Physically Threatened Our Family
ABINGDON, VIRGINIA -- Century 21 Shamrock Realty, Unethical in Every way!
First, let me start by saying that anything typed in Caps is for emphasis on that particular word/sentence,(like many other posters on this site) I am not yelling. These incidents occurred between September 2007 and January 2008. I have thought this over very thoroughly before posting my review, to make sure it is NOT just an emotionally charged rant but a factual account of the events that took place...
All seemed well upon meeting a buyers agent at the prestigious Century 21 Shamrock in Abingdon, VA. She took us out to lunch after showing my family the home we were planning on purchasing. Subtle little clues began to appear during negotiations, that perhaps she wasn't entirely on "our side", we brushed them aside at first due to the excitement of beginning a new chapter in our new home "to-be".
Soon enough conversations were conveniently forgotten, items that were supposed to be included with the sale price of the home grew price tags out of nowhere, we had caught and confronted her in numerous lies about this. When approached, she never seemed concerned on our behalf. She had no clue as to whether or not inspections and appraisals had been completed in the timely manner they were supposed to be. Keep in mind she was signed as OUR representative during this time and that is an agents job (to make sure everything in done in a timely manner and to the satisfaction of the client).
THE DAY BEFORE closing there was still no word as to if it would happen as scheduled (the mortgage company was still waiting to get the appraisal back), yet she told our LARGE family and house pets to "Come on down, everything will be fine" we were moving WAY out of state and had no choice but to come, the trailer with all our belongings had left the day before. A little behind in our traveling schedule (because of the closing on our home, and saying goodbye to family and friends),we drove straight through the night so we could be at our "closing" on time the next morning. Had our cell phones on us and active the whole time, expecting some sort of news.
Drained and SO tired we made it to closing shortly after arriving in VA only to find out the mortgage had been denied that morning. The entire team at Century 21 Shamrock, and the homeowners we were trying to buy from knew this but waited to tell us until we arrived... AFTER an 8 and 1/2 hour drive and no sleep. Funny they had been informed before us considering we were the ones applying for the loan-which IS on the mortgage company, but some more notice would have been nice. At least then we could have caught a few ZZZ's and rescheduled so we could have been a bit more "clear minded" and "on the ball" and ready to catch them during their deceit, instead of days later when it all sank in.
They miraculously already had the contract to rent this property for (2 months) drawn up before our arrival, so you know they had been hard at work and already informed of the mortgage companies decision. They refused to show any of the water and septic inspection paperwork for the property, telling us, "well your not buying it yet" only to later say they showed us. BY LAW in the state of Virginia, water and sewer/septic testing MUST be done, so even though the purchase had fallen through that morning, the proof of testing should have been there. If it had been done, what was the problem with showing us? We were going to be living in the home, shouldn't we know if the water was safe for drinking? Or more importantly, were they expecting the mortgage to fall through because they knew more about how the market in this area worked?
**NOTE-when buying or selling a home, you sign or initial EVERY page pertaining to inspections, for the seller, buyer and companies protection. ETHICALLY Realtors are required to provide you with copies of EVERYTHING signed/initialed ON THE DAY YOU SIGN IT!!!** IF we had signed or been shown those inspections (which we were not) we would have copies of them, we have copies of EVERYTHING else!
They refused any negotiations on the rental price for us, $2,000 a month is ludicrous for ANY property in Russell County (we later found out), refused any negotiations that would subtract this large amount of rent from the sale price, which usually is the norm when you are trying to purchase the home. It was a take it or leave it type of deal, and my family with nowhere else to go was duped into signing.
Our family being new to the state was a huge disadvantage for us, we were dependent entirely upon the referrals from Century 21 Shamrock
when shopping for mortgages. It was our belief only Local lenders would write on the property after failed attempts with National companies who tend to have stricter policies. She referred us to "wonderful" lender after lender (who would not write on the property due to its uniqueness, water system and acreage), never suggesting the local banks (who SOME SAY would have written on the property had we come to them FIRST).
We were also unfortunate enough to receive some horrible advice concerning credit scores. Our "agent", who should be experienced in the process of applying for mortgages, was asked what effect all these attempts would have on a credit score. Her response,"Oh, it doesn't matter when applying for home loans, they don't impact it at all." FACT- you may hit your credit for mortgages repeatedly without it effecting negatively, but only in a (if memory serves me) 14 day period- it will only count as one hit.
* I am saying her "advice" was WAY wrong, not saying that we were not responsible for checking into it, we should have but know better now, lesson learned.*
During this time we had kept in close contact with "our representative" and the broker, hoping to get certain question asked about the water and septic...since we were still trying to purchase the home, we wanted the results.(we also had a family member fall VERY ill that was taken to the emergency room and treated, by the doctor after tons of testing, for water contamination-WE NEEDED THOSE RESULTS, nobody in the home touched the water after that) Typically the results are given BEFORE signing ANY contracts. We had also inquired as to why the home was still actively on the market. While reviewing the rental contract we realized where it said "property is to remain on the market and available for showing" was CROSSED OFF and INITIALED by BOTH PARTIES!!!
We have small children in the home and strangers pulling into the driveway while the kids were playing outside made our family EXTREMELY uncomfortable. Especially because some of these people had persisted in asking us about the property (some of them appeared VERY UNSAVORY and had attitudes with us, like we should show them the home) and drove by on multiple occasions at any given time, their "visits" were unpredictable.
The broker became VERY agitated by our inquiries and said "oh well, too bad, we will NOT take the home off the market, we do NOT have to show you ANY inspections" at times she would say "you were already shown them and satisfied" ALWAYS with MAJOR attitude. Even after we pointed out that by crossing off that statement on the contract and initialing it, meant the property should NOT be listed while the contract was in place (our lawyer at the time agreed, but unfortunately was not of much help...ALWAYS in court). We had tried to also to speak with the homeowner about it, who simply said "we didn't mean to cross that off" (YET THEY DID AND HAD INITIALED IT) Before then we had what we thought of as a "good relationship" with them.
ANYWAY, after so many failed attempts due to being directed to STRICT LOCAL LENDERS and not staying in the 14 day credit time frame. A credit score that was PERFECTLY FINE to start with "had too many inquiries" and we wanted to wait a few months before trying again for a mortgage on the home. We had 2 mortgage companies lined up (one who was extremely helpful and counseled people with credit scores as well), who wanted us to wait till the "few" points lost from all the inquiries recovered, then they WOULD MOST CERTAINLY write on the property (the underwriters had already reviewed it and said they would write on the property if we waited). This would take approximately 3 months-6 months MAX as long as we stayed in good standing with our bills (which was NOT a problem).
We went to a lawyer and had a lease purchase agreement drawn up to propose to the homeowners since Century 21 Shamrock had failed us repeatedly in such a short time. The proposal consisted of 8 months rent at the $2,000 a month and paying half the cost for a new water system (since it was repeatedly brought to our attention that mortgage companies do not like to write on properties with spring fed water systems) and the promise to secure financing at the end of the 8 months. Most all of the language about up keep to the property, that was in the first lease, remained the same. We did however ask that they stop showing the home and at least take the address off of the listing, or remove it all together as previously promised.
*It is a simple thing to put the listing back up if we failed to purchase.*
We waited on pins and needles to hear if our proposal was accepted. The DAY BEFORE our original contract ran out we were told that we were going to be asked to leave. Beside ourselves and with no plan B we started talking with the lawyer again, but this time to see if they could negotiate a few more months for us so we could pack our newly unpacked belongings and find a new home.
One day we came home to a message on our machine after looking at homes. It was the Broker who was simply returning one of our calls. Fortunately for us the broker, her husband (who is NOT an agent), the buyers agent(our agent) and the sellers agent were unaware that the phone was not hung up but put on speaker. I have to this day, them recording themselves on our answering machine laughing at us, calling us names, saying watch out when they talk to us and make sure you have a witness( we had given them no reason to need one, just uncovered all of the lies they had tried to pull), then saying that if they had to come out to the property they would have to "Break our knees and throw us in the waterfall".
Particularly disturbing because the property had a waterfall on it and if you were to fall or be thrown from the top, the result would most assuredly be death.
They were FIRED IMMEDIATELY and made aware of their blunder, NO APOLOGY WAS EVER GIVEN (the least they could have done).
When our rental contract was up (NULL AND VOID) they refused to release the $1,000 escrow payment we had given them, when it CLEARLY stated in the contract that it was to be returned to us. Keep in mind that was NOT the damage deposit, the homeowners (on the day of signing) had received an extra months rent for that.
The company and the homeowners wanted us out BAD after this, we needed more time yet no further negotiations were able to be made as a result of our firing them. Lawyers stepped in and did the talking for us since the owners, who had previously been so nice to us, would not even speak to us. All we had tried to do was buy their house. We paid 2,000 dollars each month we lived there. They had told us numerous times NOBODY would EVER make us leave, it was our home. It was a very disturbing situation. A horrible way to spend Christmas for ANY family, our children didn't even have a tree due to the upset of moving.
During the time we were trying to move, the seller agent's vehicle was spotted parked on the property at many times (by our neighbors) without her anywhere to be found. She repeatedly did "drive by's" at all different hours on any given day of the week for the sole purpose of spying on our family, if she was to be showing the home we were supposed to have 24 hour notice. After being told to stay away and find another agent to show the property, due to the threat made on my family, she continued these impromptu drives to an area she had no reason being at.
We read and reread Realtor ethic and landlord ethic, yes they have the property to concern themselves with, yes the property is to be made available to them with 24 hours notice, but if you read a little further it says that this is NOT for the intent to disrupt or harass the tenants and is not to be abused.
*If the landlord cannot determine whether the premises have been abandoned by the tenant, the landlord shall serve written notice on the tenant in accordance with Â§ 55-248.6 requiring the tenant to give written notice to the landlord within seven days that the tenant intends to remain in occupancy of the premises. If the tenant gives such written notice to the landlord, or if the landlord otherwise determines that the tenant remains in occupancy of the premises, the landlord shall not treat the premises as having been abandoned.*
(And most certainly NOT have their agent drive by constantly to see what we were up to)
When renting any property the renters have a right to live in a peaceful manner and not be harassed in any way, even when being asked to leave. If questions arise about the condition of the property an inspection should be scheduled and followed through in a tasteful manner.
Before this agent had started doing her drive by's an inspection had already occurred, the owner himself had been assured the property was not abandoned and the tenants had made it a very pleasant, "cozy" home. There was no reason for her continued "stalking", she went beyond the duties that are set forth by ANY company, and you have to question her mental state to behave in such a way. The home is about a 45 minute (or more depending on the route you take) drive from the Realtors office and at the time the only property they had listed in the area. I know for a fact that the Realtor in question did not live anywhere near the home, and was not visiting anyone in the community, it is a VERY small community on the very edge of the town. It only has one road, directly in front of the home, that leads in and out. People in the community were calling my family to let let us know she was driving around and parking on the other side of the property.
I warn any and all people looking to buy or sell their home to STAY AWAY from Century 21 Shamrock and all their agents.
P.S. the property mentioned above is in Southwest V.A.,
at the time it was listed at $259,900 and had been on the market for over a year and already reduced. Our offer of $245,000 had been accepted, our second offer (made right before eviction) of $215,000 was laughed at. The property is now listed at $199,900 and up for auction. I warn anyone looking into that property that would be depending on a mortgage. No company would write on it (during the time) due to spring fed water system, guest house built WITHOUT permits, amount for the area and the amount of acreage.(homes in that area usually go for 40-90,000) Only local banks have CONSIDERED lending, but then backed out due to the obscene price for the area and there being no available comparables. (comparables usually need to be sold in the past 3 or 6 months) depending on their rules something to take into account when shopping for ANY home.
You also have to wonder about their marketing strategies, I know it is wonderful to get top dollar for your home, nut I have seen SO many properties listed with them, still around the same price that they were listed for this past summer. How long are you willing to have your home up for sale? Years?