Why do some properties on realtor.com sell for $1

I’m looking at cheap property in Bloomington and I came across this one.


Why are they only charging $1? I’m looking for someone at realtor.com I can contact to ask but figured i’d ask here as well.

Just a WAG, but maybe the software simply assigns a default value of $1 to any listing that gets entered into the database without a specified price.

Tax assessors use recent sale price as one criterion for evaluating how much property tax you will have to pay. So you see a lot of real estate sales where the official price is listed as “$1.00 plus other consideration” with the “other consideration” kept as far out of the public spotlight as possible.

Another WAG: The property has been condemned, and the contract stipulates the property must be “up to code” within a certain amount of time (e.g. 6 months). So while the price is only $1, you would have to spend thousands of dollars over the next few months getting it up to code.

This sounds like a condo near the cinemas, south of the Mall, if my memory serves. Not a bad area to be in, but I’d check closely to see if it was a typo vs. foreclosure vs. a POS property that will cost more in headaches than it’s worth. A biology AI I had many years ago bought a house in the area bounded by 7th, 12th, Walnut and Indiana (I forget exactly where). He lived in part of the house, and rented out rooms to others. Depending on your need for privacy, that might be an option.


A lot of such online ads don’t include Very Important Info. E.g., the $1 price might be for assuming the mortgage on the condo. This happens when the value of the property is less than the current mortgage. (Very common for condos.) So for a mere $1 you get to overpay for a condo in a development where the prices are probably falling. None of which, what a shock, gets mentioned in the ad.

Our paper lists recent home sales prices, and once in while a house goes for only $20k or so. The explanation when someone asks is that there was probably a mortgage assumption involved.

For cases like the one I have given (which may not be the actual reason for this ad), you’re better off waiting for it to be foreclosed, and then getting it with a smaller mortgage and therefore smaller monthly payment. That is, if for some reason you are strongly desire that particular property.

Another thing to consider: Sometimes online ads are charged based on the price of the item. So $1 list price = very cheap ad cost. When you call, you get a “oh, that must be a mistake…” line. But I can’t imagine a real estate ad service letting anyone get away with that for long.


The listing also states:
“This listing is brokered by: Fife Real Estate & Auction”

So perhaps the property is to be auctioned, and $1 is the starting bid?

Also, sometimes when listings of past sales show a sale price of $1, it’s becasue the property was transfered between family members (or others with a close personal relationship) and it’s essentially a “gift” but that’s the minimum value for the transaction to be considered a legal sale and the transfer to occur. (There’s a more detailed legal explanation, I’m sure, but thats how I understand it in layman’s terms.) It wreaks havoc with the area comps, unfortunately.

You’re correct that sometimes a gift of property will state $1 &other good and valuable consideration, but it is not necessary. Love and/or affection is good enough consideration if it is a gift, for no consideration is really necessary. Often you will find the$1 &og&vc stated as the consideration on a deed because the parties don’t want anyone to know the actual selling price; however, the tax stamps give away the price. And sometimes that is stated because it is only a quit claim deed, wherein the grantor does not warrant that he owns the property free and clear of any encumbrances, liens, etc; in fact, he doesn’t even profess to own the property, merely conveying any and all of his interest in the property, which may be zilch.

That said, these are not the reasons here.