I was sitting at my desk one day, looking at my email, when I received a message from an anonymous user: “Hey guys, you guys want to buy something?
You want a house in New York?”
“Oh my God,” I thought.
I had no idea how to respond.
I was just a typical buyer with a small business who’d recently been given an offer to buy his small business.
And now, he wanted a house.
And that house was being advertised on Craigslist, an online classifieds site.
The owner, who I’ll call Tom, told me he’d already bought the home, but he was looking to pay the seller back in cash.
“We’re getting ready to sell,” he told me.
“I’m not going to wait another day.”
We agreed to meet in the living room of Tom’s apartment.
Tom was in his late 30s and worked as a real estate broker in New Jersey.
He’d had a couple of kids, but had a good job and was living off his savings.
“It was the only way I could make it work,” he said.
Tom’s house is located on the west side of Manhattan and is in the Upper East Side neighborhood of the city.
He owns it with a mortgage from the Federal Housing Authority and a $1 million down payment.
“The house is worth a lot of money, I mean, it’s not just a house,” Tom said.
“This is a house worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
But, he added, “I can’t sell it for more than $250,000, $300,000.
I can’t get it on the market at $1.2 million.”
It was my first experience with real estate, Tom said, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
“What I do know is this,” Tom explained, “the house has to be able to be yours.”
I asked Tom if he could take me through the process of buying a house, which I had to do with a loan.
I told him that he’d need to prove that he could pay back the loan, and that I could use a deed.
Tom agreed, but after asking Tom a few more questions, I told Tom that the house wasn’t really mine, it was a real property, which he could sell to someone else for less.
He told me I didn: “Yeah, you got a house you’re not actually owning, but the deed says that’s your house.”
I said, “Well, that’s fine, I don’t mind.
But the house has the title.”
“Yeah,” Tom replied.
“You’ve got to get a title deed, too.
It’s very hard to get.”
“I’ll tell you what, I’m going to go to court right now, Tom,” I said.
I went over to his apartment, which was tucked away on the East Side.
Tom and I got into a car, and he drove me to a courthouse.
We sat at a table in front of the judge and asked him about the title deed.
“That’s right, it says ‘the property is yours,'” Tom said as we talked.
I pointed out the problem.
“Well,” Tom continued, “that’s not really a title, is it?
That’s not the title of the property.”
“It’s the title,” I agreed.
“And that’s what you’re going to have to prove.”
“Oh, so you’re saying you can’t just go in and get a new title deed?”
I nodded my head in agreement.
I explained that, since Tom was selling his home and not the house itself, it would be a big deal for him if I got a new deed.
We both looked at each other.
Tom said that, for the past several years, he had a lot more cash on hand than he needed to pay back his mortgage.
He didn’t think he would ever be able do that, so he didn’t want to put money in the bank until he was able to prove he could actually pay back.
“So,” Tom told me, “if you don’t want a deed, you can just buy the house, and the money will come from me.”
Tom said he’d pay back all the money the seller paid him, and would keep the house.
“If I can get the money from you, I’ll get the house,” he continued.
“But I’ll also take all your money and you’ll get to keep the deed.”
“Well that’s the plan, then,” I told the judge.
“OK, but you’ll have to pay me back.
OK, but I have to go through all this again, OK?”
“No, Tom, it doesn’t have to be a whole new house, OK?
You can just get rid of it and sell it,” I explained.
“But it’s still my property, and you’re still going