78-year-old Vietnam veteran James Heath isn’t quite sure how he got into a 40-year real estate deal.
A company called MV Realty was introduced to Heath through a telemarketer.
A whistleblower who once worked for the company said, “Most of them were actually the kind of elderly people you talk to on the phone.
Telemarketers for Florida-based MV Realty pushed for a 40-year exclusive listing rights deal.
This means that if Heath sells properties over the next 40 years, he will have to use the company’s agent of choice.
His reward was just over $2,200.
Heath’s daughter, Raven Lumpkin, said of the deal, “I thought maybe it was a scam”.
In Washington, what MV Realty is doing is perfectly legal. The company has contracts with owners of more than 290 of his homes in the Puget Sound area.
But its tactics and contracts face scrutiny in the state, with investigations underway in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.
The whistleblower said, “We thought it was wrong because we were going to lure people in. “We had to be proactive in our approach. It was a lot of pressure.”
She said the company takes advantage of seniors.
MV Realty denies that and says it uses a transparent process, stating, “We do not make phone calls and do not receive information from us through our website or the websites of our partners. We will only contact prospects who have opted in to do so,” he added.
Stephen Bender, a law professor at Seattle University, said, “It’s like a lien because it runs with the land and is a payment obligation.” I don’t know if there is.”
Vendors say Heath would have to pay MV Realty a 3% penalty, or $22,600, if he wanted to pick his own agent. Also, if he terminates his contract early, the company may be able to determine the value of the house.
“So who knows what would be reasonable for a company that has the right to lock your value and has the financial incentive to lock it as high as possible,” Bender said. said.
Finally, if a customer dies, heirs must transfer the transaction within 10 days or pay a 3% penalty.
In response, MV Realty said the agreement was not a lien, but a memorandum of understanding “serving as a public notice of the homeowners’ commitment to give MV the opportunity to represent them in the sale of their homes.”
KIRO 7 presented our findings to Sen. Mark Mallett of Issaquah, chairman of the Senate Business, Financial Services and Trade Committee. He plans to hold a public hearing on the business practice next month.
“Our job is to put some protection in place so that people who may be going through financially difficult times in their lives can later make the long-term decision not to come back to bite them. I think so,” Mallett said.
In the end, luck worked in Heath’s favor.
On the day of the contract, his daughter happened to stop by his house. She immediately moved to cancel with her 3 day cancellation window provided to all customers.
“A number of things could have happened and occurred that could have delayed me from noticing it. And I would not have been able to respond in time,” Lampkin said. said.
Correspondence of MV Realty
Mr. Heath is a 78-year-old veteran. In his March he signed a contract with MV Realty. He says the company failed to fulfill its contract with him. He says he didn’t know the basic elements of his contract. His daughter found out he had signed it, facilitating the cancellation.
The two homeowners who canceled and the homeowners who signed all three had the opportunity to cancel their contracts.
Q: Does MV Realty use pressure tactics to get prospects to sign up?
No; we don’t. We do not make telemarketing calls and only contact prospective clients who have opted in to receive information from us via our website or our partners’ websites. follows a completely transparent process of explaining our homeowner benefits program to homeowners and providing written disclosures in plain English.
Q: How does MV Realty find customers?
Our customers sign up through our website or social media, search for help selling a home, or find us through our partners’ websites.
Q: Does MV Realty focus on seniors and seniors as potential customers?
No – treat all incoming queries equally. In fact, we do not know the customer’s age or financial history at the time of contact.
Q: What is done to ensure that customers understand what they are signing?
We put a lot of effort into the initial meeting and the process related to the contract, and our customers are active participants in the process. The company has a strong commitment to consumer disclosure and is constantly adding more disclosures. Some of these disclosures include, but are not limited to:
· Homeowners are encouraged to have someone else present.
- Our licensed agents and brokers are trained to detail 40-year contract terms, 3% termination fees, memorandum submissions, and more, all in bold type.
- In fact, the terms are written in plain English in bold type and are always signed in front of a notary.
· We offer the homeowner the right to cancel the contract within 3 days.
· A customer-signed one-page layaway document re-emphasizes the same disclosures.
We also understand that it may not be desirable to take the side of the real estate company on consumer complaints, but please consider this perspective. We invest in new real estate to homeowners by offering them upfront cash payments in exchange for future property listings instead of investing in real estate offices, advertising, and traditional marketing. designed a business model. Of the thousands of payments we have made upfront, only a few homeowners have expressed confusion about our contract. And when that situation presents itself, we work hard with each homeowner to remind them of the contract they signed and how together we can do it right. Unfortunately, even when we act in good faith and try to resolve it, sometimes the conversation turns into a dispute.
Q: How long is the cooling-off period?
We offer homeowners the right to withdraw their offer within 3 days.
Q: How does MV Realty find customers from their phone list?
Contact people who have opted in for information about home sales.
Q: How do you decide how much to pay a customer?
Payment is based on the assessed value of the customer’s home. Our offers range from $300 to $5,000.
Q: What measures are in place to ensure that sales reps are not using heavy-handed tactics?
Our agents are carefully trained and do not use pressure tactics.
Multiple real estate experts say MV Realty’s contract actually acts as a lien on the property.
Q: Will a contract or other document filed with the county registrar act as a lien?
It is a memorandum that is filed and is different from, for example, a lien, which is a legal instrument used to pursue a debt. The Memorandum of Understanding (not a lien) serves as a public statement of commitment by the homeowner to give MV the opportunity to represent the sale of the home. This is to protect MV if the homeowner tries to sell her home without giving her MV a chance to represent her. For example, if a customer decides to take out a loan to renovate their home, it must be acknowledged and removed. The document is removed from the client’s file and replaced as soon as the loan is approved. We work with each homeowner as they are promoting those types of requests to ensure that their needs are met quickly.
©2022 Cox Media Group