Toll Brothers mistakenly sells over 80 lots to Sparks buyer

A Sparks homebuyer literally got more than she bargained for after ending up with a swath of lots in a Toll Brothers subdivision — plus two common areas — while buying a single-family home.

Washoe County appraiser data showed the buyer was originally purchasing a single-family home valued at $594,481. However, additional documents obtained from the assessor as well as the Washoe County Recorder’s office also show that the buyer not only acquired the property she was purchasing, but also 85 additional lots in the Stonebrook development of Toll Brothers in Spanish Springs, just northeast of Reno.

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The properties include several home sites that have already been built and sold. At least 64 of the lots were put under the buyer’s name on Saturday.

The transaction was reported by the appraiser’s office, which says it promptly informed the relevant title company of the issue. The guilty? Apparently, it only takes four keystrokes to accidentally give someone title to properties worth millions of dollars.

“It appears that Westminster Title of Las Vegas may have copied and pasted a legal description of another Toll Brothers transfer when preparing the (buyer’s) deed for registration,” said Cori Burke, Washoe County Deputy Chief Assessor, when reached on Monday.

“Because it was quite clear that an error had been made, our Valuation Services Division immediately contacted Westminster Title so that they could begin correcting the chain of title for the 86 properties transferred in error.”

The 86 properties include the 84 lots and two common areas that were mistakenly transferred.

The Washoe County Assessor’s Office updates ownership information for such transactions based on the legal description provided in the record as opposed to the parcel number, according to Burke. In this case, the legal description of the transaction which was officially registered on July 25 specifically stated that it encompassed “lots 1 to 85…and common areas A and B”.

According to Burke, reporting errors caused by incorrect legal descriptions happen “quite often,” largely due to copy-and-paste errors.

“This particular case is just a bit more interesting because of the number of lots involved,” Burke added.

To correct the confusion, the homebuyer in question will need to transfer title to Toll Brothers. Once these documents are registered, ownership can be transferred from Toll Brothers to any new owner through our normal process, according to Burke.

The ease of the process will depend on the cooperation of the other party. With several of the affected properties already sold to other buyers, any lengthy delays in reclaiming title could cause potential headaches.

“It’s clear to us, but we only see the registered documents, not what the title company goes through to get a clear title,” Burke said.

“I think someone might try to make it difficult. However, the title company also has the offer and acceptance of the purchase on file, so the intent is pretty clear. I think that would be a loser in court and I doubt it happens often, if at all.

The Reno Gazette Journal has contacted Toll Brothers for comment. The RGJ also reached out to a Sparks resident with the same name as the buyer and received a “no comment” response with a smiley face emoji.

Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews the latest video games. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Do you like this content ? Support local journalism with a RGJ digital subscription.

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