Problem: A property I can't see!

Problem: A property I can't see!

Well, I got an email from a guy named Ron in response to one of my craigslist ads. He lives in Arizona with his mom. His grandmother just died in October and the ownership passed to her daughter, Ron's mother. The house is only ten minutes away from where we live here in NJ. He's asking $30K for it, but he can't let me in to see the house and his mom won't agree to sign a letter of authorization which would give me the chance to have the local authorities let me into the home to look at it. It's an inner-city home and the other houses on the block are boarded-up, but nearby houses have been selling in that lower-range. I offered $20K and Ron said he couldn't go that low, asked if we could meet in the middle. I countered with $25K and said that I had a contingency in the contract that me and my end buyer had to be allowed to inspect the home before closing. If he doesn't agree to let us in the house before closing, should I just walk away from it?



"He who is mighty has done great things for me...He has...exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things..." Matt. 1:49-53


step back, but he'll most likely come to you with another counter like $27.5k or $28k

If you can still it to your end-buyer, scoop it up pronto and then move on

Elix, Yes, I'm planning to


Yes, I'm planning to assign it, so I figure, get it under contract for 30 days and see if I can move it to another investor. If I can't assign it, then move on.


"He who is mighty has done great things for me...He has...exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things..." Matt. 1:49-53

A couple of things

Hi Vincent,

1. Are you certain that Ron has the legal right to be dealing with you on the sale of his grandma's house? I know we like to think the best of everyone, but you don't know this person. Unless you have some one on one communication with his mom, there is no way for you to know if she is even in on this deal. It's just curious that if she is on board with the sale, that she won't allow you into the home. Why on earth not? If she doesn't want it and wants to unload it, you'd think she'd be more than happy to let you in. Even if she's afraid it's a horrible mess, she didn't cause it. Or, could it be grandman died, Ron saw your ad and thought he'd go ahead and sell you the house without his mom even knowing.

2. The other houses on the block being boarded up. This block sounds as distressed and depressed as it could get. You mention other houses in the neighborhood going in the lower range but are these houses boarded up and surrounded by other boarded up houses on their blocks? If not, could be they are not true comps to the house you are thinking of buying. Are you sure your buyer is going to want to buy a house in what essentially sounds like a dead block? Hard to figure out what his exit strategy would be. You're not going to fix and flip a house surrounded by empty houses and who would want to rent a house surrounded by empty houses?

If houses on blocks that are not in as bad a shape as the block your house is on are selling for $25K, then Ron's mom's house is probably not worth that.

It will be interesting to hear what Ron's response is to your latest offer. Please keep us posted.



Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward. - Amelia Earhart

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard

Buy the entire block

Great point Cindy.

I would investigate the other houses on the block, who or what bank owns them, are they on the auction block, tax sale, etc. Maybe for your $25K you could pick up 5 of them and turn the entire block around to a profitable state.
Do your due diligence b4 you rush into this. Sounds like this seller won't be going anywhere soon.

Hi Cindy, Good point. The

Hi Cindy,

Good point. The title should already have passed to his mother, so it's his mother's house now. It's still a FSBO, so is there really a problem with legal rights? Ron said the mother wasn't comfortable with that idea, even though I said I would be going through the house with a city official, I wouldn't be able to run off with anything! I also didn't mention that they had an appraiser walk through the place in October, because there are a lot of items in the home, including older collectible items. The grandparents used the first floor as a grocery/sundae shop up until the '80s, so maybe the mother's worried about someone taking things from there. I think they are hoping the value of the collectibles within the home will justify their asking price somewhat. It sounds like there is definitely emotional attachment involved. Like you said, why wouldn't they just want to unload it, especially since they're in Arizona and they own it virtually free and clear. Property taxes are eating up money more than anything for them right now (even though they're low).

It's definitely a sticky situation with determining FMV since I can't get inside the home! I'm between a rock and a hard place right now.

Lynx, yeah, the advisory suggested the same thing. Perhaps I should switch from the one house for $25K with five vacants to five rehabs with one decent looking vacant!



"He who is mighty has done great things for me...He has...exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things..." Matt. 1:49-53

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