For sale by neighbor

For sale by neighbor


When I was a kid, we had a cassette tape of James Gregory. I remember listening to the different segments, laughing real hard, and rewinding the tape to listen to them again. (And to any of my younger readers, a cassette tape was like a small storage thumb drive for music that came before CD’s. And yes, I’m that old.)


One segment that sticks out in my mind had to do with signs. James was talking about driving through neighborhoods and seeing signs that read “For Sale By Owner.” James stopped and said to the audience, “Now don’t that just sound like a waste of paint. Who else would be trying to sell this man’s house? I’ve yet to see a sign that read, ‘For Sale, By Neighbor.’”


Now unless you can recount the sound of James Gregory’s voice (because even his voice is funny) reading that segment may not elicit the same response as hearing it firsthand. But it really is funny, and I chuckle on the inside every time I think of it.


Well, this week I had a seller lead come in that may challenge Mr. Gregory’s premise and I’d like to tell you about it.


The lead came in from an agent that knows we buy mobile homes. She contacted me and told me about the mobile home, that it was partially finished and sitting on over an acre of land. It was not on a permanent foundation nor fixed to the property. And because of all that, the owners wanted me to look at it first.


As I was putting the lead into our computer system, I noticed something strange when I got to the tax card. The owner on record was a friend of mine. The reason that caught my attention is I was pretty sure my friend lived in a stick-built house, and they had just moved there last year.


Either way, I went out and inspected the house. After viewing the home, I called my friend. After saying our hello’s, he asked me what I was up to. That’s when I told him I had just left his house. He said, “What?” I laughed and told him I was at the mobile home adjacent to his property and asked him if he could tell me what was going on.


As it turns out, my friend bought his house and two acres from a seller earlier last year. They have small livestock and wanted to increase their pasture. The guy behind them had two parcels; one with a mobile home on it, the other with a small pond on it. My friend struck up a deal to buy the parcel with the pond and they went to an attorney to get it closed. To save money, they decided to have the attorney prepare a quit-claim deed and do no title search. My friend got the deed, and all was well — or so they thought.


Well, the two parcels had very similar tax parcel numbers — like 134 and 134A. The one with the “A” was the pond and the other was the mobile home. My friend was on the tax card for the mobile. Thinking that could just be a clerical error at the tax office, I went to the deed room to check.


You see, the deed room is more important than the tax card because the deed has the legal description of the real property that was conveyed between parties. Sometimes tax cards can have an error and the tax card can be easily changed if you show the deed to back it up.


Well, I found the deeds, and I found the error. And as it turns out, my friend’s deed had the legal description for the parcel with the mobile home on it. And the other parcel was still in the previous owner’s name.


Remember that I said they elected to not do a title search at the attorney’s office to save money? That was our issue. You see, the attorney requires the seller to provide the documentation to prepare the deed if they are not going to pay for a title search. The seller brought the wrong information, and now the mobile home is legitimately for sale by neighbor. I wonder what Mr. Gregory would think of that?


Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to or call Joe at 678-986-6813.



  1. Great article, Joey. Crazy things happen if you don’t do stuff the right way, doesn’t it? Years ago we were at the foreclosure auction and another investor bought a property in a cut de sac. Turns out, the person who looked up the house, took pictures, ran the numbers, etc….did all of that work on the wrong house! Needless to say, the investor was p!!!$ed! They worked it out financially, and suffice it to say, the investor always double checked the person who looked up the house after that!

    Love you, my friend.

  2. Very good read. Saving a few bucks with a deed only with no title opinion doesn’t always save money in the long run when things have to later be corrected. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked us to do a deed only, and then call us a year later to tell us “we” did something wrong or that there was a lien on the property or something like that. It gets real quiet on the other end of the phone when we remind them that we didn’t do a title exam at their request, and therefore could not have known that the legal description they gave us was incorrect or that the other party had a lien against them.

    1. As always, it is great to get your perspective Lee. And you are right, there is a difference between price and cost. People get to caught up on the price of things and don’t see the overall cost.

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