991 Homes - Rent to Own Ripped Me Off
My name is Ellen Wilhelmi, and I have been taken for $3000 by a rather shady real estate broker who operates locally. I responded to an ad on Craiglist for 1844 Golden Arrow Drive; the price and terms were VERY attractive and I made an appointment to see it. On Sunday, my boyfreind and I met with "Gil" and viewed the property; we loved it, and were advised by Gil that we should make a deposit right away, and he would send us our contracts via e-mail that afternoon. At no time did he contradict us when we discussed the monthly payment ($799 in the ad). He gave us the account number of his business, 991home llc, and suggested we just do a simple funds transfer since we banked at Wells-Fargo as well, and said we'd have the keys the next day (after the paperwork he was sending was faxed back signed, of course). He seemed so sincerely happy for us! Since we have lived in a weekly for over a year, and the home was so appealing (thats factoring in what his ad CLAIMED were the simple terms) we were happy and excited and made the critical mistake of doing the transfer in the amount of $3999 an hour later. No, we didn't research 991homes first; hindsight is 20/20, as they say. When we received the contracts by email, the first thing we noticed was the monthly payment was $999, not $799; then I read the contracts themselves and knew I would be a FOOL to sign them. The terms of the lease were completely different from the ad; several of the terms were so completely unreasonable I was horrified. That aside, we had discussed with him at the property the fact that a) we had saved several thousand dollars to buy a home b) that although we had a pre-approval from Wells-Fargo for $78k, we knew we could get better terms with better credit (my boyfreinds score + my disabled roomate's score=0) and c) $800 a month was all we could afford, he never ONCE said "oh, the rent is $999." Furthermore, one of the terms was that in 24 months the place would be reappraised and THAT was the purchase price; another stated that if the rent was even 1 day late, the rent would increase 5% and we would lose our option! I immediately called his cell and sent an email to say no deal. I had no reply, so I sent a polite request for the return of my money. An hour later, rather than calling me, I got an email containing a receipt for the money as "non refundable holding deposit"! We aren't ***; had we known it would be non-refundable, WE NEVER WOULD HAVE PAID IT! Plus, less than 8 hours had passed since we met at the property...and he told us then that he was just hurrying because his kids were in thhe was e car and he was spending the day with them....so how on earth was the property "held" when clearly it wasn't EVEN IN HIS AGENDA to broker anymore that day? Furious, I called and texted wanting to know if he was REALLY keeping our money. A bit later he called me and said he could refund 999, the first months' rent, but the other $3000 was not returnable. I told him that since he never told us it was non-refundable, and the ad had claimed the $3000 was a down payment on the option- no mention of it being a "deposit" of any kind- it was completely unfair that it was being kept. He said he'd call his partner, and get right back to me; when he called back and said no again, I said "well give me your FULL name, and your partner's, so I know who to sue." He replied that the contracts were still good until tomorrow and we could sign them so our money wasn't 'lost'..again I asked for names (which were curiously absent from the paperwork, other than 991homes) and he said "I don't HAVE to give you that information, and I'm hanging up" Upon researching 991homes, I discovered that nothing about this 'company' or the people invoved in its administration; the homepage was "under construction" since 2009; there is nothing to be found but links to ads that have already been deleted or removed. please help me stop these people from preying on families that desperately seek homeownership. Please.
Las Vegas, Nevada
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