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Old 08-14-2019, 01:47 PM
Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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A text about real estate


I got a text yesterday from somebody I don't know. He signed himself Kurt (I only know one Kurt and this isn;t him) and expressed interest in placing an offer on my house. My house isn't for sale, but he had the right address, and he spelled my name correctly, so it wasn't a wrong number. My cell number isn't listed anywhere and actually not all that many people know it. Certainly neither the mortgage company nor the city government has that information (to the best of my knowledge)!

It's a little odd, possibly verging on creepy--what makes him think I might be interested in selling? How did he find my cell number? Are all my neighbors, none of whose homes are for sale either, getting the same treatment? Or is there something about my nondescript piece of property that makes him want to single me out? In short: Who IS this guy and what's his angle? I tried a reverse lookup of the number and couldn't find anything of interest.

Anybody else ever have this kind of thing happen to them? I dimly recall a thread about people knocking on the door and asking to buy the not-for-sale property but can't find it now. This seems like a more complicated set of circumstances.
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Old 08-14-2019, 01:58 PM
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Awhile back we got a letter purporting to be from a couple who were really interested in buying our house.

Never followed up on it, but I suspect it was a mass mailing from a real estate agent hoping to beef up his/her portfolio of homes for sale.

It's not hard to find basic info about houses and owners online.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:31 PM
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There are a lot of real estate agents who solicit people's houses, I get mailings from them all the time. Some are just hoping to expand their inventory, or to be fresh in your mind if you were thinking of selling. There's also a few who will make lowish but no-hassle offers on properties or talk about 'guaranteed sales'. It's not at all unusual where I am, so I'd answer 'what's his angle' with 'same as the other guys.

As far as texting to the cell number, he probably got the number from somewhere. Maybe someone who has your number ran an app that gets permission to view their contacts and recorded your name and number in a database that he bought, or maybe you listed it somewhere that he has access to without realizing it. Unless you're extremely fastidious about keeping your name/number secret it will probably get leaked at some point. With a name he can easily connect name to property, as property tax or deed records will have that.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:33 PM
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I get these "offers" all the time in the mail. I live in an older, cool urban neighborhood that is ripe for flippers. I throw them in the trash immediately. I've never gotten a text, but if I did I would immediately block the number and any subsequent numbers with messages like that.
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Old 08-14-2019, 02:41 PM
Ulf the Unwashed is offline
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Yeah, I've gotten cold mailings from real estate agents before via the PO, mostly on the "I just sold a house in your neighborhood" line. Can't remember someone offering to buy it, but who knows. But never a text.

And I'm sure it's possible to associate my cell # with my name, even though I'm pretty careful who I give the number to...just surprised that someone would go to the trouble of looking it up and sending a text rather than using the more easily available name/address and sending a postcard or letter. Obviously this guy thought otherwise...Learn something new every day.

Last edited by Ulf the Unwashed; 08-14-2019 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 08-14-2019, 03:48 PM
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A lot of sales folk give out money for referrals. So someone the salesdroid did business with recently who has your info decided that they want the cash and screw your privacy (and no doubt the privacy of dozens of people they know).

Plus there's the steak knives that he has to win.
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Old 08-14-2019, 04:15 PM
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I've gotten texts and even live phone calls (which I let go to voicemail) like that. Like others said it's not difficult to figure out who owns a house and find their contact information through public records. Like ThelmaLou I live in an older neighborhood, maybe not a hip and cool one but in a fast growing desirable area to live. That combined with the fact that I bought during the recession when prices were low probably makes me a prime target for flippers. I suspect they think I'll be willing to accept an offer that's way more than what I paid, but less than the place is actually worth.

I've heard stuff like this has become kind of a problem in the Bay Area where modest homes can go for a million or more dollars. Real estate speculators find an old lady who bought her home decades ago before prices got crazy high, and make a lowball offer betting they don't know how much the place it really worth ($750,000 probably sounds like a lot for a place you paid $50,000 for 30 years ago, even if it's really worth a million). They'll often use scare tactics to try and pressure their target into selling, like "Another recession is just around the corner, you'd better cash out now before prices crash or else you'll have nothing to leave your grandkids."
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