CHARLOTTE — More homeowners are speaking out about the real estate company, MV Realty, a company Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke has been investigating alongside our sister stations across the country.
The homeowners got fast cash. In exchange, they gave the company exclusive rights to sell their home for the next 40 years.
Brook Antonio says he was sitting on his deck when MV Realty called him. “They offered me $500 and said all I have to do is make sure when I go to sell my house that I sell it through them,” he said.
Under that offer, if he didn’t sell through them, he’d have to pay the company an early termination fee of 3% of value of his house.
Antonio told Stoogenke that he did not know it was a 40-year commitment and that the company would have exclusive rights to sell his home for the next four decades. He says he would not have signed the deal if he knew all of that.
Antonio hasn’t tried to sell his house, but he says he paid the 3% early termination fee anyway — more than $11,000 — just to be free of MV Realty.
Three states sue MV Realty
Stoogenke and other Channel 9 sister stations from across the country first reported last month on MV Realty. Since then, Attorneys General in Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts have sued the company.
“Consumers need to understand there’s a lot of strings with this money... and MV Realty’s not being upfront with them about what those strings are,” Debra Djupman Warring, with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, said.
The lawsuits aim to halt new agreements, void existing contracts, and ask the courts to order civil penalties against the company.
Stoogenke asked North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein if he plans to sue. “We’re aware of this company and its practices and we’re investigating the matter and, at this point, that’s all I can say,” Stein said.
MV Realty response
MV Realty declined multiple requests for an on-camera interview. It said, “Given the complexity of this issue, and our concern that short sound bites may not provide the clarity the issue deserves, we prefer to provide the company’s responses in writing.”
It emailed statements.
The first statement:
“We do enforce our agreements when homeowners violate their contracts. But we make sure that homeowners clearly understand the terms of the agreements before signing. Our licensed agents and brokers walk homeowners through the contracts. These realtors are bound by a professional code of ethics, and they have undergone a rigorous training program that covers every aspect of the contract and teaches them how to explain it in plain English to signatories. We also give the homeowners the option to rescind the agreement within three days of signing for any reason whatsoever.
“Each client is left a leave-behind one-page document with an overview of the important parts of the contract they have already signed, which I have attached, that states the 3 rescission period, the length of the contract, as well as contact information. They must sign the leave behind as well, acknowledging they understand the agreement they have made with MV Realty.”
Response to the Florida lawsuit:
“The Florida Attorney General issued a press release stating she filed a complaint against MV Realty. Our attorney is reviewing the complaint. MV Realty has helped more than 30,000 satisfied clients across the country and in Florida through our Homeowner Benefit Program. Our company is proud to employ hundreds of locally licensed real estate agents, including many in Florida. MV Realty has always been committed to transparency in all of our business transactions, and we are confident that any inquiry will confirm that our team has operated in full compliance with the law.”
Response to the Massachusetts lawsuit:
“MV Realty has helped more than 30,000 satisfied clients nationwide through our Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) by providing up to $5,000 that can be used to pay their mortgage, utility bills or improve their financial standing. We are proud that our team in Massachusetts is built on local, licensed real estate agents who have developed client relationships with over 550 households across the Commonwealth.
“New business models that bring innovations to any longtime industry, like the real estate establishment, can sometimes draw questions. That’s why we’ve been engaged in a transparent dialogue with the Attorney General’s office for the last several months and why it’s disappointing that they took this action.
“We are confident that after a full airing of the facts, the conclusion will be that MV Realty’s business transactions are legal and ethical and that our team has operated in full compliance with Commonwealth law. As this process moves forward, we remain fully committed to working with Massachusetts policymakers, including the Attorney General, to regulate these transactions.”
Response to the Pennsylvania lawsuit:
“MV Realty has helped more than 30,000 satisfied clients nationwide through our Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) by providing our clients up to $5,000 that can be used to pay their mortgage, utility bills or improve their financial standing. In return, we only ask to be their realtor if they sell their home during the term of our agreement.
“We are proud that our team in Pennsylvania consists of local, licensed real estate agents. And when our realtors explain HBAs to clients, they always work in a transparent dialogue to ensure that each client understands the terms of the agreement.
“New and innovative business models, like the HBA, can transform established industries and can sometimes draw questions from critics or outright hostility from those whose existing business model is threatened. However, to suggest that MV Realty has engaged in unfair or deceptive practices is simply false.
“After a full airing of the facts, we are confident that the conclusion will be that MV Realty’s business transactions are in full compliance with Pennsylvania law. As this process moves forward, we remain fully committed to working with Pennsylvania policymakers, including the Attorney General, to discuss appropriate regulations and oversight for the new and emerging business.”
If you signed a contract with MV Realty and want to tell Stoogenke about it, email Action9@wsoctv.com.
VIDEO: Realty company offers fast cash, but locks you in to 40-year commitment
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