Residents raise concerns about land offers

Staff Writer | January 14, 2021 1:00 AM

BONNERS FERRY — At the beginning of the year, a number of Boundary County landowners began finding letters in the mail with an offer to purchase land parcels. For many, it immediately raised a lot of red flags.

The letters are coming from a real estate investment company called The Land Hook, based in Dallas, Texas, run by owner/operator Kyler N. Dawson. The Land Hook website states their purpose is to provide clients with the “opportunity to invest in raw land at a price that won’t break the bank.”

Price is one red flag for those receiving offers. According to dozens of commenters on a local Facebook group post, Dawson’s offers are well below market value, with some alleging they were offered 25¢ on the dollar. Google reviews show evidence of the same, one in particular alleging they were offered $21,000 for a parcel that had a market value of $150,000.

The Land Hook website also says they “specialize in helping people get rid of their unwanted and unused vacant land,” raising another red flag because all of the letters have arrived unsolicited.

Most people commenting on the Facebook page didn’t seem to have any interest in selling their land. Some said the offer was for property they didn’t even own anymore. Many were concerned about someone from out of state looking to buy up so many parcels of land.

Another red flag was the attached purchase agreement that came with the offer. It is brief, shorter than a normal purchase agreement and provides an area for you to fill in your contact information and sign and date your name. There seems to be some dispute as to whether this is a legally binding contract.

Contacted by The Herald, Dawson said, “the purchase agreement is not a legal binding contract as spelled out in the letter and agreement. When an owner signs and returns the purchase agreement back to us it simply states their intent to sell and then we can move forward with due diligence.”

The Herald asked the Wilson Law Firm of Bonners Ferry to look at the letter and purchase agreement and their response was, “the document in question appears to contain an offer, that if accepted, may legally bind the accepting individual in a contract under Idaho law.”

For many recipients of the letter, these offers are seen as “land grabs.” Their biggest worry is that some people may fill out the attached purchase agreement believing they are simply asking for more information, only to find out later that they have unknowingly agreed to more than they initially realized.

Wilson Law Firm goes on to say “being bound by a contract in this manner does not, on the surface, appear to be unlawful. That said, if any offer from an unknown party feels wrong or too good to be true, there is always a decent possibility more is going on behind the scenes. We encourage anyone with concerns to reach out to an attorney, or contact the Attorney General’s office for further investigation.”

Bottom line, anyone receiving an offer like this should consult a lawyer before signing, or contact a local realtor if they’re interested in selling any property.