Tuesday, April 06, 2010

caveat emptor

Last year I looked at an ebay sale for a property near my home in Garfield.  Not quite sure what happened to that.  Was just curious what the state of the ebay real estate market is in Pittsburgh. The only property I find quickly on ebay being offered for sale in Pittsburgh is this property from the North Side.

Yet...   it really is a profile in blight.   First off, looks good right?  35 bids up to all of $1,300 for what looks like a solid structure even if it needs work.  What problems could there be?  What problems could this deal not have.  First off, it sure looks like property taxes have not been paid in at least 4 years.   The county's web site only lists the county-owed property taxes which we all know are the lowest of 3 taxes most parcels accrue taxes for.  In the city of Pittsburgh the city itself and school district both have levies that presumably are unpaid.  So there are at least $5K there in taxes due on this parcel which would wind up being owed by a new owner.

Then it gets weird.  First off the ebay offerer of this property has no other ebay activity ever.  No other information on the advertisement is obvious that would allow for contact with the seller or even basic due dilligence.   The county web site lists a contact for tax billings.  "NRG MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, 38 POLO CT,CHARLES TOWN, WV 25414. 

To begin with I can't get google maps to identify the address at all, but maybe I am map-challenged.  Then I can't find any evidence of a business named NRG Management in Charles Town, WV.   One D&B entry from 2006 listed a single employee company at the time is about as close as I can get.  I'm understanding why those tax mailings are not responded to. There are a number of firms around the country and beyond named NRG Management, but nothing that jumps up as being connected to this property. 

But the ebay listing is interesting.  It says to add $549 to any bid to cover costs. Intresting amount.. any brokers out there want to comment on whether that amount makes any more sense than a number chosen at random?   It also gives a brief explanation of how it says the process would work. It says you will be mailed a quit claim deed which I am not sure is going to work easily in Pennsylvania.  I really would love to hear from a local real estate lawyer as to whether the idea of doing a real estate transaction that way would really be feasible and not cause more legal headaches than it would solve... assuming everything else is on the up and up that is. 

and by the way... the property I looked at last year which had been for sale on ebay does not appear to have a transaction record at any point since then. 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI - Bing maps finds 38 Polo Ct in Charles Town. From the satellite it looks like a house on a suburban cul-de-sac.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010 10:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Schmard said...

NRG Management Group LLC is listed in the West Virginia Business Organizations Database, but the company is shown to have been terminated in 2007. The organizer is one Ramona Wallace with an address in Charles Town, WV and another in Sterling, VA.

According to allbusiness.com, Ramona Wallace of the same Sterling, VA address does business in human resources consulting.

So I think this is our seller:

She is the director of human resources at Wave Technologies (7.2 miles from her Sterling house), and claims to have her own company as well. She lists her industry as "Real Estate."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 12:57:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I love spontaneous crowdsourcing. Sounds like that could be it. Odd that she would leave taxes unpaid for so long if she is working for a firm with a lot of sensitive contracts. That says a lot about how we deal with distressed properties. Granted it is really the LLC that owns it, but still.

I'd be curious if there was a story, or even more interested if there was no story actually, as to how she wound up with that property. Note the current owner appears in the assessment record to have acquired this from a bank back in 2006.. So this isn't a story about recession... Was it just one of these out of town speculators that I was hearing more and more about back then. I always theorized that folks iN places like DC and NY just found the local real estate prices so unbelieveably low that they couldnt pass them up. Little did they believe that a honest to goodness piece of real estate bought for $5,800 (the previous transaction price) could not be a winner if flipped quickly.

Where is Henry George where you need him.. Of course Henry does not help much if you can't enforce tax collection.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 8:13:00 AM  

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