Scam Offer Letters: Questions to Ask to Protect Yourself

Scam Offer Letters: Questions to Ask to Protect Yourself


Hi, I’m Beth with TB Properties Buys Land. Last week we discussed a client of ours who had received several scam offers and was concerned about entering into a safe and legitimate transaction when selling her property, herself. It was a case study in which we were purchasing land from them in Washington State. The wife was smart and naturally was concerned about whether ours was a scam offer as well, and whether she would be safe when selling her bare land to TB Properties Buys Land. I discussed her story with you last week in detail, but I thought I would expound upon that this week with regards to scam offers and how to protect yourself.

So if you receive an offer in the mail to purchase your rural vacant land, a couple questions that you might want to ask the investor is, one, “have you done this before? How long have you been working in this industry and been purchasing property for?” You want to make sure that they’re not brand new and that they know what they’re doing. Be sure to find out if they have they worked in this particular county before and what title company they’d be using.

So that leads us to question number two, which is, “how are you planning to close?” If they’re not planning to close through a title company, I would walk away. You don’t have to. This is not legal advice, but the safest way to sell your property is through a title company. There are many different land investors out there who will purchase your property and they call it a self-close. Basically they do is they do their own research on the front end, and then they pull the paperwork. They’ll send a deed to you. You sign off on the deed and they pay you, but you have to feel safe that they’re actually going to pay you for that property before it’s conveyed.

Sometimes they’ll solicit the use of a third party, a notary. The notary will notarize your deed right there at your doorstep or at a local Starbucks. At the same time they’ll have a cashier’s check or hopefully not a personal check. Again, that’s a big red flag, but they’ll have a check to pay you. Can this be done safely? Yes, it can be. But are you sure that it’s being done safely? My recommendation, not my legal advice, but my recommendation personally would be to always close through a title company.

Another question that you’d want to ask is how fast can you close? If they’re going to need months to close, that could be a problem, and there could be a couple reasons for that. You want to also ask them, “how are you planning to pay for this? Are you be paying in cash or do you need to get a loan or work with a lender in order to purchase the property?” If they need to get a loan, whether it’s through a bank or private lending, there could be extra time needed in order to purchase that. That lender may require an appraiser, and depending on the area that you’re in, it could take months for them to get out there. Maybe they require a survey. Maybe there’s other information that’s needed, but the longest time it takes is just to get that lender to approve the loan. And that could take 60 days, could take 90 days. So be aware of that.

If they’re paying cash, there’s an opportunity to close as fast as two to three weeks. Normally four weeks is sufficient if people are paying in cash. Another reason that you want to know how fast it’s going to take for them to close is some land investors, what they try to do is they try to sell your property and flip it before they’ve even purchased your property. So maybe they don’t even plan to pay for your property. They’ve planned to line up a buyer for your property, and that buyer will ultimately pay for yours.

Now why is that a problem? Well, it could be a problem if it takes them months and months and months to sell your property, to find a buyer lined up. So your benefit, you as a seller, your benefit to working with a company like TB Properties Buys Land or another investor, is you could sell your fast and you know what you’re going to get for it.

If you put it on the MLS, you may think you’re going to get a certain price point, but then two months later, you lower your price and it’s not moving. You’re not getting people out there and you lower your price. So you don’t know what you’re going to sell your property for when you put it on the MLS. But with a land investor, boom, you know that you’re going to sell your property in about three weeks, maybe four. You know exactly what you’re going to get for it, and it’s done. You don’t have to mess around with it. So if this land investor is hoping to assign the contract to somebody in that time period, they might be pushing your closing date back and pushing your closing date back again.

If you’re okay with that, fine, but these are questions you may want to ask upfront so that you know what to expect. If you want to get paid in two, three, four weeks, then you need to make sure that they’re paying in cash, that they’re closing through a title company and that they’re not planning to try to sell your property in that time period, which could just delay your closing more.

These are just a few red flags to watch out for. The reason that TB Properties Buys Land closes through a title company is for your safety, as well as ours. We want to make sure that the chain of title is clean. That protects us. We want to make sure that you feel safe, and you feel safe because you know that we’re going to pay with certified funds to that title company and they’re not going to convey the title to us until they have those funds, until all the paperwork’s signed.

So there’s safety on your end, there’s safety on our end and you can feel assured that we’re going to be able to close quickly since we do pay in cash. We’re not looking to flip your property while before close of the transaction. There are times that we hold onto it. There’s times that we make some changes to it, driveways, things like that, and upgrade it. But you can feel assured you’re going to get paid quickly by working with TB Properties Buys Land. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to us, but do ask some of these questions when you’re working with a land investor. Thanks.

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