I attempted to buy my first home in January 2011. I ran across a 4/2 at an excellent price in a desirable neighborhood in East Orlando. The people and businesses involved were Alexander Barhatkov, Sakasha Nankoo, Jose Zapata, Rent-2own.com, El Shaddai Realty, JNB Funding INC.
Interest for the purchase of the home was expressed, but Alexander Barhatkov and Sakasha Nankoo required an $80 application fee and rental application before I would be allowed to see the home. This should have been a red flag, but he explained to me that they were very busy with many properties and this was to insure serious buyers were coming to see the home and not unqualified buyers, to avoid wasting their time. I paid $160 for myself and my partner and submitted the applications. Alexander was told of our interest to obtain an FHA mortgage, but he kept pushing the rent to own option as if it were a better option. We weren't interested and upon seeing the house for the 2nd time, we informed him that we had a company that we had hired to put together our FHA package and close on the home. We then started the process of buying the home.
I was pre-approved for up to $150,000 on the purchase of a home through FHA. I had the money for all the necessary requirements such as appraisal, inspections, down payment etc. and submitted every piece of information required on my part. Alexander kept not showing up for these inspections and the appraisal...thought that was odd. He also neglected to make many needed repairs to the home or even clean the property up for curb appeal to get the maximum on the appraisal. The pool was green and the landscaping was horrendous. I didn't care too much about that, as those were problems easily fixed, but he should have if he was serious about selling and wanted a good appraisal. At this point we had signed a purchase contract and had given him a cashier's check for $2300. We paid several hundred dollars for 3 different inspections and over four hundred for the appraisal. We had been asked to provide more and more information, day after day after day.
We finally get everything processed on FHA's side and the appraisal came back as unsupported, because of all the negative marks on the inspections. FHA was also upset that the seller had just purchased the home for only $70,000 cash 30 days prior and that he was a "house flipper" that didn't do a very good job "flipping" aka doing all the necessary repairs to warrant the new price of the home at $110,000 plus closing costs coming to about $117,000. The underwriter requested that the seller provide receipts for all the work, materials and labor to justify the huge price increase -or- conduct a second appraisal free of charge to average out the two appraisals and come to a final price, which was reasonable, given the circumstances. The Broker who represented the seller told us to find another bank to finance us or lose this deal. He refused the second appraisal, threw the contract in our face, saying it was a cash purchase when he knew it was an FHA loan purchase, as he participated in the financing process with us and our contact responsible for the loan on a more than daily basis! I have emails from him to us to the FHA officer and back, proving this wasn't a cash deal. I have the first and second contracts, which he illegally altered when he was only supposed to be changing the price of the sale and the date of closing...he deleted all financing details and we didn't re-read the contract, as we were approved and about to close and we thought he wanted to sell.
In the end we lost all the money for the application fees $160 the inspections over $500 the appraisal over $400 and our escrow deposit $2300, as he decided to keep it. I could hire a lawyer to help with the escrow dispute, but the lawyer fees would cost what I'd get. I am in the process of filing other documents to remedy this as best I can, but in the end I lost a lot of money and had to unpack an entire house, cancel utilities at the new home and our family went from about to be moving into the first home we could call ours, to living in a small duplex saving money every week to try to buy a home again in two years. These people stole our hard earned money. They have done things like this to other people and I just want everyone to be aware of these predator like selling tactics they are using. From the rent-2own scams to the price gauging and contract fraud, they aren't the people to be buying homes from. Make sure when you buy a home you have a real estate attorney and a third party to hold the escrow money until the deal is complete.
One last thing, don't deal with these house flippers, they have no respect for the american dream and they only care about how much money they can get out of people with the least amount of effort. They have no integrity in this business and are breaking the law. These people are one piece of the puzzle that is this recession.