CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — The company ‘MV Realty’ is currently the target of multiple lawsuits from attorneys general in multiple states, and now realtors in the Lowcountry are coming forward with their own complaints about the company.
The lawsuits claim MV Realty took advantage of people during the pandemic, using cash incentives to get them to sign an agreement spanning four decades.
Andrew Scherl, a realtor in Charleston, said he had a run-in with the company while helping a client sell his late father’s house.
Scherl said in the final moments of the process, the closing attorney notified him there was a memorandum on the property from MV Realty.
“Document that roughly stated a 40-year listing agreement from MV Realty,” Scherl explained. “That they would be either selling the house or if they didn’t sell the house for 3% they would be obligated to take 3%.”
Scherl discovered his client’s father agreed to these terms before he passed away, under MV Realty’s Homeowner Benefit Agreement.
On MV Realty’s website, it is advertised that the company offers homeowners a cash incentive between $300 to $5,000 “in exchange for the 40-year agreement to use MV Realty as the listing agent if and when they sell their home.”
Scherl said MV Realty sent out fliers advertising the program to neighborhoods in the Lowcountry during the pandemic, getting homeowners to sign the agreement for quick cash.
“There was a lot of people that signed these documents,” Scherl said. “So I think they were taking advantage of people in a trying time — offering them money.”
According to the Register of Deeds in Charleston, Berkeley, and Dorchester counties, hundreds of homes have these memorandums in place from MV Realty.
“Just from my perspective, it looks like MV Realty was really targeting a specific demographic, a specific area, a specific income,” Scherl said.
However, Scherl isn’t the only one with concerns. Last week, a judge in North Carolina granted an injunction against MV Realty, after Attorney General Josh Stein filed a lawsuit against the company.
“I’m pleased that Judge Davis agreed with our office that MV Realty cannot continue to take advantage of hardworking homeowners while this case continues. This company has preyed on too many North Carolinians, and we’ll do everything in our power to provide relief for the more than 2,000 victims and to make sure that they can’t harm others in our state ever again.”Attorney General Josh Stein said in a statement
North Carolina’s governor also signed legislation at the end of August that cracks down on real estate deals like this, and now outlaws real estate agreements that run for more than a year.
“Your home is your most valuable asset your most valuable investment. You don’t want to do anything, for 500 dollars, to put that asset at risk. And that’s what this company, we allege, is doing,” said Attorney General Stein.
News 2 reached out to MV Realty for a response to the claims against them.
A spokesperson provided us with this statement:
“MV Realty and our team of licensed real estate agents have proudly assisted over 35,000 homeowners across the country through our innovative Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) program. The HBA program compensates homeowners for the future right to list the home if they choose to sell within the term of the agreement.
“The HBA Program is an innovative option that is first and foremost designed to benefit homeowners by ensuring they are compensated for the exclusive right to list their home. A right that up until now was given away for free.
“If a homeowner decides to sell their home during the term of the HBA, MV’s locally licensed real estate brokers serve the same role as any licensed real estate broker and receive a typical sales commission for its services. This fee aligns with the standard market rate for virtually all residential real estate transaction commissions.
“Notably, there are no liens put on a customer’s property. Consistent with the law, MV files a memorandum that informs third parties of the existence of the agreement between the property owner and MV Realty.
“MV Realty remains confident that the Homeowner Benefit Program fully complies with the law and benefits consumers who select MV Realty as their listing agent. MV Realty has voluntarily and temporarily paused entering into any new agreements.
“We look forward to working with policy makers to address any concerns and continue this valuable program as an option to homeowners across the country.”– MV Realty Spokesperson
Scherl said while his client was able to negotiate with MV Realty and sell his late father’s home, he hopes leaders in the Palmetto State will look into solutions similar to those in North Carolina.
“Hopefully here in the near future as these kind of come – more of them come to the surface — I think South Carolina is going to have to do something,” he said.
News 2 also asked the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) if they had heard any complaints or if they were looking into the company.
A spokesperson told us “State law prohibits the Commission from saying whether a licensee is under investigation.”