Home selling services

July 1, 2008 9:06:32 PM PDT
A lot of companies promise to help you sell your home without the cost of a real estate agent. But before you sign up for the service, we have a buyer beware.

One such business in our area has been offering not only a tempting package deal but a money-back guarantee! But some consumers said that company is not living up to its refund policy.

Jim DiBease is trying to sell his beautiful Ocean City home but he's well aware this is not a seller's market and doesn't want to pay a commission to a professional real estate agent.

"So we're our selling our home by ourselves and we figured this would be just another way of reaching more people," Jim said.

"For Sale with Seller Plus" is a real estate marketing company that puts out a monthly magazine and maintains a website.

Jim paid the company nearly $1500 for unlimited advertising of his property. The agreement came with a money-back guarantee. It said if the property is not under agreement or sold within 90 days of payment, a full refund minus the sign cost will be sent to the seller within 30 days. And all services and advertising will continue for free.

"But the house did not sell in 90 days through his magazine so I was entitled to my refund and I haven't gotten it yet."

That's what Jim told us when we met him at his home in early June. At the time, he'd been waiting for his refund for about seven months!

"Now he doesn't return my phone calls or my emails."

Apparently Jim wasn't the only one complaining.

"Well this company has an unsatisfactory rating with the Better Business Bureau. That unsatisfactory rating is due to unanswered, unsatisfactory complaints," said Andy Goode of the BBB.

The BBB said according to its records, 22 people have complained about the company in the past three years.

"In the past year alone, we've had 15 complaints and most of the complaints have to do with the failure of the company to honor their refund policy," Andy explained.

"For Sale with Seller Plus" also goes by the name Homelynx and its websites also include Homesbuyowner.com and MultiCountyProperties.com.

But we do have good news to report Jim DiBease did receive his refund on Friday June 27th. The owner of "For Sale with Seller", Kevin Kelly, told us he's now refunded all but one of his customers owed money but the BBB system hasn't caught up with that fact.

Kelly blames the refund delays on the slowing real estate market and said the issue was temporary although Jim isn't so sure.

"And this is basically defrauding the public and I just don't think it's right."

Kelly also told me he's been operating his business for 8 years and he believes his complaint volume is very low.

Before you contract with any company for services make sure you check its reliability rating with the Better Business Bureau and its complaint history with the Attorney General's office and your county consumer affairs office.

For more information:
PA Consumer Action offices
NJ Consumer Action offices
DE Consumer Action offices
Better Business Bureau