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I-Team: Buying properties online, how to avoid real estate pitfalls

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HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A controversy is unfolding over the sale of a home in Hazleton with the property on East 14th street at the center of it.

The homeowner tells the I-Team it’s all a big misunderstanding. Monday the I-Team spoke to a real estate expert about how to avoid situations like this from happening in the first place.

The owner and three potential buyers of the home in question met Monday morning at the Dominican House in downtown Hazleton. The potential buyers reached out to the Dominican House for help in getting answers about what they say was a sale process that was taking way too long with very few answers coming from the property owner regarding their deposits, which total about $83,000 dollars. Dominican House officials called Hazleton Police to the home on Friday. The property owner, Luz Tejeda, wanted to set the record straight.

The I-Team questioned her about the situation.

When asked, “what happened to their money and why did it get to this point?”

Tejeda answered, “Everything has been resolved. That’s why we came here today to get it resolved. It was a misunderstanding, and it was resolved.”

Tejeda says she was holding the deposits until a formal offer was made by the potential buyers to close the deal. She says the house was also not ready for final sale.

“The house was under construction. It needed to be finished and that’s why I’m here for the good faith. It was not any wrong doing,” Tejeda explained.

Marta Sanchez gave Tejeda a deposit of $33,000.

“We started in January so deal stands weeks and weeks and months. But she came here to Dominican House. She said she would return the money to everybody here, so, I think she promised to do this in front of everybody… She will do that,” Sanchez said.

The President of the Dominican House is optimistic about the end result.

“I think it’s good she came to Dominican House. She came with her husband. They are together and promised to return the money back to all these people on Thursday. So, we hope everything goes through,” said Victor Perez, president of the Dominican House.

Ken Temborski, who works for Aggressive Realty, has been selling real estate for more than 20 years. He says selling or buying a home without using a realtor or an attorney could lead to unforeseen problems.

“We have contracts, we have times, we have dates we have to follow,” Temborski said.

He cautions about giving cash deposits.

“There should be a check or money order. You should never give cash,” Temborski urged.

Tejeda says she will return the deposits by Thursday. Hazleton City Police also tell the I-Team there is no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

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