Local concerns about land offers

By Shari Harris
, Co-Publisher

If you have received an unsolicited offer from an out-of-state company to buy your property in the past few weeks, you’re not alone. At least two Texas County residents received mail from a company called Parcel Purchases, from Dallas, Texas. The would-be buyer had the land owners’ names, the parcel numbers, legal description and acreage of their properties, all of which is public information available through the courthouse.

The envelope contained a cover letter and a purchase and sale agreement. The cover letter promised a fast and hassle free transaction, with the company paying closing costs. Just sign and return the purchase agreement and they would contact you.

According to Terry W. Moore, Executive Director of the Missouri Real Estate Commission (MREC), this appears to be what is known as “wholesaling” property. The buyer offers to purchase property at a price well below market value (as was done in both of the local letters). The buyer typically offers incentives, in this case paying closing costs and reducing hassles, to make the offer more attractive. As soon as the contract is signed, the buyer will try to sell the property at a higher price. If the buyer is unable to sell the property before the closing date, often included in the contract is a contingency clause allowing the buyer to terminate the contract. This was included in the purchase agreements received locally, as was a statement that the property “meets Buyer’s purchasing requirements.” Yet nowhere does it state what those purchasing requirements are. There is no contingency for the seller to terminate the contract.

“Wholesaling” property is not illegal in Missouri. Someone needing money in a hurry might look at the offer as a blessing, even at the lower rate. They may be sadly mistaken if the buyer is unable to resell the property before closing and decides to terminate the agreement.

If you are considering this type of a through-the-mail offer for your property, consider talking to a real estate agent first. If a business in Texas can sell your property quickly for a higher price, you’ve paid someone a lot of money for that quick sale. Shouldn’t you get that money, not them?



Last Weeks Top Story