Someone claims to want to buy my house, sight unseen as to the inside.

Started by

This is a bit off topic, but could be related to caregiver house issues. I've had 2 written requests, sent on legal cap, and hand written, from someone in an adjacent neighborhood stating that he wants to buy my house.

Since he uses my first and middle name, I'm thinking he got that info from the city treasurer's office, as I don't normally use my middle name for public purposes.

I'm thinking this could be legitimate and the guy is a speculator or a self imagined flipper, but I also think it could be something less honest. Maybe an unsavory person who thinks I'm a target for robbery, a snoop who just wants to see the house, a speculator and would be landlord who thinks he can rent the house....

Has this happened to anyone, and if so, do you have any insight into these kinds of predators, as I suspect this one is?

And no, I most certainly have no intention of allowing him to come inside.

This happened several years ago when a neighbor wanted to buy my house for his elderly mother, and even made an offer, a very low-ball offer at that.


Sounds hinky to me.......
GardenArtist, I get those letters, too. It's just a person who is looking for the deal of the century, and thinking they can get a house cheap, and flip it. I also know it is from the tax records as my full name is used, too. I just toss those letters in the circular file.

Or if they contact you via phone, ask for their name, company name, cell number and tell them you have a good friend who is a Realtor and he/she will get back with them if they are serious about buying at market value.

Windy, that's what I thought too. I can't find anything on this guy, who only used a first name. Phone number is affiliated with a woman who lives in a nearby city. Postmark on both envelopes is Grand Rapids. I've traced it as far back as I can go and can't find anything.

FF, I like the idea of telling them I have a realtor who will contact them, and especially like the idea of selling at market price! I'll bet that will stop them.

This also happened after my sister died. Lots of bugs crawled out of their holes in the ground and started sending repeated alleged expressions of interest. Just for the heck of it, I called one woman who claimed to be really serious, and she said she couldn't talk b/c she had to pick up her son from school. And this was back in 2003 or 2004, so it was when cell phones were already proliferating. I thought she has a lot to learn about doing business.

What unsettled me though was that a few days before the first "letter", someone was at my side door knocking hard. I then heard a male voice say something as if he was talking to someone, but I don't recall what. I didn't at all appreciate someone prowling around my house.

When I looked out the windows I saw nothing, but if the prowling happens again, I'll call the police.

Garden - I get them regularly as we've opened probate. They buy the list from the courthouse OR more commonly buy a list from the publication that the Notice to Creditors is printed to. & there is no opt out as probate is open records. These have been sent to me at the address I filed for my mailing address for probate.

You can also buy a list of properties owned by over 65 from tax assessor office. My mom gets those -even though she's dead- sent to her home. She got 3 last week as tax bills went out 4 weeks ago and I guess the thought is that if folks can't afford to pay thier taxes, they may need to do a distress sale.

All this makes me somewhat more prone to owning property in a trust or LLC as its harder to commit a fraudulent sale.

That plus having a concealed carry permit.......

The grammar is beyond horrible.

For w hat it's worth, here's how they seem to work
the price seems to be the land value of the property plus 25/30% of the improvements value. Both as per tax assessor. These guys are floating $$ too so they kinda have to close within a tiny window....maybe 5 days. They need to get it bought, fixed and resold within a couple of months. Houses that have structural foundation issues...they won't buy as it takes too much time to deal with and let the foundation settle to get the rest of reno done. Plus structural issues usually mean house cannot sell via FHA or VA mortgage - which is like 90% of most regular house sales mortgages.

There seems to be a bit f bait & switch to these guys too, as they will state a figure and then send over a subcontractor who finds something to lower the price, like an easement or property line issues. For older houses in older neighborhoods, both are pretty common to just be there but not a real issue for doing a traditional Realtor sale. But theses guys use this stuff as a ruse to the pressured or less sophisticated seller to lower price at the last minutia.
They are scum
Igloo, I just called our Treasurer's Office; they do not keep track of age or the status of property taxes is online, as today almost everything including the type of fingernail polish or who services my car is literally available for a sleuth (just being sarcastic, of course).

A light went off as I read your first message; I'm guessing this would be Donald Trump is looking online for properties for which senior tax deferrals till February have been filed, then going after these seniors, thinking that we're hard up, don't have funds to pay taxes, and would jump at a sale, however low balled.

The woman with whom I spoke in the Treasurers Office kept saying "Um hmmm" as if she was experienced with this sleuthing phenomenon, and suggested contacting the police, which I will do if the contact continues.

This is almost as bad as hacking - prying around to find out who's paid taxes and who's deferred them. It's none of anyone's business except the Treasurer's Office.

I also remember reading somewhere that crooks and snoopers generally determine that a resident is older if there's a flag flying out front. I guess they think all veterans and even younger retired military somehow age several decades when they start to fly flags.

I like the idea of a CCW permit, but in my own house, I have more than enough to stop any intruder. However, I was thinking of getting something like a cap pistol or something appearing to be real just to keep in the car.

It would be interesting if someone sent a subcontractor (who I wouldn't even let in) who claimed an easement or property issue. He'd find himself up against someone who probably knows more about real estate than he did - with several years in commercial real estate development and finance I could easily outtalk him and talk him down!

First thing I'd do if anyone made such claims is demand that he pay for and provide me a copy of an ALTA survey. The cost would stop him on the spot. But it would be nice to get a free survey.

I'm changing my "no solicitor" sign to add people who want to buy my house.
Garden - also doing estate sales brings out the low ball house buyers. They have the address and just do a easy match up to find owner & target the " we buy your house" letter that way.

One of my childhood friends, mom died last year & her house is a block over from my late moms house. They did an estate sale to jettison the 50+ years of crapola but are keeping the house. They got inundated with "we buy your house" letters right afterward. They haven't opened probate yet (tx allows 4 years to do) so the only way was by the estate sale. She's pretty savvy, has a Realtor license & does site selection for developers, but was amazed at how bold the flippers are. A couple went onto the property to peek inside via the service alley too. Sneaky scum bags.

We're both lucky in that the old 'hood has quite a few owners who have inherited their parents or grandparents home so grew up knowing both our parents so look out for the houses on a personal level and rentals aren't really done, so you notice outsiders. Good neighbors are priceless!
I get those letters, too for my rental houses. I think they troll the county tax records looking for owner addresses that don't match the property address. They look to be hand-written on small legal pad paper, but since I have gotten several identical letters from different "people", I dismiss them as a scam or, at the least, an attempt to get the houses way below market.
Another inexpensive "security" measure is a recording of a large, viscious-sounding dog barking! Hit it when you need to or set it to go off periodically with a timer. LOL!
GardenArtist, I might also just give the local cops a call. One never knows what latest schemes are out there. Can't hurt.

Keep the conversation going (or start a new one)

Please enter your Comment

Ask a Question

Reach thousands of elder care experts and family caregivers
Get answers in 10 minutes or less
Receive personalized caregiving advice and support