SCHUYLER COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) — Officials in Schuyler County are warning residents about unsolicited offers to buy land in the County.

Officials say that these offers will often be at a deep discount from the actual value of the land, and are advising anyone receiving these offers to, “know your rights before you sign.”

Schuyler County Clerk, Theresa Philbin, says that there have been reports recently of a company making these offers to residents, and although legal, this tactic can result in landowners losing out on a lot of money.

“The offers include a Purchase and Sale Agreement, asking the owner to sign and send back within a short period of time,” Philbin said. “The quick cash offer they make is always below the assessed value and sometimes by as much as 15 to 25%,” she said, “that could cost you thousands of dollars, depending the price and your property’s actual value,” she said.

Steven Getman, Schuyler County’s Attorney, said that signing these offers creates a binding contract, and might obligate the owners to conditions or expenses they didn’t understand before signing.

Officials are reminding landowners to review any documents very carefully and consult an experienced attorney before signing any type of agreement.

Philbin and Getman offer several tips to property owners who may receive offers from these businesses:

  • Never sign anything until you are sure you want to move forward.
  • Have an attorney review the documents before signing.
  • Review the would-be buyer online, and search for any red flags, like bad reviews or lawsuits.
  • Ask the buyer for references, officials say that if they will not offer any, something is wrong. If the references they do provide seem off, or can’t be verified, Philbin and Getman say to rethink doing business with that person.
  • Consider bringing in a real estate professional to represent you and give you a fair opinion on how much your land with worth. If the buyer is legitimate, they should be willing to discuss terms with the agent.
  • Do not jump at the first offer made to buy your land, especially if you intend to sell your property, and if the offer given only represents a small fraction of the land’s worth.

The Schuyler County Clerk’s Office says that anyone who receives mail about their property that may seem questionable, to contact the clerk’s office, or law enforcement in the event of possible criminal activity.