True, it all sounds reasonable, but when we pressed my sister for more details, she said that the woman "wanted somewhere to stay that was closer to family" but this property has no house on it. There are definitely houses in the area for sale. Buying a piece of rural land seems like a strange choice, but could be legit.

My sense is that this person is trying to get information out of my sister, who, in the past, has been exceedingly willing to share more than was reasonable with all kinds of con artists. There is also a neighbor who wanted to make a very low ball offer, and this person could be a relative who he was using to figure out how desperate we were to sell. But none of it seems like the real deal to me.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:58 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,405,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dblackga View Post
So . . . you have a sister, who you know to be unstable. You have a phantom buyer, who suddenly appears out of nowhere to buy this land. Doesn't sound like a good combination, to me.

I'm starting to wonder about what the tax records show. Does it show this particular piece of land as being owned by the trust? Is your sister listed as the registered agent for the trust? Tax records are pretty readily available online in many areas -- that's one way he may have found your sister.

Regardless of HOW he found it, any prudent person would have a real estate attorney to make sure that everything was above-board. Sounds like it might be two against one -- why don't the two sane siblings just tell the unstable sibling, "Nope, we are not doing ANYTHING without an attorney." You don't have an offer, you have a verbal "hey, how would you feel about this number?" sort of an offer. Unstable sister can just go pound sand -- presumably, she can't sell without all of you agreeing, right? Or IS she the agent for the trust, and can manage the trust without your say-so?

I find it interesting that the agent was the one that terminated the listing agreement -- your sister must be a piece of work for an agent to walk away from a listing over her behavior.

Anyway -- time to grow a spine and tell your sister "No." Unlike the holidays, when she dragged her dog to your house and you just gritted your teeth. :-)
I absolutely did. I am a lot less forgiving about money than I am about dealing with dog hair for a few days.

The listing agent said she couldn't deal with her. We all have to agree to sell the land, and my sister has listed herself as the contact for the trust-- my older sister is supposed to be listed. This makes me very angry and my older sister is supposed to be taking care of it. We will be hiring an attorney if a contract is produced. My younger sister will not be involved in the choice of attorney.

I still think its very weird to track anyone down that way. There are lots listed in the area, signed and visible. The land isn't special. There are nicer lots, cheaper lots, etc.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:22 AM
 
4,675 posts, read 8,260,098 times
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Um... when you say "unstable"..........are we talking as in dementia?
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Georgia
4,571 posts, read 4,449,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by confusedasusual View Post
I still think its very weird to track anyone down that way. There are lots listed in the area, signed and visible. The land isn't special. There are nicer lots, cheaper lots, etc.
No, it's not weird. It's actually rather common in the real estate industry, to look at tax records to see who owns a property. From there, it's a 60-second search to see who is a registered agent for a trust. Basic internet research, most of it free. ]

If I wanted to sell an empty piece of land, I'd be looking at my neighbors, first, who might want a little more space around them.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:29 AM
 
2,288 posts, read 2,756,610 times
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OP, I hope you can get her name off as contact. I'm surprised one of you sane girls wasn't chosen to be the executor. You did say the oldest was supposed to be listed, so I'd get that fixed NOW! I was in charge of my parents estate, and I wouldn't have done anything my sister didn't agree to, but someone has to be in control. There's hard decisions to make and I cant imagine having 3 sisters with the same input. Recipe for disaster imo.

Good luck and hope a sale goes through smoothly.
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