Iowa Bans Low-Ball Land Buying Companies

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(Des Moines, IA) -- Three out-of-state companies offering to buy Iowans' land have agreed to stop doing business in the state. The Iowa Attorney General's Office says the companies' offers were well-below market value. The A-G's office says one offer was 10-times lower than the actual land value. The firms are accused of violating the Consumer Fraud Act.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office received several complaints in 2021 and this year about unsolicited land purchase agreements were sent via mail by CRT Acres, Land Acquisitions and Westward Land Holdings. The solicitations included a purported “Purchase Agreement” that, in part, describes the property owned by the recipient of the mailer and offers to purchase it. The amount offered to buy the property appears to always be a small fraction of its fair market value. The recipient is invited to sign the offer and send it back to the solicitor to accept it.  

The Iowa AG alleged the companies were in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act as their business model constitutes “unfair conduct,” according to assurances of voluntary compliance between the AG’s Office and CRT Acres, its owner Christopher Michael Neal; Land Acquisitions, its owner Brandon Waterson; and Westward Land Holdings, its owner Jon Burnett.  

Neal, Waterson and Burnett, and their companies, denied they misled landowners or violated the law, but have agreed to permanently cease solicitations to purchase agricultural land located within the state of Iowa.  

The Iowa AG is unaware of any Iowans who completed a land transaction using these mail solicitations from the companies.

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