Watch out for real estate agents bearing odd full price offers.

I recently talked to a woman who told me a weird story. She is selling her house herself for $449k in order to move to a bigger house nearby. She got a call from someone who said he wanted to buy the house for someone else, but he was not a broker and did not expect a commission.

With her OK, he first sent an appraiser and then he came by with “his wife” to check it out. Shortly thereafter he sent her a P&S for $549k (100k MORE than her asking price) and a document giving him a 16% (that’s one, six) commission. (Turns out he was a broker after all.)

She called him on the irregularity of the deal and he had no explanation that made any sense. All he said was that she would net $449k. He would get the rest, which he would use for “marketing.” So she refused to sign the P&S.

Based on what I have heard from people who work at large lenders it sounds like this guy plans to buy the house, mortgage if for 100% of the false price (or as close he can get), keep everything above the $449k and walk on the mortgage, leaving the bank holding the bag.

If that is what he was doing, then it might be possible for the bank to come after the seller since she knew the actual selling price was only $449k, not the $549k on the P&S which she would have signed. That could be fraud.

If a deal sounds weird, it’s probably not “clean.” I recommend that you review any such offers with a good real estate lawyer.

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