Q: My son has been diagnosed with brain and spine cancer and we need to sell our house fast so we can relocate to be near his doctors.

The appraisal on my house is $199,900, and I am asking only $140,000, with hopes I can sell very quickly.

I have contacted a few of those “we buy houses fast” people and we received the following offer from this one particular investor. He has offered to buy the property for $150,000 and pay off my existing mortgage of $70,000. I’d get $70,000 at the closing. The investor is asking me to carry back a mortgage of the remaining $10,000 with a &”Deed of Trust secured by the house.” When the investor finally sells the house, I’d be paid the face value of the note, or my final $10,000. The investor has offered to pay all of the closing costs. We’d be selling without an agent.

What do you think of this offer?

A: First, let me say how sorry I am about your son’s illness. This is just about the worst thing that can happen to a mother, and you must be frantic as you try to support him while scrambling to collect the remnants of your life.

Before you sign with these people, investors, please make one more attempt to get a competing offer. I suggest you contact the top real estate agent/firm in your town. It’s possible that one of the savvy agents at the firm will offer to buy your house on the spot, since you are offering it at such as reduced price and there is built-in equity.

If that happens, you’ll be dealing with a known quantity: People who have been in the business for a long time, have a history that you can check, and who know the business. You could structure the deal the same way (except for the holdback) so you get all of your cash out of the house and can move on you’re your life.

If you can get a local agent interested, great. If not, you can go back to this investor (don’t forget to check him out through the web) and complete the deal.

However, I strongly urge you to hire a top local real estate attorney who can help make sure the deal is facilitated correctly.

Even if you’re holding everything together, there is so much going on in your life that the last thing you need is a real estate headache. Make sure you’re working with top people (agents, attorneys, title companies) so that at least this one thing goes well, and meets your timetable.

Best of luck to you, and your son.