Legal Question in Real Estate Law in New Jersey

I have two separate issues. My son put a $250 down payment on a piece of land in a remote area. He is supposed to pay the owner + pay the taxes so much every month until it's paid off. the owner will hold the deed until he pays it off. It doesn't seem kosher to me. Brian does flip houses and is familiar with real estate transactions, but he got a bill of sale off the internet and they signed it and my son paid him the first $250. Is that kosher?

What doesn't sit right is that the land is dirt cheap - $5950 for an acre. My son didn't get any perk tests, or any other specifics about the land, and the owner didn't give him any information about it. My son said that he can park a motor home on the property while he builds a house. I don't even know if this is legal.

I'm concerned because he entered a deal with a woman to flip her house who just stole his money. My son gave her $1200 down payment for her house and then she refused to allow the agents to look at the house, and broke the lock box. Two agents and the lender wasted their time. My son is now out $1200 and has to go to civil court to get his money back. The cop told us to file a criminal complaint also. Will my son have to appear or does this just activate the police's ability to arrest her for theft by deception?

We filed a complaint for theft by deception, and in civil court. When the judge rules in Brian's favor, which he should, he still has to get his money back. Have you ever dealt with this? I read that the judge can attach their wages or force a sale of the house to pay debts.

Asked on 2/01/19, 1:42 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Miriam Jacobson Retired from practice of law

Why are you posting questions on this web site when your son is throwing around money for land, instead of his getting lawyers involved to protect his interests? No answer here will help him get his money back in the second instance, nor will it make "kosher" the deal he's in for the first land purchase. Even if he's experienced in flipping properties, this shouldn't be done on a bill of sale, which relates only to personal property, not to real property, which is what land is. Getting perk tests and other due diligence is something that has to be written into a land contract, and can't be just a condition that he thinks he has.

Lawyers aren't involved in real estate transactions just for themselves to make money; they are involved to assist their clients by alerting the clients to issues and risks and trying to minimize the risks or eliminate them, if possible. Sure, your son can save paying the lawyer's fee by going into the transaction on his own, but when everything blows up on him, it will cost him a whole lot more for the lawyers to save his butt later. It may not be only the money that he's paid, but he may have bought a lot of liabilities that he's not aware of.

I assume that your son is an adult, and that therefore he should be thinking of all of this on his own. You can't do it for him.


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Answered on 2/01/19, 1:57 pm

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