ELK GROVE — A cold call last year grabbed the attention of veteran and father Miguel Hall. The caller offered to pay him $1,250 now if he agreed to let them list his home in the next 40 years if he chooses to sell.
“I was like, is this a loan in any way?” Hall recalled. “They said, ‘no, ‘ because I don’t plan on selling. And so, I was like, hey, free money. I’m not going to turn it down.”
The company, MV Realty, backs up the promise in a corporate video: ” This is not a loan. You never have to pay it back.”
Fast forward a year, and Hall wanted to take out a home equity line of credit to fix up his house and help cover the holidays for his family. He says the lender turned him down after finding a lien against his home.
He says he contacted MV Realty who demanded $14,100, or 3 percent of the value of his home, to release that lien — money he doesn’t have.
“Owning a home is like so hard to do. And once you achieve that and you have like predators out there, like these people are — like they’re like predators. And they preyed upon me. And who knows how many other people they’re preying upon,” Hall said.
Across the country in Massachusetts, CBS News Boston found Bill Gillespie who also signed an agreement with MV Realty. They paid him $2,000 for the right to sell his place.
“I’m 67 years old. I’m not going to be here in 40 years,” Gillespie told WBZ-TV.
But Gillespie ran into the same problem trying to get a loan to renovate his house.
“They said, ‘Hey. You’ve got a lien on your house.’ And I said … I have no liens on this house,” Gillespie recalls.
CBS News Boston then pulled county records and surprised MV Realty customers who also didn’t realize they had liens on their property.
WBZ Reporter: Did you know there was a mortgage on your home?
Homeowner 1: No
Homeowner 2: No, I’m not selling.. they will have to take a crowbar to get me out of here.
WBZ Reporter: So, you don’t know anything about this mortgage??
Homeowner 2: I don’t know nothing about that.
Homeowner 3: I’m not going to sell… I’ve been here 80 years.
The company’s founder is Amanda Zachman. She was a contestant on the CBS reality show Big Brother 15. While the company insists it makes the conditions very clear, attorneys general in six states are now suing the company claiming the program was deceptive and misled customers.
California is not one of them. CBS13 reached out to the California Attorney General’s office, which responded with this statement:
Thanks for reaching out. We are familiar with the allegations that have been made against MV Realty. However, to protect the integrity of our investigations, we’re unable to comment on, even to confirm or deny, a potential or ongoing investigation.
Beyond that, for your awareness, Attorney General Bonta sponsored ab 1345, which was recently signed into law by Governor Newsom. Effective January 1, 2024, this law will both limit the duration of exclusive listing agreements regarding single-family residential property to two years and prohibit the recording of any exclusive listing agreement regarding residential property.
As Hall tries to figure out how to make home repairs and give his kids Christmas, he says he’s willing to return the money he got up front.
Kurtis: So, you would instantly give them the $1,250 back instantly.
Hall: Just to get out of it, correct? I would.
The company never got back to us and has filed for bankruptcy.
Hall says they agreed to remove his lien for 30 days so his loan could close.