Layman, here. I don't do real estate. But I have recent experiences that some of you might want to know about.
Since Nov. I have had Hubzu to remove listings for an encumbrance modular home that rests on my land, on not one, not two, not three, but four occasions. Finally, Hubzu has corrected the listing to represent their land only. But if I had not searched the address when I saw signs of renewed activity at the house. I would have an unwelcome family living in my yard.
The first listing was an auction that said "...No viewing,... DO NOT DISTURB OCCUPANT,..., buyer must take possession of property,... no contingencies, cash only..." No pics. but a description of the house. The house has been vacant for 6 yrs. They had just winterized it, and anyone could tell that no one but rats and birds have been there in a while.. On the house was posted a dispossessory for the bankrupted former occupant that moved out in 2010. I see that they also had the boundary line resurveyed, It agrees with the previous survey that shows the house to be on my land, rather than the adjacent property that they are advertising. The agent e-mailed apologies, with a quote sent to him from Ocwen counsel saying that they were under no obligation to move the house (as I had formerly requested and they had said they would do), and that it would be appropriate to list as land only. I said this is fine- I can use the house, and the agent said he would have the property relisted as land only.
After a few weeks, the second Hubzu listing showed This time a normal sounding listing with no red flags, but complete with inside and outside pics. of the house they said they wouldn't list. Also, all over MLS. Again, the polite agent removed it, apologized and promised to get it relisted as land only, and said he had alerted everyone to stay away from the house. (After I threatened to have trespassers arrested.)
The day after that an Altisource guy came out with a sign, and called me to find out where to put it. He was confused by the barbed wire, flagging tape, 15 no trespassing signs,and house not for sale sign.I had just put up..I noticed after he put up the sign and left, that it says " Buy this house at Hubzu.com. Listing agent Owners.com." The day after that an appraiser called to ask if she could cross my fencing to appraise the house. I told her that I was told she should appraise the land only. "Ohhh", she replied.
So, along came the third (and sneakiest) set of listings; again for the house that is on my property. These ads were not on Hubzu, but Homes.com,, RealtyStore, and foreclosure.com,and possibly others. The headings just said address not disclosed and /or name of city. Only pics. of the interior of the house were shown. But one ad had the address within the body. These are listings requiring credit card info.to get agent name & details. The agent that removed the other ads said he had no control over these listings; just Hubzu & MLS. So, I called Owners.com who connected me with Hubzu within seconds.I threatened with television exposure, and said the house needs to remain unsold and unlisted.The listings came down.
The agent agrees that the listing should be for land only. He connected me with the Ocwen ombudswoman, saying this should fix things, She called a few times and said"...According to my research, we don't own that house..." She said she'd talked to preservation dept. and whomever to list as land only. When I said" it needs to contain no pictures of the house...", I hear a deep sigh and "I trust they will do that."
Then came the fourth listing, again with pics. of the house, inside & out. The agent says he will relist it as land only, and send a copy of my e-mail to the ombudswoman.. Guess what? It is now, finally shown as land only on Hubzu and other sites.
Here's the strangest part of the story. Around the closing of auction one, I exchanging e-mails with a foreign accented Altisource employee in order to get over the language barrier, and send copies of my plat, etc. Two days later, I hate to admit, I succumbed to a Microsoft impersonator computer hacker with a similar accent. He even said my computer had been hacked through my e-mail. Didn't say HE was the hacker. Then the hacker called back 1-2 days after the second listing removal. Then he called back 1-2 days after the closing of the third set of listings. But no call after taking down the last one....yet...Synchronicity interests me...I'm sure there's no connection....whatsoever.
Moral of story: Don't buy sight unseen. Go to county tax assessor aerial maps, Look also at aerial maps of your neighbors' properties. These may reveal encumbrances. Insist on a recent plat that shows boundaries and structures. Walk the property line. Talk to the neighbors. If a listing says no viewing, it may not be just to insure the occupant's privacy.