Dear Monty, if I wanted to verify if a real estate agent has sold a house to a relative, which is illegal in Connecticut, how would I go about verifying? In my opinion, she sold my mother’s house too cheaply at $ 196,000. The house had a 4 acre lot with a remodeled Cape Cod on a dead end road in the country.
Monty’s response: Checking out who is close to a person is complicated. Suppose the person you are looking to learn more about is an “average” person, and most of us are. In this case, blood relatives and family relationships are a little easier to trace. But with non-blood relatives, it may take interviews with multiple family members to find out where to start.
If I was curious about a person’s lineage, I would start by asking the person I want to know more about. Finding loved ones becomes much more difficult when the person’s name is John Smith and they may not want their family to be searched.
Some genealogists will research family histories for a fee. According to their standards of practice, they will seek permission from family members before accepting assignments. https://bit.ly/3J6UDtQ
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I don’t know of any state that prevents a real estate agent from selling a property to a relative. Still, I am aware that most states require written disclosure and written acceptance from the customer “before” this event.
Have you told your mother about your concern? Can she show you the comparable sales that the real estate agent chose to share with her as being really comparable when discussing the value of the home? Does your mother feel like she accepted less than she should have? How long has the property been on the market – two days or two years? Time in the market leaves a trail that is much easier to follow than finding potential parents.
You haven’t revealed what “too cheap” means. Have there been any price reductions along the way? Were there other offers? How many? How many times? What is the reason given by the people who looked at the house and died? What is the condition of the house? There are many property data points that could affect what a willing, fully informed, non-coerced buyer would be willing to pay based on these responses.
Here is an article from Dear Monty on challenging a real estate appraisal. http://bit.ly/KNr9N3. You dispute a sale price, which is a very similar event. This may or may not provide information that will confirm your hunch that the house was worth more. My experience is that country homes are more difficult to value than properties within municipal boundaries because there are fewer comparable sales to the property in question. Some reviewers will decline rural assignments for this reason.
Consider seeking to understand the range of home values ââat the time of sale. Was $ 196,000 at the bottom of the value range? If you ordered a dozen reviews today, you would get a dozen different responses and they would vary by over 25% within that price range for a country property.
Richard Montgomery is the author of “House Money: An Insider’s Secrets to Saving Thousands When You Buy or Sell a Home”. He advocates for industry reform and offers readers unbiased real estate advice. Follow him on Twitter at @dearmonty, or at DearMonty.com
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