Investors on Terms: Definition

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Investors on Terms

PROXIMA INVESTORS are Investors on Terms!

Mansions in Sterling, Massachusetts. Right on golf courses, satisfying saltwater pools, luxurious wine cellars, comfortably large saunas, professionally equipped exercise rooms, multiple car garages, pristine level grounds, numerous and ubiquitous fireplaces, huge rooms and spaces, areas for all needs and purposes

Our primary objective in the course of our real estate investing business is to leverage deal terms to achieve a solution for Sellers, Buyers and all parties involved in our deals, getting them DONE!

Meaning of Investors on Terms

There doesn’t appear to be ANY official definition of Investors on Terms or Deals on Terms (which are made by Investors on Terms) in general or in detail, nor are they specifically mentioned in public documents or recognized by public authorities or entities, as Purchase & Sales and Rental transactions are (“Subject To” deals are marginally acknowledged). The only deals that the general public may be aware of and can be included in Deals on Terms made by Investors on Terms, are Owner Financing and Rent to Own deals. However, these alone do not explain the concept that characterizes Investors on Terms.

Description as “Investors on Terms”

Hadley, MA: Home for sale on terms, lease-option or seller finance
Hadley, MA: Single Family Home for Sale on Lease-Option

Investors on Terms” is a popular way of describing a certain type of real estate investors, albeit it’s mostly used in the industry and almost lingo of the defined community of professionals, investors and operators active in real estate. It’s a very broad and diverse category which includes many different investors with different, often unique, business models, practices, standards and so on.

Individual real estate investors

Sterling, MA: Home for sale on terms in lease-purchase, owner finance, or straight conventional sale
Sterling, MA: Single Family Home for Lease-Option

Each and every investor may attach a slightly different meaning to “Investors on Terms“. When dealing with investors, the claim should be taken with a grain of salt and the investors’ model examined to determine the exact type of approach to real estate investment.

Unlike other professionals, investors operate more on a smaller, individual scale and with different business models.

Proxima Investors

Real Estate is a solid investment with many ways to monetize and always on demand

For us, Proxima Investors, investing on terms means that we partner with sellers and buyers to find an effective solution to the challenges that they otherwise expect to overcome with a regular sale, with representation from an agent or by handling the deal by themselves.

That’s the core meaning of the term for most investors and their goal, no matter how they distinguish themselves from all the others in the details.

Achieving the goals

In Real Estate Buying and Selling is a challenge and it's different for everyone. That's why a customized solution is to be considered.
Every Home Seller and Buyer has a different situation and challenge; we address it with a custom deal that provides the best solution

Deals on Terms represent an alternative to the mainstream method of buying and selling, especially when they allow to achieve and often overachieve the goals set by sellers and buyers.

In these deals, we don’t focus on the property and its price and/or market value as the only or primary deal point. When we look at a deal, the property is important, but we also dive deep into the whole situation; we dissect all the possible aspects and details of the situation. We look at the big picture and include the sellers or buyers, their personalities and their needs, desires and expectations. We can overdeliver in satisfying the priorities as they are set and expressed by sellers and buyers, if we can leverage effectively all the items of the deal. We create, design and provide a custom agreement which addresses and resolves all the issues of our partners specifically.

In these deals, we don’t focus on the property and its price and/or market value as the only or primary deal point. When we look at a deal, the property is important, but we also dive deep into the whole situation; we dissect all the possible aspects and details of the situation. We look at the big picture and include the sellers or buyers, their personalities and their needs, desires and expectations. We can overdeliver in satisfying the priorities as they are set and expressed by sellers and buyers, if we can leverage effectively all the items of the deal. We create, design and provide a custom agreement which addresses and resolves all the issues of our partners specifically.

Goals and Tools

An “Investor on Terms” looks at the goals of sellers and buyers, proceeds to find the most effective method of achieving such goals by using all the tools that the law, federal, state and local, allow and support in real estate.’

“Investors on Terms” DEFINED:

DEFINITION: In residential Real Estate, “INVESTORS ON TERMS” study and analyze the homeowners’ goals situation, looking deep into the details of the property, and/or of buyers’. Then, they design a deal that leverages as much and as many deal points as possible to achieve the ultimate goal of the sellers and/or buyers.
REMEMBER investors on Terms do business by making Deals on Terms, but each investor has a different interpretation and implementation, style and approach, so no 2 deals are all different!

Conclusion

Hand people are paying the dollar with other hand holds the keys.
Many Buyers are caught out in these days of challenging lending conditions, making Deals on Terms an appealing alternative to get on the property ladder.

That’s the essential traits of “Investors on Terms” and most certainly of Proxima Investors.

Thanks to the tools that the law makes available today, we have much greater flexibility than other professionals in real estate; we can find solutions that work for all parties when a satisfactory solution wasn’t available by mainstream methods.

The downside is that these deals can be intricate and complex. They can prove to be a challenge too hard to face for many who are better off with a simpler, yet risky and/or expensive mainstream alternative.

For all the rest, these deals are not always simple, but indeed always WORTHWHILE!

For this reason, by far most of our deals, are on terms. Therefore, Proxima Investors are “Investors on Terms” indeed!

NEXT: Examples of Investors on Terms

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Investors on terms
Proxima Investors Buy and Sell Homes on Terms throughout New England and Beyond
Creative deals that effectively address challenges that make the sale of a home difficult or the process purchasing a home longer than the market changes and never happens…

Hadley, MA: Rent-to-Own Great Single Family Home

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series 22MountWarnerRdHadleyMA
rent to own homes in massachusetts by proxima investors
In Hadley MA: Rent to Own homes by Proxima Investors

Listed for Lease with Option to Purchase this great home! It’s great because it’s very spacious, with 5 Beds/5 Baths/4544 Sq.Ft., 3 car Garage and on a private, yet not secluded 1.12 acre lot abutting untouchable conservation land. It’s also great because it was designed skillfully and there’s great use of the square footage available. This home has the perfect space and room for many different purposes and a great family home. Yes, it’s just great!

The Deal

The deal allows qualified Buyers to move in and enjoy the benefits of ownership, while taking care of the home as if it was theirs and positioning themselves to secure any funds necessary to close the formal Purchase & Sale transaction on a flexible timeframe.

After the quick screening process, a Downpayment will get you in and then just a monthly fee will get you to the finishline. No bank approval necessary to secure this deal, our Buyers will have the appropriate amount time to do what’s required to shop around for the best terms, apply in time and qualify for a traditional mortgage and be able to exercise the option to purchase. Call 617-999-0269 to get all the details about this deal.

The Home
Master Suite
Hadley, MA rent to own - lease-option single family home  2nd floor giant master bedroom
Giant master bedroom with unobstructed views of the sunset through large windows

5 Bedrooms include a 2nd floor giant master suite, softly carpeted, rare in size and amazing in the possibilities to arrange so much space. It’s beautifully overlooking the approach and facing West, where fantastic sunsets are a feature of this house only enhanced by the large windows. Perched high up above the surroundings, this home enjoys castle like views of the beautiful area of Hadley, Massachusetts.

Hadley, MA rent to own - lease-option single family home large master bathroom
Double doors from the master bedroom to the full master bathroom

Accessible through a double door and off the master bedroom is a full bathroom, tiled, with Jack and Jill sinks, private toilet, separate shower and jacuzzi bath tub naturally lit and brightened by lying below a large window. Like in the rest of the house, storage is not an issue here either.

A walk-in closet is a room per se, and the amount of storage to service just the master bedroom is perfectly proportional to the size of the master bedroom.

Hadley, MA rent to own - lease-option single family home jack and jill bathroom
Full wall length Jack & Jill sinks in the large master bathroom

This upper floor master bedroom is accessible through double doors making it incredibly easy and convenient, especially if you plan on moving in furniture proportional in size to the giant master bedroom.

Bedrooms
The bedrooms are all very spacious and have lots of natural light.

There are another 4 bedrooms, with hardwood floors and the large windows that can be found throughout the house, all on the 2nd floor. Just outside the Master Suite, is one, of generous size, facing West and enjoying the Western views. Other bedrooms located on the 2nd floor include one large bedroom with tiled full en-suite bathroom facing East, where the sun rises above the hill which is conservation area, the Connecticut River Parkway State Park. This bedroom also features extra storage. The last 2 bedrooms of 5, are on the South side of the building. Opposite the Master Suite, they share a full bathroom conveniently placed right between the 2 rooms. They both face South, with Sun and natural light pouring in, one with views of Western sunsets and Hadley, the other Eastern sunrises and the state park. Floors are in great shape and of quality hardwood flowing into each other and over the hallway. Aside from the laundry, there are no other rooms on this floor, which is also the top floor. Attic, usable for overflow storage if what’s available around the house isn’t enough, is accessible through a ceiling door. The top floor opens up as a gallery to an open view of the bright foyer, with an arched window above the entrance door to the West to bring in natural light.

Full bathrooms on the 2nd floor for all bedrooms

All bedrooms enjoy full bathrooms. They are all spacious with the master bathroom being proportional to the giant bedroom it serves. A private toilet, jetted bathtub below oversized window with views over the very green surroundings, wall-to-wall Jack & Jill sink setup with storage, separate shower, are the features of the master bathroom. Another bedroom has its own en-suite bathroom overlooking conservation land to the east. There is also another full bathroom shared by the other bedrooms and conveniently positioned between two of them and within easy reach of the other.

Laundry

One of the great features of this house is the laundry. It’s very conveniently located on the 2nd floor and right next to the Master Suite. It’s a large room in itself and easily fits washing machine and dryer. It also has plenty of storage and a countertop for laundry tasks. Even with all of that fitted in, there’s room left for much more. No trips to the basement or even just the 1st floor!

Foyer
A distinctive arched window and a beautiful drop chandelier add character to the home in a 2 storey high ceiling foyer

A welcoming foyer opens upon entry and offers access to the front room that could be used as an office or maybe for formal entertainment, accessible through french doors. Further into the home a half bathroom is conveniently located within easy reach of the entrance and the main living areas of the 1st floor, including the kitchen and the entertainment area. You can flow right into the kitchen and entertainment area, through an obvious opening. A closet serving the foyer is positioned under the staircase which leads to the upper floor. To the left is a room that could serve well as a formal dining room with direct access from the kitchen as well. The foyer is naturally lit especially by a beautiful arched window above the front door, and a drop chandelier that fits nicely in the 2 storey foyer.

Front Office
A clearly defined room and space seems perfect for a clearly defined purpose

On the South side of the Foyer is a room which looks West through the windows onto the balcony. It’s accessible form the Foyer through beautiful french doors. The red hardwood floors break from the rest of the rooms and spaces clearly defining the room. An opening allows access, through the wet-bar room, to the main entertainment area, guaranteeing a continuous flow throughout the 1st floor. The room could have many uses, but a formal office could be ideal for a professional or any other formal use seems perfect; location, right near the entrance, and the luxurious touches with french doors, beautiful windows, red hardwood floor. The direct access to the wet-bar area makes it even more interesting, while the 1st floor bathroom is within easy reach.

1st floor bathroom and closet
1st Floor Bathroom is centered in the floorplan

Very conveniently located is the 1st floor bathroom. A spacious half bathroom that is positioned right in the center of the floorplan. The 1st floor hardwood flooring flows right into it. Neutral in colors and modern fixtures make it a very welcoming room of the house. It can be easily accessed from the entrance and foyer, from the 1st floor office and formal dining room. It’s also right off the main entertainment area and within easy reach of the deck, therefore serving most areas with the most activity. Your guests will be able to have a handy option wherever they are entertained, summer or winter.

Just opposite is the closet that serves the 1st floor, under the staircase and logically placed between the foyer/dining room/office and the kitchen/entertainment area.

Investors on Terms: Context

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Investors on Terms

PROXIMA INVESTORS are Investors on Terms!

Mansions in Sterling, Massachusetts. Right on golf courses, satisfying saltwater pools, luxurious wine cellars, comfortably large saunas, professionally equipped exercise rooms, multiple car garages, pristine level grounds, numerous and ubiquitous fireplaces, huge rooms and spaces, areas for all needs and purposes

Our primary objective in the course of our real estate investing business is to leverage deal terms to achieve a solution for Sellers, Buyers and all parties involved in our deals, getting them DONE!

Real Estate Investors Today

In the real estate world, there are investors of all kinds; small and professional landlords, rehabbers and flippers, wholesalers, note investors and the list goes on. There are also “investors on terms“. We, at Proxima Investors, are exactly that, “investors on terms“.

Investors on Terms and Awareness

Rent to own in Sterling MA
Sterling, MA Rent-to-Own: “Contemporary Mansion”

While it’s a quick and easy way to describe what we do, it may be a little more complicated to give the right idea to those who have never heard of “investors or terms”, even within the industry.

Home owners who may buy and sell properties 2-3 times max in the course of their lifetime (pretty much American Homeowners‘ average), are probably the least likely to have done business or heard about an “investor on terms“.

Our actual Sellers and Buyers, now have a good idea. However, with so many different types of deals that we can make, they probably have only a partial understanding of our whole business of “buying and selling real estate on terms“.

Even professionals in real estate may have never heard of what a “deal on terms” and what it entails.

Real estate agents are generally busy listing homes in the ordinary way and closing only conventional deals.

Real estate attorneys may be trained and experienced in conventional closings only. Even many other investors like landlords are not aware of the concept of a residential real estate “terms deal. They are all so ubiquitous and mainstream that anything different for them is difficult to comprehend as they have no experience with Investors on Terms.

Other sectors and times of Real Estate

Norwell, MA Rent-to-Own Homes: “Custom Cape”

If you look into other niches and fields of the vast real estate market, you may find many more instances of “Investments on Terms“. In the commercial sector, much more valuable real estate properties and complex transactions make it worthwhile to negotiate in detail and design sophisticated “deals on terms”.

You don’t have to look far to find “deals on terms“, you can just look at the real estate world in America in the 1970s. “Investments on terms” like Subject To purchases were common and very popular, in the context of interest rates that were very unstable and growing out of control from week to week.

The 2008 Downturn

More advanced and creative deals are needed today to purchase a home with mortgages that are so tough to get, especially for some categories

The 2008 downturn put an end to the easy loans and mortgages that inflated and destabilized the real estate market. The ever rising prices suddenly ended bursting and crashing down heavily, determining the need for tighter regulations. These are now seriously affecting a wide range of the population now needing alternative ways to finance the purchase of a home. This situation brought back some techniques from the past, as the mentioned Subject To deals, from other sectors of the market, just one example would be Lease-Options, or new and innovative, like some unexpected combination of techniques as in a Wrap-around Mortgage, or a classic Owner Finance deal which is pretty intuitive in concept, but a lot of work and expertise is necessary to define the details to make it a solid deal. Those are just a few types of deals that many Investors on Terms can create and manage.

Resistance to competing models

Real Estate Agents in the residential market: they specialize in straight Purchase & Sales and Rentals only.
There are around 2 million active real estate agents in the USA (source: ARELLO) with a population of 327 million, that’s 1 agent every 163 people. And that’s why everyone has an agent within easy reach, at all times.

These transactions are becoming more known and a more frequent choice as the industry, professionals and consumers, learn or relearn about them. The recent history of easy mortgages and refinancing lead to easy transactions with lots of equity. These easy deals shaped the industry into a predominantly intermediated one because the luxury of hiring an agent appeared very affordable while netting inflated prices. Despite the crash, the industry players still dominate, thanks to the stronghold position they acquired. They are able to dictate their only transaction models, supported by collective efforts organized by large bodies like the NRA. They are in control and mount a strong resistance to anything that may disrupt the present order and threaten their dominance. That’s why sometimes, not always, we find real estate agents uncooperative and failing in their fiduciary duties towards the sellers and buyers who hired them.

Increasing Awareness and Market Share

Despite all that, the percentage of deals on terms concluded is constantly growing and so is awareness. Mostly replacing For Sale By Owner transactions, as they typically involve a professional at no cost, they also represent a strong and threatening alternative to hiring real estate agents who charge Sellers a good amount of equity in fees.

When you hear that deals on terms are dangerous, illegal, immoral or anything along those lines, you're hearing the desperate voice of those who just stop short of admitting unawareness, lack of knowledge and no expertise in the field. 

BEWARE of those who make derogatory remarks about their business competitors without any in depth knowledge or experience!

Investments on Terms For Buyers:

Hand people are paying the dollar with other hand holds the keys.
Many Buyers are caught out in these days of challenging lending conditions, making Deals on Terms an appealing alternative to get on the property ladder.

The need for alternative financing and the difficulty in getting it within established models, like the ordinary home purchase through real estate agents, make these deals a very viable option for Buyers. They need to buy in a transaction which needs to take their specific challenges into consideration. That’s what “Deals on Terms” do! That’s also why Buyers compete strongly for any deal available, as it’s often the only quick path to ownership and avoid renting, while housing market prices fly by to sometimes unreachable heights.

Investments on Terms For Sellers:

Many Sellers find themselves left out of the market for no fault of their own or their house. Just too few Buyers. We market the property to many more qualified Buyers.

They are effective for Sellers also because many times without fault of their own or of their home, they are stuck with a property sitting in the market with nothing in sight. The market itself is constantly described as a Sellers market, because there are so many Buyers who want to close on a home. However, many conventional deals fall through because of the way the lending industry processes applications, Deals on Terms restore confidence in home-selling by opening up the market to a much larger pool of strong, worthy and motivated Buyers. Not all applicants pass our Buyer-quality screening process, but the market offers so many better and faster opportunities. That’s what you can correctly call Deals on Terms a Sellers’ market.

NEXT: Definition of Investors on Terms

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Investors on terms
Proxima Investors Buy and Sell Homes on Terms throughout New England and Beyond
Creative deals that effectively address challenges that make the sale of a home difficult or the process purchasing a home longer than the market changes and never happens…

Investors on Terms: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Investors on Terms

PROXIMA INVESTORS are Investors on Terms!

Our primary objective in the course of our real estate investing business is to leverage deal terms to achieve a solution for Sellers, Buyers and all involved in our deals getting them done!

Hadley MA: Rent to Own homes by Proxima Investors

by Proxima Investors of Northborough, MA

Homes get sold and Sellers succeed. Buyers are able to Purchase. Everyone gets what they want and need, are paid and everyone is happy and able to move on.

Not many know exactly what a deal on terms is; it seems useful and maybe even necessary to clarify what we mean by being Investors on Terms.

A small series of articles as posts in this blog will attempt to explain how Investing on Terms works. Keep in mind that it may widely differ from what and how other investors use similar methods; they may be in different niches, states, deal with different properties and types of Sellers and Buyers.

This is just the INTRODUCTION so you know what it’s about.

We will start by describing the CONTEXT which is important to define the role and the activity of Investors on Terms.

Then we will go straight to our own DEFINITION of Investors on Terms with details about the meaning of the term.

Some EXAMPLES in the following blog post will be very useful to understand the concept of Investments on Terms in practical terms to see what it’s like in a realistic environment.

What do Investors on Terms mean for Sellers, Buyers and their properties and how they affect the situation of all investment PARTIES.

PROXIMA INVESTORS, Deals on Terms and how they fit in our business model of real estate investing in the residential niche.

Our FINAL THOUGHTS about Investors and Investments on Terms will follow to go back to the whole picture and conclude our explanations.

Finally, space for QUESTIONS and COMMENTS, which are a great way to get a better understanding of the idea of Investments on Terms and its applications in individual situations.

As a bonus, we will progressively compile a GLOSSARY of the Investors on Terms niche for quick reference with useful links to more info.

NEXT: Context of Investors on Terms

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Investors on terms
Proxima Investors Buy and Sell Homes on Terms

Pocket listings and new rules for Realtors!

Realtors have to list a property on the MLS within 24h of any marketing effort!

Pocket listings limit the marketability of a property and may fetch the seller a lower price. Sellers should think twice about allowing the practice and do due diligence to find out if that’s in the cards for their listing. Alternatively, look elsewhere to sell!

 

The National Association of Realtors’ new rules about private listings

 

Mandatory listing on MLS

Homes are not always listed on the open market as often and quickly as they should, especially in a low inventory situations like in these days.

Very interesting news from the NAR (National Association of Realtors). Realtors will no longer be allowed to market a property privately for an extended period of time.
Within just 24h (one business day to be precise) of the start of any marketing efforts, they have to list the properties under contract on the MLS. Flyers, email blasts, phone calls, any online or offline marketing effort triggers the countdown to the requirement to open market the property.

Private listings/Pocket listings

These listings are called private listings (or even exclusive listings) because properties are marketed only to a limited number of buyers, generally controlled by the listing agent. They are also known as “pocket listings” to describe how the listing is hidden from the general public (kept in their pocket), and listed publicly only if no private buyers are found.

Opening up to the market

It’s pretty big news because it aims at opening some properties to a broader pool of buyers (and their agents) much to the benefit of many in the market, professionals and homeowners selling. Private listings have been used and abused by some realtors, despite having committed to the NAR code of ethics.

Why do pocket listings

There are multiple reasons for this practice; the one that stands out is the attempt of listing agents at collecting a full commission, instead of having to split with another agent representing a buyer who found the listing on the MLS. Thanks to buyers’ lists that agents build in many ways, including by setting up open houses for that primary purpose, listing agents can find a buyer quickly, which is sometimes one of the sellers’ goals.

Listing agents are incentivized to these practices by handsome and easy monetary rewards.

More importantly, if they have the listing (representing the seller) AND find the buyer, they net the whole commission. The downside for agents is minimal, as the full commission easily exceeds the loss due to a likely lower price. However, that violates the fiduciary relationship between agent and their seller. It’s a poorly kept secret in the industry, but most sellers are completely unaware. It’s sellers who lose the most as for every dollar they lose in the sale due to the restricted number of buyers competing for the purchase of the property, the loss is split in 94% for the seller and only 6% for the agent, but there is no commission split with a buyers’ agent.

Example: Agents rather sell a property for $90 and get 6% by selling it to a buyer from their private list only and pocket $5.40 (6% of $90), than market on the MLS for $100 and sell to a buyer who is represented  and is owed half the commission, therefore pocketing only $3 (6%/2=3% of $100). If the price is $900,000/$1,000,000 which is not that uncommon in states like Massachusetts.

We will have to wait and see if and how this is enforced because it breaks a fairly common practice.
It would also affect some showings that genuinely require private marketing, as in the case of celebrities.
For those realtors who complain by saying that it’s their clients who require such type of listing, they should be reminded that they advise their clients and if they informed them that they could be underselling the

Sellers need to be made aware of all the best options available in a professional and ethical way and timing.

property, many would probably prefer an open listing.
Sellers now have more and better opportunities to sell faster and for more.
Buyers have more listings to choose from, especially if they have a buyers’ agent representing them.
Listing Agents miss out on the opportunity to get paid the whole commission without having to split.
Buyers’ agents have more opportunities for their clients.
So to summarize, this is bad news for listing agents, who emerge as the losers, but only those who regularly used this technique. Everyone else wins, but only if the rule is effectively enforced.

This sounds like one of many attempts at disciplining industry practices like others in the past, often largely ineffective as workarounds are always found when the monetary incentive is often so high in real estate.

Winners and Losers:

Listing agents LOSE, because they lose control over the marketing for that listing and potentially the full commission.

Buyers agents WIN because they have more opportunities on the market to find their clients a home to purchase and therefore to earn a share of the commission.

Listing sellers WIN because their property opens up to a much larger pool of potentially bidding buyers.

Other sellers LOSE because more properties are released on the open market to compete with theirs.

Buyers WIN with more homes available to choose from and possibly lower prices thanks to the more competitive environment.

Buyers on listing agents lists LOSE because they may have to compete with more buyers.

For more and a point of view more focused on Sellers, read here!

Proxima Investors are not Realtors nor Real Estate Agents and do not charge listing fees to their Sellers providing the best return for their important asset, their home.

Blue Espresso!

Blue Espresso like selling houses fast with rent to own programs
Espresso in blue…Rent to Own also in blue!

Blue Espresso! Quick to brew, quick to drink, caffeinated enough to give you speed for a while!

Sounds very much like US, when we sell a home on RENT TO OWN!

It’s a much faster market than the conventional market where realtors and FSBOs typically operate and where things seem to happen when they happen, just jogging along hoping (sometimes praying) that things move…

We offer our properties to extremely motivated buyers who WANT to move FAST and who are in competition with each other. The house is probably the only one that works for them.

That’s why we can pick the most deserving buyers and it’s just unfortunate that many times we have to leave out very worthy families from buying because we can only sell one home at a time…

It’s a very energetic market, highly exciting and rewarding at a personal level, especially when you look at how we can QUICKLY get a seller unstuck and a Buyer in a home they can call their own instead of renting forever and/or wasting so much in a property that will probably never be the one where their kids are raised to when they leave for college or on their own way…

Selling haunted homes in Massachusetts

Disclose or not disclose?

Since it’s Halloween, let’s see what the law says about haunted homes, murder, suicide, paranormal activity, which happened or, allegedly, are happening in the building in Massachusetts.

Stigmatized properties for sale in Massachusetts and Sellers’ disclosures

When Selling a home, a Seller has to abide by many rules and guidelines. Some of these are pertinent to facts that may affect the building, and in turn the transaction, and that the law may or may not require a seller to disclose.

A stigmatized property is a property in which paranormal activity is reported or suspected, or where heinous events have occurred, such as murder, suicide or both. The law also considers an association of the property a certain illness, but that has lost much of its impact nowadays, so it’s more about the former occurrences.

Each individual, seller or buyer, has a different sensitivity to the issue of stigmatized homes and for many it’s not an issue at all. The issue of disclosure of these events and situations could add uncertainty in a transaction if not clear.

Scary ghostly figures in haunted building..

There are already so many hurdles, like inspections, appraisals, concessions, fees, assists, waivers, endless negotiations and other disclosures that having to reveal a “paranormal presence” in a house could jeopardize a done deal by spooking even very motivated buyers.

The creaky floors could be something easy to fix and not likely to hold up a Purchase & Sale, but should they be thought to be due to paranormal activity and not having been disclosed by the seller, it could create an insurmountable issue. If it emerges after signatures have been exchanged it could provide a solid reason for legal claims based on lack of disclosure.

MASSACHUSETTS LAW

Unlike California, where you can go back 3 years and more for psychologically impacting events on the property, it’s not the case in Massachusetts! The law clearly states that, as it doesn’t fall in the category of material facts which have to be disclosed, it’s unnecessary “to disclose the fact that the property was the site of “…felony, suicide or homicide” or “…that the real property has been the site of an alleged parapsychological or supernatural phenomenon.”

HOME SELLERS AND LANDLORDS

No disclosure of any stigma on a property for sale is legally necessary in Massachusetts for a Seller, but for a Landlord or Lessor also.

Buyer Beware and due diligence

HOME BUYERS AND INVESTORS

The general “Caveat Emptor” (Buyer beware) rule applies here for home buyers and buying investors, who are expected to perform their due diligence in general, but especially with regards to this specific issue if they’re sensitive to such a property. If you’re a buyer, it would be advisable to talk to neighbors, research public records, and just ask clear and direct questions, especially if there’s a doubt, maybe rumors, maybe a feeling.

If home buyers ask clear questions about any stigma on the property, the seller cannot misrepresent or make false statement without giving cause of action, with half-truths also providing an opportunity for a successful lawsuit.

CHOICE TO DISCLOSE

What sellers can do, is to provide information voluntarily. If they so choose, it’s their prerogative, but NOT obligation and buyers can’t claim it as a right to have that information disclosed.

REAL ESTATE AGENTS

If the seller is represented by an agent, in the same way no disclosure is necessary. Due to the fiduciary nature of the relationship between agent and seller, the agent cannot provide the information voluntarily, unlike the sellers, and unless the sellers themselves authorize or instruct the agent to do so. The agent can always decline to represent the seller or terminate an agreement already in place if the information emerges after establishing the contractual relationship.

REAL ESTATE INVESTORS

If an investor, like us at Proxima Investors, is involved in the sale, depending on the type of underlying deal, the investor is subject to the same disclosure rules as the seller, holding equitable interest in the property.

PROXIMA INVESTORS

At Proxima Investors we have not come across a situation of stigmatized properties where it was a concern. However, since Massachusetts and New England in general, are old states with many antique and beautiful homes which have witnessed a lot. Homes can have a long and known history and the creaks and noises of old homes can be unsettling and inspire stories passed down over centuries, and sometimes made more “interesting”. Think about Salem in the 1600s when Massachusetts was a very populous state with lots going on. It’s only a matter of time that we will run into this issue. We already have invested in old and antique homes, which can be difficult to sell in this market, and we love them. Should the issue at some point arise, we believe that it should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, as property stigmatizing events and situations have a different psychological impact depending on their uniqueness and the specific circumstances.

The bottomline for us is that we don’t have to disclose, but if there’s a particularly unsettling story linked to the house, we would probably not invest in it anyway…

Proxima Investors of Massachusetts are not attorneys and we do not provide legal advice and only state our opinions. Check with your attorney of choice before making any decision based on the content of this article. A useful resource can be found by clicking the link below to the relevant section of the state law: Real estate transactions; disclosure; psychologically impacted property.

Massachusetts Law Reference: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter93/Section114

Home exterior, front yard with spookie Halloween decorations in the front yard

 

PhotoVideo of Rent to Own Single Family Home in Sterling, Massachusetts

This PhotoVideo will give you a good feel for the mansion-like home that we’re offering on a rent to own sale contract (we call it lease-purchase, which is short for lease-with-option-to-purchase, rather than just a less sophisticated rent-to-own), the great spaces and many rooms, the upkeep and style, the neighborhood and surrounding grounds, easily by watching a quick 2 minute video…Enjoy!