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I-Team: Rutland Couple Locked Into 40-Year Agreement With Realtor After Signing 'Homeowner Benefit Agreement'

RUTLAND (CBS) - When Crystal Doe looks around her Rutland home she sees the beautiful family gatherings and her two sons growing up. "It was a wonderful, wonderful home for a long time," she said.

Last April, Crystal and her husband decided to sell the house and went online to look for a realtor.

"I was trying to get a good deal," Crystal said. And she thought she found one. She said MV Realty of Massachusetts offered the Does cash to list and sell their home.

"They just said they do that instead of advertising. To me and my husband that made total sense," Crystal said. "We are not realtors, we are not lawyers, we just thought that's what it was for."

Without a lawyer, the couple says they signed what they believed was a standard listing agreement - and admits they didn't read it. Within days, the family had a change of heart and decided to rent the property instead of selling it.

"She never did any kind of a showing, never did any kind of an open house," Crystal said. "She did no work. I thought that was the end of the contract."

But it wasn't. A year later after the Does put the house on the market with a different realtor, Crystal's attorney began researching property records.

"I found this mortgage, and I said to myself what is this? who is MV Realty?" said Jordana Greenman, Doe's attorney.

It turns out Crystal and her husband signed something called a Homeowner Benefit Agreement with MV Realty. It says MV Realty agrees to pay the Does $1315.00 to list their home.

In exchange, MV Realty gets a commission of 6% or more than $13,000 when the house is sold even if MV Realty does not sell it. And to be sure the money is paid, MV Realty put a mortgage or a lien on the Does' property. The agreement is for 40 years.

"I have never heard of a listing agreement where someone gets paid to list their property with somebody or is bound to continue being with the company for 40 years," Greenman said.

"Nobody told me 40 years, nobody told me a lien on the property," Crystal said.

In a statement to the I-Team, MV Realty said:

"MV has paid many satisfied homeowners for the right to be their real estate agent in the future. Unfortunately, when Mr. & Mrs. Doe decided to sell their home, they did not give us the opportunity to be their agent, and instead used a different agent for their sale, even though our agreement allows the Does to use another agent if we are not successful selling their home. MV has continually asked for the opportunity to represent the Does in the sale of their home at the same commission as any other agent, we hope the Does will give MV the chance to provide excellent service as their agent, of course, if the Does sell their home without using us as their agent, they have the option to pay us out of the money from the sale."

"This situation makes me concerned for other consumers who are equally as trusting and naïve," Greenman said.

"We don't have a ton of money we don't have a ton of equity," Doe said. "It's devastating, absolutely devastating."

The I-Team has learned the Attorney General's office is reviewing complaints about MV Realty. The Does did sell their home and paid two real estate brokers. Their attorney is looking into filing a lawsuit.

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