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This week a couple in Ontario reached out to us after dealing with, what they call, a nightmare.
“I can’t sleep, this has been very, very hard,” said the woman, who says she’s too ashamed to identify herself.
It all started after she received a flyer at her door back in August offering to buy homes for cash, fast and easy.
“Back in September, I ended up calling the number on the flyer because I was thinking of selling my home at that point,” she said. “A man then came by and he had all the papers ready, which I didn’t know he did, he asked me to sign it and I said okay fine.”
The woman and her husband admit to having financial difficulty and saw this as a way out of that. Only the wife signed the paperwork without her husband, paperwork she claims she did not understand.
“After I signed the papers, I asked: ‘Do I get a copy of what I signed?’ and he said, ‘I’ll send it to you after’ and up to this day, more than a month later, I have not received anything.”
Until last week, when the couple received what’s known as a Notice of Fulfillment.
“This letter tells me that you did sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale because they’re saying here that they’re fulfilling the conditions of the sale,” said Carol McCrudden — a realtor who was called by the couple’s niece to help.
“When their niece called me a couple of days ago, she said there’s a situation where my Aunt and Uncle think they sold their house but they’re not sure and now they’re worried.”
McCrudden believes, based on the Letter of Fulfillment, the woman did in fact sign a contract agreeing to sell her home.
CityNews reached out to the company behind this. They told us they did nothing wrong. They say the title of the documents the woman signed read, in large bold letters, “Agreement of Purchase and Sale.”
They told us the contract contained a sale, closing date, a purchase price and transaction terms. They believe she understood what she was doing when she signed and initialed the contract.
They also claim they told the woman repeatedly to retain a lawyer to review the paperwork and prepare for closing. Something that she has not done.
They deny she was pressured into signing or that she was unaware what she was doing.
According to the company, the woman is now in breach of contract with them having missed the scheduled closing date of October 6th.
Cash for home deals are not new, nor illegal. In fact, they have and can help homeowners get above water. These buyers have cash in hand and can close deals quickly without the need of a realtor. But a word of caution for anyone considering this.
“You got to recognize that the person that put the flyer in your mailbox is either representing themselves or representing a buyer, and they’re not representing you,” said David Oikle, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association.
“So we very much encourage people who are dealing with their largest financial asset to get somebody to give them advice and to give them representation so that they’re well taken care of.”
While the thought of not paying for a realtor is attractive, sellers should, at the very least, get a lawyer to review any and all documents before signing.
“You can sell your house privately but make sure you have that legal representative every step of the way,” said McCrudden. “You have to have someone who knows the law.”
The couple wishes they had. They’re now trying to get out of something they no longer want. We asked if the company is still pursuing the sale—or if they’ll sue the couple for breach of contract. They told us they’re considering all available options at this point.
Now unsure of their future in a home they’ve owned for 25 years, the couple hopes their story helps others.
“Get a lawyer and make sure you know what you’re signing.”
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