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I am in the process of buying an extra parking spot at a high rise condo, located in FL. I have contacted a realtor a few months ago, and according to her there is not much availability but owners do sell spots from time to time. In reality, they sell the assignment with the condominium association, since the parking spot is not deeded.

This week the realtor contacted me with an opportunity to buy one for $15,000. According to her, the owner is having his unit going into short sale and wants to cash out the parking spot before that happens. There is one big red flag in my view - they insist in having the value on the contract at $10,000 - significantly lower than what I would pay. The remaining $5,000 would have to be paid separately.

The language on the agreement is similar to this one:
http://www.millenniumcondo.net/f/Assignment_for_Parking_Space-BL...
note that the document is to be signed by both the condo association and the seller..

Should I be concerned that:
- The value on the contract is different than what I would be paying - tax consequences, recourse in case there is a problem in the future
- Would her mortgage bank be able to come after me if her condo goes into foreclosure/short sale?

Any thoughts would be much appreciated..

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I am a Barrister from Nigeria and my clients have recently passed away. After these several unsuccessful attempts to fi... (more)

SpatulaCity (May. 06, 2011 @ 11:22a) |

If there was to be cash under the table, the realtor wasn't getting a 3-6% commission. My guess is the seller was offer... (more)

SCSURFER (May. 06, 2011 @ 11:36a) |

Move out of Florida. It is horrible and needs to sink ASAP.

lray (May. 06, 2011 @ 1:36p) |

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I would talk to a lawyer before doing this. My assumption would be that the mortgage encumbers the parking spot as part of the property, and therefore, you would be buying an asset which secures the mortage. When they go into foreclosure, or through a short sale, and someone recognizes this, they are going to come after the original owner, and if he can't pay, they will come after your new parking spot.

You are smart to be careful.

Do you already have a condo there yourself and want another spot? If so, when you originally bought was a parking spot included automatically with that purchase, with no separate agreement?

The condo statute says that any unit should have at least 1 parking space.

So, to answer your question - yes, there was one parking included with the unit.

In this case, the owner is selling me a second parking space that according to him was bought separately from the condo unit. I am thinking about requesting documentation that it was indeed a separate purchase - this would (I think) show to me that it is not included in the mortgage loan?

Regarding leases that courts are not disturbing during foreclosures - could the same be done here?

I used to live up the street from here at The Beach Club - this is a nice building.

mmarreco said:   I am thinking about requesting documentation that it was indeed a separate purchaseGood idea. And one has to wonder why they insist you pay $5000 under the table.

It looks like it attaches to the unit... I'd be suspicious of this.

mmarreco said:   This week the realtor contacted me with an opportunity to buy one for $15,000. According to her, the owner is having his unit going into short sale and wants to cash out the parking spot before that happens. There is one big red flag in my view - they insist in having the value on the contract at $10,000 - significantly lower than what I would pay. The remaining $5,000 would have to be paid separately.
Didn't some realtors get in trouble for money laundering for doing that?

How much would it be to buy the unit as short sale/foreclosure ?

If you wait until the unit goes into foreclosure, you might be able to get it for far cheaper, as perhaps it a condo rule that non-owners have no parking rights. So the seller is looking at losing the spot the minute foreclosure happens. What is the rate that people buy an assignment, this should be pretty public knowledge since the condo signs it and as an owner you have rights to review the books, etc.

BlueSeaLake said:   How much would it be to buy the unit as short sale/foreclosure ?

If you wait until the unit goes into foreclosure, you might be able to get it for far cheaper, as perhaps it a condo rule that non-owners have no parking rights. So the seller is looking at losing the spot the minute foreclosure happens. What is the rate that people buy an assignment, this should be pretty public knowledge since the condo signs it and as an owner you have rights to review the books, etc.


Problem is low supply and high demand. Someone else will probably snatch it up by then.

Even if the owner "bought" an extra spot, what is to stop him from selling both spots to different buyers?

Some Fl condos are unique animals. You can buy a "cabana room" by the pool, or extra parking, etc.

It all depends if this is tied in any way to the condo being shorted, or is completely separate. Usually cabanas and parking spots can be bought and sold separately, but only to another owner within the complex. It will be wise to use an attorney familiar with these sales

riznick said:   

Problem is low supply and high demand. Someone else will probably snatch it up by then.


Exactly, if I don't buy it there are at least 2 other people ready to buy (again, this all according to the realtor)

Realtors are no better than car salesman in my book. They will say anything to get you to buy right then and there. Anytime someone puts a high pressure time limit on the sale I walk away. However, I see that you really want this spot so I would:

A) Insist on the contract reflecting the actual purchase price.
B) Insist on seeing notarized docs verifying the transfer of land from the original owner to the seller.

Treat this sale as you would any other property transfer. Documents must be notarized and must reflect the actual purchase price and you will avoid any problems in the future.

One more thing, if you cannot find a lawyer to review the docs for a reasonable fee you can try www.justanswer.com. I would take their advice with a grain of salt but, there is nothing wrong with listening until you make the decision to act.

Edit to add: Have you considered and is it possible to purchase title insurance?

mewannaxbox said:   Realtors are no better than car salesman in my book. They will say anything to get you to buy right then and there. Anytime someone puts a high pressure time limit on the sale I walk away. However, I see that you really want this spot so I would:

A) Insist on the contract reflecting the actual purchase price.
B) Insist on seeing notarized docs verifying the transfer of land from the original owner to the seller.

Treat this sale as you would any other property transfer. Documents must be notarized and must reflect the actual purchase price and you will avoid any problems in the future.

One more thing, if you cannot find a lawyer to review the docs for a reasonable fee you can try www.justanswer.com. I would take their advice with a grain of salt but, there is nothing wrong with listening until you make the decision to act.

Edit to add: Have you considered and is it possible to purchase title insurance?


Thanks for the ideas - I have thought about insurance, but the issue here is that the parking spot is that there is no title to the parking space - the parking in essence belongs to the condo association and owners get an assignment with right to use (there is no deed), so what I am really purchasing is the assignment of a specific space.

Good idea in having it notarized.

I have also contacted the condo association to verify that the owner purchased this space independently from his unit - meaning that it was not part of the purchase price of the condo that is mortgaged and in theory he is free to sell it. Hope they will be willing to give me this information.

I think you're best off to consult a real estate attorney if you're going to do the purchase. I know one person who sold a space without an attorney, same as the buyer as it looked pretty straightforward. Later a tax bill came for the time that the original seller owned the property. The buyer tried to get the seller to pay it, but as there wasn't any language that the seller would pay any old bills, he told the buyer to forget it and never heard anything else about it. Most P&S agreements usually have something to that effect in there. It shouldn't really cost too much, call around to a few offices and they should be able to do it for a flat rate. As for the separate sale price, don't do it. When you go to sell, you'll have paperwork that says you only paid 10k and you'll owe taxes on the gain.

eh -- just park in a visitor space and save yourself 15G! (j/k really) it's what the folks do in my condo community who don't have enough assigned spaces for their vehicles. really irks me, too, because when people visit there are no visitor spaces due to all the residents using them. i've been pushing the HOA buttons to no avail...

You need to see a copy of the assignment.

The example you posted rather clearly attaches the assignment with the unit, and without further special agreement wouldn't be able to be sold or transferred to someone other than the person buying his unit.

All the condo properties I have experience with deed the parking spaces. I guess it's going on a bit of a tangent, but what are the advantages of assignment rather than deeded? It seems to muddy the waters.

Update: I refused to sign the document with the lower selling price (actually the seller wanted me to sign a document stating a $10 (ten dollars) price instead of $15,000 I would pay). The seller walked and according to him there is another buyer willing to do the deal under his terms.

I am angry about losing the opportunity as god knows when another one will be for sale, I am considering if I should report the seller to IRS for fraud. Under reporting the transaction price will clearly result in lower taxes.. I did a quick research, and it seems the IRS requires me to know his SSN and DOB in order to report the fraud.. seems more information that I can obtain under normal means. Any ideas of what I can do (other than pound sand)???

mmarreco said:   I have also contacted the condo association to verify that the owner purchased this space independently from his unit - meaning that it was not part of the purchase price of the condo that is mortgagedWhy did you refuse to sign the seller's documents before hearing back from the condo association to see if the seller can even sell this parking space?

Alcibiades said:   mmarreco said:   I have also contacted the condo association to verify that the owner purchased this space independently from his unit - meaning that it was not part of the purchase price of the condo that is mortgagedWhy did you refuse to sign the seller's documents before hearing back from the condo association to see if the seller can even sell this parking space?

Because he wanted me to sign a document stating that the transaction price was $10 and then pay him $14,990 under the table.

Count your blessings. I thought it was strange that he wanted it to report 10k but, $10 reeks of tax evasion and fraud.

Should've signed the $10 doc and then given him $10 and proceeded to park in the spot...he could've had a fun time explaining to the judge "...but I was REALLY selling it for $15k!"

mewannaxbox said:   Count your blessings. I thought it was strange that he wanted it to report 10k but, $10 reeks of tax evasion and fraud.

Exactly, but now that I know someone went down in this scheme, how can I seek some well deserved revenge? Would the IRS even care to know about this?

mmarreco said:   mewannaxbox said:   Count your blessings. I thought it was strange that he wanted it to report 10k but, $10 reeks of tax evasion and fraud.

Exactly, but now that I know someone went down in this scheme, how can I seek some well deserved punishment? Would the IRS even care to know about this?


Count you blessings that you were smart enough not to take part in the purchase, and just walk away. No reason to get involved with it now that you didn't purchase the space. Creating bad blood with other residents (the seller and buyer) out of spite rarely ends well.

LiquidSilver said:   
Count you blessings that you were smart enough not to take part in the purchase, and just walk away. No reason to get involved with it now that you didn't purchase the space. Creating bad blood with other residents (the seller and buyer) out of spite rarely ends well.


These are wise words however I really don't care about the other residents as I don't live there (it's an investment rental property). What I do care about people paying their fair share of taxes and this whole scheme just rubs me in the wrong way...

Edit to add: I believe if I were to tip the IRS they would keep my identity confidential so there would be no way they would know who sent the info in the first place.

If you REALLY want to be vindictive, you could claim that it's really your parking spot.

Take the new owner to small-claims court. Bring your documentation showing that the parking spots cost $15,000. When the judge asks to see the parking spot for the $10 one, than you can spring the question "Why was it only $10?"

/No, I wouldn't really recommend this. There's perjury in there somewhere I'm sure.

Are you saying that it was the realtor that was presenting this type of transaction? It's too late now, but maybe if you had the counter offer in writing, you could threaten to report her to the state real estate board and have their license revoked. Or even now you could call her up and tell her that and maybe you'll get another shot at it. Desperate sellers do things that don't really make sense. As for reporting to the IRS, you could just call up the state attorney general's office and maybe they'll investigate.

mmarreco said:   riznick said:   

Problem is low supply and high demand. Someone else will probably snatch it up by then.


Exactly, if I don't buy it there are at least 2 other people ready to buy (again, this all according to the realtor)



and we all KNOW that a realtor, especially one in FL, would NEVER lie to anyone, just to collect a commission.

Knowing that this whole deal smacks of something shady, I would be wary of anyone who had any part in it, particularly a real estate clown (and they wonder why most people have a higher opinion of child rapists than them?)

and we all KNOW that a realtor, especially one in FL, would NEVER lie to anyone, just to collect a commission.

That's right. That big commission check on this transaction. 6 points on $10k. $600 minus the split with the listing agent and selling agent's boss/broker. Then pay taxes on the 1099. Yep, lie, cheat and steal for enough money to buy a referbed iPod.

You need a lawyer op. This is way too fishy.

Offer the guy $5k and tell him to be happy he gets that much.

mmarreco said:   LiquidSilver said:   
Count you blessings that you were smart enough not to take part in the purchase, and just walk away. No reason to get involved with it now that you didn't purchase the space. Creating bad blood with other residents (the seller and buyer) out of spite rarely ends well.

What I do care about people paying their fair share of taxes and this whole scheme just rubs me in the wrong way...

Edit to add: I believe if I were to tip the IRS they would keep my identity confidential so there would be no way they would know who sent the info in the first place.


If you would have signed, you would have participated and been in trouble. You dodged a bullet here. Without knowing whether or not the unit was deeded in the mortgage with two parking spaces (this happens), you couldn't have made the decision and protect yourself.

Your best bet is to walk away and be smug about your savvy. Other people would have done this without batting an eye, and wound up with a space with a mortgagee claimant asserting priority over your purchase. Priority in another lien means you're SOL. Additionally, you would have had a problem asserting a bona fide purchaser defense.

This guy is going to be screwed by the IRS eventually. You do not want to be involved. They will not keep you anonymous (think about it, you would be a witness and your contract would be the subject of the complaint) and this guy will have nothing and nothing to lose. Don't put yourself in that situation. He is cashing out... just let him burn up on his own, he will get his.

Try contacting high rise condo associations in the area and see if any have spots for sale without a realtor, dealing directly with the associations. An injection of cash can persuade some places to drop a guest spot for you. any with moderate rates of vacancy you know about?

not legal advice!

theblenny said:   and we all KNOW that a realtor, especially one in FL, would NEVER lie to anyone, just to collect a commission.

That's right. That big commission check on this transaction. 6 points on $10k. $600 minus the split with the listing agent and selling agent's boss/broker. Then pay taxes on the 1099. Yep, lie, cheat and steal for enough money to buy a referbed iPod.

You need a lawyer op. This is way too fishy.


Just had another thought. You know the agent who was putting out this BS was going to collect the full commission on the entire 15K, so they would have gotten the entire 9K at closing (6 above-board, sort of, and 3 under-the table.) Would the agent have split the entire 9K with the broker they work for? My bet is that they were looking at pocketing the entire under-the-table amount! OP, you may want to call the broker the agent works for and ask about that.

According to what you said earlier, each unit is required to have a spot. So it would have been risky to buy that spot from the owner and risk the new owner taking it from you regardless of how the original owner came about obtaining the parking spot. I think you were good forget it.

I am a Barrister from Nigeria and my clients have recently passed away. After these several unsuccessful attempts to find any descendents, I decided to trace his relatives (i.e., same surname) over the Internet, to locate any member of his family, but of no avail, hence I contacted you.

Since I have been unsuccessful in locating the relatives for over two years now I seek your consent to present you as the next of kin of the deceased since you are still a foreigner, so that the proceeds of this account valued at $7.3million USD can be paid to you and then you and me can share the money, 50% to me and 45% to you, while 5% should be for expenses or tax as your government may require.

All I require is a small deposit of $5000 USD to begin this process and legal work of repatriating the money back to you.

If there was to be cash under the table, the realtor wasn't getting a 3-6% commission. My guess is the seller was offering a $1K or more cash bonus to get this done at "$10,000" and that increased when they decided $10 would be a better way to go. More than likely, the realtor wouldn't make anything on the deal that would ever get reported anyway.

Where I'm at many realtors are losing their licenses and going to jail for similar schemes in short sales. I'm a realtor "hobbyist" and the degree to which this people scheme and lie and cheat and steal behind their clients' back just sickens me (this is probably deserving of an entirely different thread).

Be glad you didn't fork over the $15K, my hunch is that you would have lost both it and the parking spot eventually. Any revenge is likely to be met with a brick through your window or broken water pipes...not worth it in my opinion, but I know it would feel great short term.

Move out of Florida. It is horrible and needs to sink ASAP.

mmarreco said:   Any ideas of what I can do (other than pound sand)???



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