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.

A local Facebook group featured a post with dozens of comments expressing concern about the issue. The original post was taken down, but a second post has gone up since and locals are expressing the same concerns on the new post.

The letters are coming from a real estate investment company called The Land Hook, based out of Dallas, Texas, run by owner/operator Kyler N. Dawson. On its website, Land Hook states its 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 many, 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 with a market value of $150,000.

The company’s 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 who commented on the Facebook post didn’t 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.

“The purchase agreement is not a legal binding contract as spelled out in the letter and agreement,” Dawson said when contacted for comment. “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.”

Officials with Wilson Law Firm in Bonners Ferry said “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 officials said that “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, officials with the law firm said.