The seller is likely being a bit paranoid. However, were you to arrange some deal with the seller and/or bankruptcy attorney in advance of the bankruptcy, that transaction would be voidable by the bankruptcy trustee as a preferential transaction. And, because you made an "inside" deal, the bankruptcy trustee could void the transaction up to one year after it occurred. So, you would likely be shooting yourself in the chest with your contemplated action.
If the seller files Chapter 7, then the property is the bankruptcy trustee's, and if you want to buy it, you'll have to buy it from the trustee (which is possible, because I've done it before) -- although the trustee is "supposed" to put the property up for public sale.
If the seller files Chapter 13, then once the bankruptcy plan is confirmed, the seller can sell to you directly, and depending upon the net proceeds, the trustee could request that the bankruptcy plan be modified -- but, that would be the seller's problem -- not yours.
Hope this helps.
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The trustee is not the debtor's attorney. The trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to act on behalf of the debtor's creditors in the administration of the bankruptcy estate (the debtor's property).
The trustee must legally try to maximize the value of the property in a Chapter 7, but sometimes selling quickly and avoiding real estate commissions and appraisals is viewed in the creditors' interests. Which is why I said it's possible to do this deal. However, it will take some finesse unless you happen to have a "relationship" with the trustee.
In Chapter 13, after the Plan is confirmed, the property vests back in the debtor. So, it's his/hers to sell for whatever price he/she can get.
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