Lisa and Jim's Northern Nevada Real Estate Blog: Opps! ... The Buyer Bought The Wrong Lot!

Opps! ... The Buyer Bought The Wrong Lot!

An agent in our office had a lot listed in the neighboring community to the north,  The lot is in a rural area with dirt road and many vacant parcels.  The listing agent entered the listing info into MLS, put a sign on the parcel, and even had a brochure box with a map on the sign.  

Time passed and another agent eventually wrote and offer on the parcel and it was put into escrow.   The escrow closed. 

Six months later ... the Selling agent is calling the listing agent to report that there has been a huge mistake.  The Buyer bought the wrong lot!  

Apparently the buyer drove around the subdivision, looked at the available parcels, contacted their agent, made and offer, and bought a lot. 

The selling agent never visited the parcel and never verified that the lot the buyer wanted was the lot she wrote an offer for!   

Now ... wouldn't that just wreck your day?

Comment balloon 19 commentsLisa Wetzel • January 22 2009 09:25PM


Oh, I hope that selling agent likes the lot.  Sounds like he or she bought it!.  Bummer.  This buyer certainly has grounds for a lawsuit.  And the poor broker has to deal with the ashes of the whole mess.  Just a little bit of work......would have saved them all. 

Posted by Suzanne McLaughlin, Sabinske & Associates, Realtor (Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael)) over 11 years ago

No survey?  What did they want the listing agent to do about it?

This deserves a part II

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) over 11 years ago

It in fact occured in the life of a former co-worker of mine.  The listing agent actually had with the owner along place the sign on the wrong lot.  The wrong lot sold and was cleared.  Then a survey was ordered and ooops.... the agent ended up buying the lot (which he later sold for a profit) and the seller paid the real owner for his tree loss.  The buyer found another agent to work with.  It was indeed a bad day.  And the lesson I took from it was survey survey survey, advise my buyers to know exactly what they are purchasing.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 11 years ago

This is not good.  You'll have to keep us updated!

Posted by Darla Jensen (Edina Realty) over 11 years ago

And go out and walk the lot with the buyer if you are the selling agent!

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) over 11 years ago

That is definitely grounds for a lawsuit.  I have many people call me and want to list a property but do not live in the area.  They want to explain to you where the property is located. This just proves GET A SURVEY!!

Posted by Kim Caldwell (American Realty) over 11 years ago


So, how that was supposed to be handled? Even if there were a survey, it is not a guarantee that they would not have made a mistake even if the listing agent had the survey, unless she/he went there when the surveyors were there and stake the property.

Luckily I was not in that situation, but I thought that it could easily happen to me if I get a call from my  client, who says he saw the sign and wants to write an offer.

Actually a few years ago there was a very strange situation whe the buyer started buildjgn a home, and by the time they got the roof on, somehow they found out that the builder made a mistake and got it on the wrong lot.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 11 years ago

Oh, wow.  I had a client buy the wrong property one time, without an agent.  He was on a small street and there was a block up (city owned property), so he went down to City Hall and said he wanted to buy the city owned property on such and such a street.  The city only had record of one property in their possession, so they started the proceedings.  Six months later he gets the deed in his hand and we're in the neighborhood so we go by the house and he is standing in the street looking at the house and looking at the deed, back at the house, back at the paper and says "it's the wrong house".  In fact, he bought a house 2 doors away that was in better condition and the paperwork was right.  My client didn't have the house number when he went to City Hall.  But, it all worked out and he got the house that was in better condition than the one he thought he was getting.  Moral of the story, agents always visit the property, buyers always write down the actual address (and in the case of lots, maybe a little treasure map) and both - survey, survey, survey!! 

Posted by June Piper-Brandon, Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time (Long & Foster Hampden) over 11 years ago


Now you know what surveys and E & O insurance is all about!

It's no defense, but your agent agent are not the first, nor will you be the last to do such a thing!

Acting as an agent for the court I once mediated a settlement between a Church and it's neighbor! The man wanted to buy the lot between the Church and his home, they threatened him then extorted a huge price for the weed farm. It seems that when the Church original augured their four lots there was a mistake. They didn't own the desired lot, and the lot they sold was under pews 3 to 36. Auguring and threatening they ignored a suit and got an eviction order. The owner showed up one Sunday with a Constable and a bunch of rent-a-cop to take possession of his property, he also brought a wrecking permit for an old building on his lot. The new owner backed down, all he wanted was what they though they sold him.

The weed farm had escheeted to the state, that's where I got involved, I represented the states attorney on real estate matters. I set the value of the weeds and then talked the buyer into accepting the lot from the church along with returning his cash, for the lot under the church. There's more to the story.

The thing is where I came from we learned to read surveys and plat maps in the 3rd and 4th grade, your salesman and the listing fool had no business selling outside their limited expertise.

Please let us all know how it turns out.


Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) over 11 years ago

William - I'm an innocent bystander.  I know the listing agent but I'm not involved!  I just related and interesting story he told us. Jim and I have been selling land for 20 years!  Your advice is dean on and I agree! 

Now that everyone has asked ... I'm going to get the rest of the story and and keep you all informed ... stand by for Opps! II - The rest of The Story!

June - Great ending!

Jon - Surveys are wonderful, but if the buyer goes to the wrong lot it doesn't matter how many stakes they poke into the soil!  You are right!

Kim - We agree!  Most people won't buy a shoe without trying it on, why would they buy real estate without making sure.

Lise - Duh!!!  It seems so simple.  Are we professional or not?

Darla - Watch for the sequel! 

Tammy - An ALTA survey solves all these problems.

Brenda - The listing agent is in a waiting mode ... I'll get an update and let everyone know!

Suzanne - I agree - she broke it, she owns it!  I'll post an update!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Wow... that is something else... My family owns a few plots of land so I understand the drama involved...

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Oh gosh, yes, this would make for a very bad day.  Lesson to be learned with that agent, ALWAYS visit the property you are getting ready to write on, always check the deeds because the legal description in the MLS could be wrong, always check the public plat maps and survey. Plus it doesn't hurt to also check the tax records. Wow, check and recheck folks or you could have a very bad, no good day.

Posted by Linda Breeding (Keller Williams Realty ) over 11 years ago

Seems the title company might be a bit at fault here - ya think.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Bob and Carolin - In Nevada a buyer needs an ALTA Title Policy together with an Alta Survey, to actually physically identify the parcel in order for the buyer to have concrete proof of the site location. Otherwise, it's all paper!

Linda - The buyer's agent should have at least driven out to the site.  She only thought she knew which parcel the buyer was takking about.

C - Yep!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Oh my.  Can you spell S-U-R-V-E-Y ?  Sight unseen?  We cannot take anything for granted.  I once had a seller (early in my career) the day before closing ask me when they had to be out of the house.  Uh, tomorrow.  That was eye-opening.  I always have my buyers verify the tax record and verify the legal description of the property on the contract.  Now it seems perhaps I should have them verify a survey and a photo ... is this the house you intend to purchase?

Posted by Julie Nelson, Smart real estate. (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Julie - You are so right! 

Funny, I had a very similar experience early in my career too.

Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Survey and title insurance are so important. 

When I teach pre license students I advise them if a buyer do not want a survey or title insurance get the broker involved.

Posted by Richard Weeks, REALTOR®, Broker over 11 years ago

Tell the listing broker and agent to get their check books out.

Posted by R.E. Renée Hoover, Salesperson, Poconos, Pike, Wayne, Monroe Counties, PA; PA/NYS (Century 21 Geba Realty, Milford, PA; Licensed in PA & NYS) over 11 years ago

Richard - Good Advice, buyers should have title insurance always.  A survey may or may not be necessary but in the event there is any doubt, at least have the corners identified and marked by a licensed surveyor.

Rene'e - The listing agent did everything right.  The selling agent never visited the property!  The listing agent had it properly marked and identified with a sign and informational brochure.  The dumb dumb agent never bothered to make sure what she was selling.

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago