Real estate firm offers landlords cash in exchange for 40-year lien – Boston 25 News

BROCKTON, Mass. – Naomi was feeling hopeless in the spring of 2021. The 50-year-old mother of two was out of work and falling behind on her bills.

Then she got a call from MV Realty.

“Someone just called me because I was looking for properties in Florida. They asked if I was moving and I said, ‘Not now,'” said Naomi, who asked that we not use not his last name.

MV Realty made her an offer that she thought sounded like a good deal: the company would give her $1,300 up front if she agreed to use MV Realty to list and sell her home whenever she decided to to relocate. Property records show she signed a deal with the Florida-based company on May 18, 2021.

“The way they explained it to us was clear. If you want to sell your house, you use them. If you don’t want to sell, you give the money back,” Naomi said.

What she didn’t understand was that the contract allowed MV Realty to place a 40-year lien on her property. She now owes the company a three percent commission on the sale of her home through 2061, even though she uses another real estate agent. The contract is binding, even if she and her husband were to die and leave the house to their children.

“I haven’t read everything [the contract],” she says.

THE MV REALTY “OWNER BENEFITS PROGRAM”

MV Realty describes itself as a Delray Beach real estate brokerage firm that operates in 33 states, according to its website. The company touts its homeowner benefits program as an “innovative approach” that “offers a great way to get cash fast without taking out a loan, paying interest, or having monthly payments.”

“If you are a homeowner, we can offer you a cash incentive of up to $5,000, a percentage of your home’s appraised value, in exchange for a 40-year agreement to use MV Realty as your listing agent, if and when you decide to sell your home,” the website states.

Massachusetts real estate records show dozens of landlords have signed deals with MV Realty since 2021. However, a joint investigation by Boston 25 and its sister stations Cox Media Group found that attorneys general in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina have opened investigations into the company’s activities. practices.

Second. Commonwealth Bill Galvin, who oversees most of Massachusetts’ land registries, said his office is “very interested” in knowing whether MV Realty “engages in predatory practices.”

“I have significant concerns about what they’re doing,” Galvin said.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office told Boston 25 it was aware of MV Realty’s business practices, but could not comment further.

WHISTLEBLOWER: “LEGAL BUT NOT ETHICAL”

KIRO, Boston 25’s sister station in Seattle, spoke with a former MV Realty telemarketer who said she was deeply troubled by what the company was doing.

“I started having concerns shortly after I was hired,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified. “They were basically locking the owners into a 40-year contract for an exclusive listing deal. If the owners decided that they were going to use another real estate agent or if they wanted to terminate the contract, they would end up having to pay 3% of the value of their house to MV Reality.

The former employee said many of the homeowners she reached out to were seniors, people who had recently inquired about refinancing or getting a home loan. The company uses spoofing software to conceal the area code of its calls, a point that MV Realty does not dispute.

“We had to be aggressive in our approach, and it was about getting them transferred to an agent so the agent could get them to say yes,” she said. “I believe that [homeowners] I just thought it was free money…they don’t read the fine print and realize it’s a 40 year contract.

The worker said she was eventually fired from MV Realty after a dispute over leave.

“I felt like I was taking advantage of people. It’s horrible. I didn’t want to make any more calls. I didn’t want to push these people into something that I just knew badly,” she said. “It’s legal, but it’s not ethical.”

MV IMMOBILIER RESPONDS

MV Realty’s director of communications and public relations, Diana London, defended the company in an email to WSB, Boston 25’s sister station in Atlanta.

“We enforce our agreements when landlords violate their contracts. But we make sure owners clearly understand the terms of the agreement before they sign it,” London wrote. “We are also giving owners the option to terminate the agreement within three days of signing for any reason.”

Along with the 12-page contract, London said owners receive a one-page document with an outline of “important parts of the contract they have already signed”. According to London, the company does not “cold call” potential customers, but rather caters to owners who have “chosen to receive information from us”.

She denies that the company targets low-income or late-paying homeowners.

“This is not true and totally unfounded,” London wrote. “We only contact people who have chosen to hear from us, regardless of income or financial situation,” she wrote.

The company declined a request for an on-camera interview citing “the complexity of this issue and our concern that short sound clips may not provide the clarity the issue deserves.”

CONSULT A LAWYER BEFORE SIGNING

Needham real estate solicitor Marc Canner said he would tell a client not to sign an agreement with MV Realty.

“Their business model is to give a relatively small amount of money, several hundred dollars, to an owner. In return, they place a lien on that owner’s property,” Canner said.

Canner reviewed the company’s contract and pointed to paragraph seven, where an owner would agree to waive their ability to join a class action lawsuit against the company.

“If a landlord has a problem with the MV Realty contract, the underlying agreement requires them to go to binding arbitration and not engage in class action. This means they will not be able to seek relief in state courts,” he said.

Canner recommends homeowners consult with an attorney before signing anything related to their home.

“Owners may not understand the seriousness of the situation. They get a few hundred dollars and they could [owe] several thousand dollars down the road,” he said.

Naomi admits the $1,300 offer clouded her judgement. She regrets not having taken more time to understand what she was getting into.

“I feel bad that sometimes you do something that you’re not fully aware of and people take advantage of it,” Naomi said. “It wasn’t the pressure. It was the advantage of having money.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News App for the latest news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW



Source link

Comments are closed.