Purchase property scam.

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My elderly friend wanted to sell her home, and signed a contract with someone to pay her $15,000 for it, with which she could pay off mortgage. He gave her $500 earnest money, but hasn't gone forward to close deal. In the contract, there was a paragraph that said if buyer spent up to $15,000 rehabbing the property, and sale didn't go through, that she would owe him that amount of money, He has done some work on property, and now says she owes him $14,000. (Not much has actually been done). I think this was just a scam to make her pay a lot of money for for work she didn't want, and there was no intention from the beginning for him to actually buy. She is over 80 years old, and this will wipe out what little she has. Any suggestions, or a lawyer you might recommend to assist?

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I have the feeling that the need for advice has ended.
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JFreeman, who had advised the owner to put on a deadbolt on the door? I can understand the Buyer calling the police if his equipment, materials, and tools are inside the house. Those are his belongings, even if this turned out to be a scam, I believe he is entitled to retrieve them.

This does smell of a scam, why would anyone tell an Owner they will pay $15k for the house and make $14k of repairs, too.... then the cost to the Buyer would be $29k. Why spend $29k on a $15k house?

Do you know if the owner is of clear mind? Age shouldn't matter, my boss is up in age and runs a successful business where we are dealing with contracts, legal wording, etc. But what would matter is if the Owner understood what she was signing, and if she even knew about if the sale doesn't go through, that she owes for the work completed.

If the Owner used a real estate company, depending on State law any repairs to the house by the Buyer is at their own risk prior to closing on the house. Thus, if the contract falls through, only the Earnest Money is returned. This can vary from State to State, and what the Owner and Buyer had agreed to.... if too out of range or sounds too fishy, the Realtor would advise the Owner not to sign.
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My statement became mixed up - I meant to query how the seller, who presumably still owns the home, could be accused of breaking and entering her own home. Sorry - my post was confusing.

I'm wondering what the police thought about this and whether they took any action.
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Bablou raises a good question. How can someone who allegedly was purchasing a home break and enter into that home when the transaction was never completed?

I think we might be missing some critical information here.

JFreeman, can you help us out with answers to our questions so we can better help you?
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Did she contact the police? If the sale did not go through, how is she breaking and entering?

Is there someone who can accompany her to the lawyer?
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I think your friend really has been targeted by this individual. If I were in her situation, I'd be cleaning my gun! Seriously.
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My friend has been referred to an attorney in her area and will be seeing him this week. She did put a deadbolt on the door, so now the "buyer" has called the police and charged her with breaking and entering. Let's hope the attorney is a good one! Thanks for your suggestions and for caring---
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From what I understand about this one aspect of real estate law: If the seller performed in good faith and did not cancel or interfere with the sale, then the sale did not go through because the buyer caused it. No judge, Imop, would make her pay, instead she should be suing to enforce the sale; or for breach of contract.
This is just a lay person's opinion, to help you decide a direction to go in when consulting an attorney. Please protect this elder!
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FF, there are a lot of questions about this "transaction" that make me suspicious. I think your suggestion that the owner might not have been living there is insightful - that would allow the "contractor" to get away with a lot.

That's an interesting concept, and scam - fix up dilapidated or boarded up houses accompanied by an offer to purchase even though the real intent is to scam.

I ran into a few characters when I was getting bids to fix up my sister's house. I remember one that just raised the red flags repeatedly. It's been several years and I don't recall what the tip-offs were, but this guy was just so "all over the place" with his positions that I knew nothing he said could be relied on.

Just recently I tried to find someone to help with my yard. One who was recommended not only executed a right turn but did another right turn and wanted not to do what I wanted done, but to remove all the 300 or more patio stones from the garden and replace them all with grass. I figured he was mentally calculating multiples of what he could get if he could convince me to go so far beyond what I wanted and could afford.

Lot of bottom feeders out there.

It's unfortunate there are such bottom feeders preying on people. Too bad we can't send them to work for Donald Trump.
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Curious if the elder continued to live in the house will work was being done, or was this house boarded up and the buyer found out who was the owner?

One large red flag is the $14k of work... and since it isn't all that noticeable what had been done makes it questionable. Even behind the scenes work like re-writing the whole house and/or putting in all new plumbing, it wouldn't have been $14k. If it was, then it makes me think the house is actually worth much more in the sellable real estate market.
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