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In Memory
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REAL ESTATE MORAL DILEMMA

Awhile back, relatively young adult grandson was driving around just for fun fairly near our rural home. He saw a little dirt road off the one he was driving on & turned into it. Which turned out to be a long driveway into an old run down occupied shack. About ½ way down the drive was a FOR SALE SIGN.

So he knocked on the door & inquired. A feeble old man about 85 (estimate) answered the door & told him he had 10 acres he would sell for $100K of the 15 he owned there.

Old guy said he need the money as he recently had to pay for his wife's funeral-burial, his old truck was about dead, his roof was starting to leak & he was very near broke. He said you are the 1st to inquire since I put a sign up 3 months ago. (no wonder, as no one could see it driving by, without driving down the driveway).

Grandson said he could not afford it & left, but stopped back by the place a few days later just to just check on the old guy & eyeball the property again. At which time the old guy told him “ how about $80K for the ten acres”. Grandson said he would tell his Dad about it & left again. My son told me about it & along with my grandson, I went for a look-see.

Eyeballing revealed nice flat ridge top rolling meadow view property land, worth a hell of a lot more than $8K an acre.

Went to write the old guy a $2500 refundable earnest money check with total purchase price of $80K, to give me a week to run a title check, (see if the 10 acres could be subdivided in half, but didn't tell him that). The old guy asked for $2500 CASH, as he wasn’t sure his old beater would make it to town & back more than a few more times, as it was running so bad
.
I said OKAY, we went home, got the cash, computer wrote/printed out the deal, returned, he signed off on it & I gave him the cash.

Next day title company confirmed a clean title, county records revealed low due taxes & it could be subdivided into two (2) five (5) acre rural residential parcels with a RLS completed survey plat.

Penciled it all out, surveyed & divided, minor road building, perk test both parcels (no doubt in my mind they will pass) total cost under $20K.

Had my attorney draw up necessary paperwork, went and got the guy (he did not have a phone or internet), took him to my attorneys office, his notary to sign off on it & gave him a cashiers for $77.5K, took him to his bank to deposit the check & gave him a ride home, done deal.

Five (5) acre mini ranch view parcels there are selling for around $300 / $350K each. My moral dilemma is, obviously (to me) the seller did not know or realize the current actual cash value of the 10 acres he sold. Although its a done deal, I’m starting to feel like I unfairly “screwed” the old guy.

I’m thinking about giving him more money. Am I stupid, or what?
 

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Premium Member
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If you’re going to keep both parcels in your family, in other words not turn around and sell one or both, paying his asking price is moral in my opinion.
I would, however, look out for him and help him out as long as he lived there. Be the good neighbor.
 

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"TURGID FLUX"
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Send some roofers over, also find him a newer truck. Tell him you are fixing up the neighborhood.

Sent from my SM-T350 using Tapatalk
 

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You paid his asking price.

If You keep it/as long as you keep it, do not worry.

If You decide to sell it, check in on how he is doing after you sell and then decide if you want to give him more money.

Add him to the Christmas list.t


Remember: he could of advertised differently. your grandson did the work he refused to do. (Sounds like grandson should be in for a cut.)
 

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Comic, not your lawyer!
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Legally, probably no obligation. (*duress could theoretically come into play.)

Morally, let's review. The old timer was seemingly distraught (having put his wife in the ground), unsophisticated (only advertising was a poorly placed sign, and he didn't know the true value far more than his asking price), and in duress (given his dire urgent financial predicament). You unwittingly got a far better deal than expected. I think it would be a good moral code, karma, good tidings, etc. whatever you might say to float the man something significant. Maybe land that with anti-sale covenants that reverts back to you upon his death, or enjoyment of some land until he passes, or cash, or a new vehicle, or buy him a new roof, or something ....

And you probably know this deep inside or wouldn't be asking...
 

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reluctant sinner
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Wow, I don't read about things like that every day. You should do something nice for the finder - a really nice gun would work, maybe with inlays and engraved to him from you.

At least a tune up on his truck, a roof repair sounds good.

I'd bet the old guy would value the company every so often more than stuff.

You Sir are a very nice guy.
 

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Beware of the dog!
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Wow! And, Wow!
First wow is for the great purchase you made.
Second wow is for the great responses to your question in your original post. I really expected several responses similar to "Forget him, his loss, your gain." Kudos to everyone who posted above.
I like the idea of helping the old man out. Helping with the roof would be awesome. Helping him locate a reliable used truck would be a generous step above the roof, no pun intended.
Adopting him as extended family is also a great idea.

Somewhat similar, when I bought my property and decided to frame and build the house myself the 76 year old neighbor showed up that first Monday and told me he was helping me build a house, no discussion, it was happening. As a result, I am there when he needs anything, the kids go help him when he asks, and as time goes on I will step up and offer more help as needed. It's just the right thing to do, you know, for us good folk.
 

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I think, at his age, a helping and caring neighbor will mean more and be more valuable than money. I am curious, does he have children? Is he a nice guy or a mean old hermit? I have found that sometimes there is a reason older folks are left alone. Some of them spent a lifetime earning it. Others, not so much.

I would also wonder a bit about his mental capacity, is it fading? Another thought, money in his account will be seized if he needs any kind of care. Part of the reason I think a helping hand might be worth more.
 

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this is actually not that uncommon. you can get property for free essentially by drawing up a living contract where the owner keeps the property until they pass, and it comes to you. in the meantime, you pay everything, monthly allowance, etc.

sort of like a reverse mortgage, and usually it's old people on a farm with no family.

My FIL has gotten several tracts of land and a home/small farm this way.

as to the OP, I see nothing wrong with paying the sellers asking price. I would maybe have negotiated something like a land contract so the owner gets some income stream and doesn't blow it all (and I get a better deal) but that's just me.
 

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Yup... good deal. No moral problems with his asking price. He wanted to sell. You met his price. However, his price may have been unwittingly low. Help the old dude out. He doesn't have a phone? Get him a basic cell phone to call his family, 911 etc. Fix his truck some. Take him a good dinner once a week. Stuff like that. Try to work a deal for the remaining 5 acres. You work to improve, clear, clean up etc and you get first refusal on any sale or something like that.
 

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REAL ESTATE MORAL DILEMMA

Awhile back, relatively young adult grandson was driving around just for fun fairly near our rural home. He saw a little dirt road off the one he was driving on & turned into it. Which turned out to be a long driveway into an old run down occupied shack. About ½ way down the drive was a FOR SALE SIGN.

So he knocked on the door & inquired. A feeble old man about 85 (estimate) answered the door & told him he had 10 acres he would sell for $100K of the 15 he owned there.

Old guy said he need the money as he recently had to pay for his wife's funeral-burial, his old truck was about dead, his roof was starting to leak & he was very near broke. He said you are the 1st to inquire since I put a sign up 3 months ago. (no wonder, as no one could see it driving by, without driving down the driveway).

Grandson said he could not afford it & left, but stopped back by the place a few days later just to just check on the old guy & eyeball the property again. At which time the old guy told him “ how about $80K for the ten acres”. Grandson said he would tell his Dad about it & left again. My son told me about it & along with my grandson, I went for a look-see.

Eyeballing revealed nice flat ridge top rolling meadow view property land, worth a hell of a lot more than $8K an acre.

Went to write the old guy a $2500 refundable earnest money check with total purchase price of $80K, to give me a week to run a title check, (see if the 10 acres could be subdivided in half, but didn't tell him that). The old guy asked for $2500 CASH, as he wasn’t sure his old beater would make it to town & back more than a few more times, as it was running so bad
.
I said OKAY, we went home, got the cash, computer wrote/printed out the deal, returned, he signed off on it & I gave him the cash.

Next day title company confirmed a clean title, county records revealed low due taxes & it could be subdivided into two (2) five (5) acre rural residential parcels with a RLS completed survey plat.

Penciled it all out, surveyed & divided, minor road building, perk test both parcels (no doubt in my mind they will pass) total cost under $20K.

Had my attorney draw up necessary paperwork, went and got the guy (he did not have a phone or internet), took him to my attorneys office, his notary to sign off on it & gave him a cashiers for $77.5K, took him to his bank to deposit the check & gave him a ride home, done deal.

Five (5) acre mini ranch view parcels there are selling for around $300 / $350K each. My moral dilemma is, obviously (to me) the seller did not know or realize the current actual cash value of the 10 acres he sold. Although its a done deal, I’m starting to feel like I unfairly “screwed” the old guy.

I’m thinking about giving him more money. Am I stupid, or what?
I think worth more than giving him money, give him a hand and support from your family. Your son is watching give him something money can't. Everyone could use an extra grandpa, lot to learn here for everyone. You're a good man let it show.
 

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You could also look at it as, you gave him the cash he needed right then and helped the guy out.

About a year ago a friend of mine was in a tight spot and was selling off his brand new(still in the box) but several year old welding equipment for about 1/10 what he paid for it. I didn't really have the cash to spare but jumped in and bought it at his price. I told him I would hang onto it for a few months and sell it back to him at the same price once he got on his feet again. In the mean time he has move and no longer has a place for it. I may be selling it in the near future and should make some money on it.

I look at it as I helped the guy out. If I hadn't bought it chances are someone else would have offered a lower price and him being desperate for cash he would have taken it. So he would have less money and no chance of buying it back. You can look at it as I helped him out or I screwed him over, either way he got the cash he needed at the moment.
 

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He set a price and it doesn't seem like you wanted to take advantage BUT since he's older i'd look out for him and fix stuff if needed.
 

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A marathon not a sprint
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I see no obligation to befriend him beyond being a good neighbour or make him family , but I would have agreed the 100k he originally asked for was more than fair and paid that . Seriously , you asked because you know you would not want that to happen to one of your own and there is more in life than money , knowing you did the right thing . It actually is what he asked for and is still a great deal .
 

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REAL ESTATE MORAL DILEMMA

Awhile back, relatively young adult grandson was driving around just for fun fairly near our rural home. He saw a little dirt road off the one he was driving on & turned into it. Which turned out to be a long driveway into an old run down occupied shack. About ½ way down the drive was a FOR SALE SIGN.

So he knocked on the door & inquired. A feeble old man about 85 (estimate) answered the door & told him he had 10 acres he would sell for $100K of the 15 he owned there.

Old guy said he need the money as he recently had to pay for his wife's funeral-burial, his old truck was about dead, his roof was starting to leak & he was very near broke. He said you are the 1st to inquire since I put a sign up 3 months ago. (no wonder, as no one could see it driving by, without driving down the driveway).

Grandson said he could not afford it & left, but stopped back by the place a few days later just to just check on the old guy & eyeball the property again. At which time the old guy told him “ how about $80K for the ten acres”. Grandson said he would tell his Dad about it & left again. My son told me about it & along with my grandson, I went for a look-see.

Eyeballing revealed nice flat ridge top rolling meadow view property land, worth a hell of a lot more than $8K an acre.

Went to write the old guy a $2500 refundable earnest money check with total purchase price of $80K, to give me a week to run a title check, (see if the 10 acres could be subdivided in half, but didn't tell him that). The old guy asked for $2500 CASH, as he wasn’t sure his old beater would make it to town & back more than a few more times, as it was running so bad
.
I said OKAY, we went home, got the cash, computer wrote/printed out the deal, returned, he signed off on it & I gave him the cash.

Next day title company confirmed a clean title, county records revealed low due taxes & it could be subdivided into two (2) five (5) acre rural residential parcels with a RLS completed survey plat.

Penciled it all out, surveyed & divided, minor road building, perk test both parcels (no doubt in my mind they will pass) total cost under $20K.

Had my attorney draw up necessary paperwork, went and got the guy (he did not have a phone or internet), took him to my attorneys office, his notary to sign off on it & gave him a cashiers for $77.5K, took him to his bank to deposit the check & gave him a ride home, done deal.

Five (5) acre mini ranch view parcels there are selling for around $300 / $350K each. My moral dilemma is, obviously (to me) the seller did not know or realize the current actual cash value of the 10 acres he sold. Although its a done deal, I’m starting to feel like I unfairly “screwed” the old guy.

I’m thinking about giving him more money. Am I stupid, or what?
Im not one to take advantage of someone. But people also have to do their due diligence. I would be a good neighbor and help him out over the years. I think that would be more useful than a lump sum right now which he could burn through, be swindled out of etc.
 

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I see no obligation to befriend him beyond being a good neighbour or make him family , but I would have agreed the 100k he originally asked for was more than fair and paid that . Seriously , you asked because you know you would not want that to happen to one of your own and there is more in life than money , knowing you did the right thing . It actually is what he asked for and is still a great deal .
$20k (or $2k) later may have much greater value to him than now on top of the money burning in his pocket.

He may of simply been unfortunate, but many older people without money have poor management skills/life habits and it is more likely to be wasted vs later.
 
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