PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - A Port Charlotte woman signed a contract to buy a foreclosed home but the bank backed out of the deal. The bank also kept her money. That's when she called for action.
Ellie Serra's move stopped before it started. The recent divorcee put an offer on a foreclosure in North Port and Bank of America accepted her offer.
"I was ready to go. I've got boxes packed. I had movers all set up. I had friends that were ready to help me move," Ellie recalled.
But the day she was supposed to close, she received a call from the title company.
"There was a lien on the property from the prior owners, prior to the foreclosures, of a water system to the tune of $8,000 and the bank did not want to clear it up," she told us.
Her contract says in big bold print that the seller will settle all outstanding liens on the property before closing; but without a clear title, Ellie couldn't buy the home.
"My closing date came and went. I lost my lock rate for my mortgage which was a great 4.5% mortgage rate. And I'm told that they decided they were going to take the house off the market, broke the contract and I wasn't really sure whether I was going to get any of my money back," she explained.
The bank wouldn't return the $2,000 Ellie had spent on earnest money and inspections. Adding insult to injury, Ellie saw the home re-listed for $5,000 less than her contract price.
"Was I mad? I couldn't understand it! It was now $5,000 dollars less. Why don't they just clean the lien up? I can't understand why they just wouldn't clean the lien instead of losing the sale on the property. It just makes no sense to me at all. None."
We contacted Bank of America numerous times to ask them what happened to Ellie's money. They never got back to us, but Ellie did. She said after our inquiries, a vice president of Bank of America contacted her and let her know they are refunding all of her money. We still don't know why the bank decided to break the deal and re-list the home.