Home Buying in Detroit>Question Details

Francis.dolan, Home Buyer in Detroit, MI

Can anyone tell me is it legal to sell a house in Detroit with delinquent taxes if you specifically ask about taxes and they told you it was free?

Asked by Francis.dolan, Detroit, MI Sun Oct 7, 2012

I am from UK and bought a house in Detroit from a UK agent; I asked about taxes, bank loans and other liens and was told it was free from encumbrance. it turned out to have $6700 delinquent taxes and was under foreclosure order.

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I don't understand how a UK agent could sell you anything in the US. Talk to a Real Estate attorney.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
The precise legal recourse available to you depends on several factors, and you would be wise to contact a real estate attorney in Detroit.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
I'm not sure about UK agents but I know that any agent over here would be required to tell you things like back taxes owed if they had knowledge of the fact. I would talk to an attorney about this.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Thanks for you reply. I now have an agent in Detroit and I've asked for him to find a lawyer for me. I just wondered if anyone knew what legal grounds i might have.
Flag Sun Oct 7, 2012
If you have any record of the conversation, an email or written correspondence, take that to a local real estate attorney and ask what they recommend. If the UK agent is licensed in the US or is local and practicing without a license you may have a course of action against them. Only an attorney can tell you for certain. Many will give you an initial consultation for free or a low flat fee. Without proof it will come down to your word against theirs.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012

thank you very much for this - I do have the emails asking the specific question and getting a categorical answer so I do have some measure of proof. I have no idea how the UK agent is operating - I suspect through a US intermediary. But I'll do as you suggest and contact a local real estate lawyer. thanks again
Flag Mon Oct 8, 2012
You bought a house in Detroit using a UK agent…who is probably not licensed to sell real estate in Michigan. In the U.S., states issues licenses to sell real estate.

You did not go through an escrow company or obtain title insurance or you would have known about the delinquent taxes and, probably, about the imminent foreclosure.

You say you bought a house but you probably do not own the property since the holder of the loan would not release the deed to you unless the loan was paid off.

You have been victimized by your UK agent. You should seek legal advice to determine if you can obtain any redress.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Real estate is a world of proof. Everything that is told to you can be verified somewhere.

Investors should always require proof of recordings, tax records, title documents, etc to ensure that a property can be safely transferred.

It's not illegal if someone buys without this proof, but certainly not in their best interest.

It is however, unethical. If this info was given by a licensed US agent, you have recourse.

Otherwise there are several legal outfits that are beginning to help overseas investors who have suffered fraud.

Try Heidi Sharp
Burgess and Sharp
(586) 226-2627

I can't promise she'll take your case but she will try to help.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Did you have a loan on the purchase? If so, a lender would require Title Insurance to protect you from this happening. Contact the Title Insurance Company first thing tomorrow. There should be no cost to you as you already paid for this with the policy.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
Unfortunately I bought it cash and the agent never mentioned anything about title insurance. I was worried about outstanding taxes or any loans or debts on the property which was why I asked the question and was assured it was totally debt free. As I said this turned out to be untrue.
Flag Sun Oct 7, 2012
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