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Low Offers for Land
Who is Terrain Trade and Beaver Valley?
Update and Spoiler Alert - LS Power is not involved with either of these land agents. These low offers are not coming from LS Power or on behalf of LS Power. See below, theory Number 1 is the truth.
A lot of members in the Facebook group have recently received letters offering to purchase their property. The letters are coming from two different companies - Terrain Trade and Beaver Valley Land. These offers are ridiculously low, ranging from $500 - $1000 per acre.
Here’s what I could uncover (it’s not much).
Terrain Trade was formed in Michigan May 24, 2023. They filed as State St Land Investing Company and then filed an assumed name certificate on June 1 to do business as Terrain Trade.
A Registered Agent filed the paperwork both times. That Registered Agent’s name is William Chatterson, and he works in Michigan, though he also has filings in Florida and New York. You can see some of his other filings here .
Beaver Valley Land LLC was set up April 26, 2022.
Both companies were established through an agent so it's pretty difficult to figure out who's truly behind them. For those who don’t know, a registered agent is an individual or entity designated by a company to receive service of process notices, government correspondence, and compliance-related documents on behalf of the company. The function of a registered agent is to receive important correspondence on behalf of the company, and then forward the materials to the company. It’s 100% legal and it’s done often, but it’s a great way to “hide” the ownership of a company.
The letter from Terrain Trade says they’re a family owned business and they’ve worked with thousands of landowners, yet it’s been in existance for less than four months. And do we really believe that William Chatterson is a part of a family owned business?
I have a couple of theories on who’s really behind the letters and why they’re being sent.
Companies follow along whenever there’s a big development project and try to pick up properties inexpensively from fed-up landowners. These companies may be doing exactly that. It would require a bit of legwork to identify property owners, but probably worth it if they can buy land for 1/4 or less of it’s value.
LS Power may have sold the list of contacts to real estate purchasing companies. This would remove the legwork. There may be a contract that LS Power would get easy easement rights on any property purchased by companies like Terrain Trade or Beaver Valley.
LS Power may have created new LLCs to work behind. Most people I’ve talked to don’t want to sell anything to LS Power, but if the offer comes from a third party they may be more willing to make a deal. LS Power may be trying to see who’s willing to sell low. They can buy an entire property, place the easement, then resell the property with the easement in place and make a nice profit.
LS Power is trying to buy land (under the cover of these LLCs) at an extreme discount. All property sales impact the appraised value of other properties in the area. If a neighbor’s land sells at 1/4 of the value, it will impact the appraised value of your land. If three neighbors sell at 1/4 of the value, it will impact it even more. LS Power only needs to spend a little money up front to get a landowner or two who are looking for easy cash to sell low and it will save them a lot of money later. Land appraisals will drop, and then LS Power won’t need to pay as much for easements when this goes to court.
What can we do? Go talk to your neighbors. Find out if they received offers. Thell them who may be behind the offers. We can’t keep anyone from entering into a contract, but we can definitely give them information on why it may not be in their best interests. If anyone receives offers from other companies, let us know.
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