Carol Williams and Anna "the top banana" Kruchten have challenged us to write about the craziest real estate sale we've ever had, and I had to stop and think for a minute. Which one should I choose? I've had a few pretty crazy sales in the past five years.
One stands out, and even though it ultimately closed, I'm not 100% we were ever fully confident that it should have. It started out fine. I had a buyer looking for a private property where he could keep his bomb sniffing dogs when he wasn't training them at a local facility. He was concerned that neighbors might be concerned about the temperament of the dogs since they had a unique occupation. So, he wanted something very private.
He would only be in town during the work week. It really boiled down to a place to sleep and then work. Weekends were spent at home in another community. After a few disappointing showings, we found the perfect location. No immediate neighbors, a stream ran by the home and the house was not visible from any roads. Perfect.
We wrote a contract and it was immediately accepted. So far, so good. The home inspection went well and the seller made a few repairs. Things were still flowing along perfectly. Then it started to come off the rails.
The closing attorney contacted me and told me he didn't think the seller owned the property. What? It turns out that the seller was the daughter of the deceased owner, who may not have owned the property. The gentleman who sold it to the currently deceased owner may not have owned it either.
The first suspected owner used the house as a weekend getaway where he shacked up with his girlfriend. She was a legitimate owner of the property. When she died, the property was passed to the boyfriend. The only problem was there was no record of the transaction. The first suspected owner also passed away right after he sold it to the currently deceased owner.
When the attorneys tracked down the family of the first suspected owner, they referred them to a son who worked in corrections and was hard to reach. Finally, they reached him, but he would not cooperate in solving the mystery because he resented his father having an affair. The other siblings followed suit.
The attorneys decided to go back in time and look for records related to the girlfriend, which were sparse. So they looked for her death record, but there was none to be found. They asked if we could get a photograph of her headstone to confirm her date of birth and that she was indeed deceased. We found out that she had been cremated and her remains were buried under a rock on the property. They were long gone.
We found out that first suspected owner had also been cremated and his ashes were dropped in the creek. Finally, a record of the girlfriend's death was found in the state capital, and the process moved to the boyfriend's ownership. There was no deed recorded in the courthouse and the only thing we had to go on was his word prior to his death.
A neighbor, who knew both the boyfriend and the girlfriend, came forward and laid out what he knew about them, and the story started to take on some sense of sanity. When it was all said and done, after months of research and endless stone walls, a title company accepted the neighbor's testimony of events and the property went to closing. They accepted that the currently deceased owner did actually own the property. The rest of us walked away from the closing table still scratching our heads, confused and not really convinced that any of the previous owners actually owned the property.
*I did go back and pulled the file and yes, a title policy was issued for the sale.
Submitted to the December Challenge: Your Craziest Transaction.