How would I find out whether the recent sale of a single family residence was part of a "straw" sale?

Asked by Julie L. Donnelly, Thu Aug 23, 2007

Home was sold for considerably less than fair market value by a professional conservator very quickly to what I discovered are individuals associated with property management and home loan interests

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#1, , San Francisco Bay Area
Thu Aug 23, 2007
You can find out who the buyer was by researching the county records. There is no way of telling what type of sale it was, just that it sold. In this market, homes are often selling for less than fair market value. Probate sales, where the family wants to quickly liquidate assets, a foreclosure or short sale. These sales in many cases to become comparable sales for appraisal purposes.
1 vote
Steven Pawera, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Aug 22, 2013
Straw buyers have hay falling out of the sleaves. :)

Seriously, is the buyer real? Does the buyer whose name appears as the owner of record know he bought a house? Does his real situation support him buying a house? Are payments being made on the new loan? To a lesser extent, did the buyer move in? Or rent the property out and the lessor is the same as the owner?

Hope that helps.
0 votes
Patti Philli…, , Carlsbad, CA
Fri Aug 24, 2007
Julie, My understanding of a "straw sale" would be just the opposite of a low price. What we have been warned about in our marketplace as straw sales is when a person comes in and offers far above the list price, asking for the seller to return a chunk of the money back to them. Then the buyer disappears with a chunk of cash in their pocket, and never makes a payment to the bank.

As Michelle said, perhaps the home needed considerable work, etc. It would be difficult to say without having been in the home, etc.

And yes, sometimes things don't always go on the up and up.

I'm not sure if we've really addressed your question?
Patti Phillips
0 votes
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Fri Aug 24, 2007
What is your actual concern here? Did you make a bid yourself-or want to? Are you worried someone got taken advantage of? If so, who-the seller?

In my experience, when a conservator is involved, the condition of the house is exceptionally poor--if the seller needs a conservator it's because they can no longer care for themselves, let alone a home. There may be extreme deferred maintenance, willful damage (especially if drugs or mental illness is involved). One sold in our area that was 2000 sf and literally was a shell requiring complete gutting--even with 50 bids at probate, it sold for a price considered $200K low for anything of its size in the neighborhood.

I'll ask you one question: did you ever get a chance to go in the home and see it for yourself? In our area, everyone was so excited about this property because of its low asking price; however as one of my clients said afterwards, "Can you smell it on me?"

Usually the only people willing (and actually experienced enough) to purchase and refurbish a home like this are professional contractors, investors, etc.

I hope this answer educates you and perhaps eases your mind.
As one of my clients
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