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I-Team: Real estate and legal experts on Hazleton home controversy

I-Team

HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Hazleton Police say their investigation into the sale of a Hazleton home is moving forward. The police chief told Eyewitness News Monday that criminal charges are pending against the seller — Luz Tejeda.

The I-Team spoke with real estate and legal experts about the risks of so-called “going at it alone” when buying property.

“I would never give cash. I mean, get a money order get something that can be copied. A receipt you always need a receipt.” said Ken Temborski, with Aggressive Real Estate.

Temborski has been selling real estate for 25 years. He was surprised when he heard about the scenario involving the proposed sale of the home on 14th Street, as well as another home in Hazleton. 

Three would-be buyers say they gave the owner of the properties — Luz Tejeda — about $80,000 in cash deposits. They did not use a realtor or an attorney.

Temborski says there is another option.

“Even if you go it alone it’s called FSBO, for sale by owner, you can turn around and do what’s called a transitional agent. You can ask an agent to do paperwork which is a state contract and an escrow hold the money until you have a closing.”

Tejeda told the I-Team last week that she is working out a deal to finalize the sale of the home on 14th Street to one of the perspective buyers and will return the cash deposits to the two other buyers.

“I always tell people this is one of the biggest investments you’re going to make in life — why go it alone? Why go it alone, because of the risk,” said Atty Lorine O’Gurkis of Hazleton.

The would-be buyers told Eyewitness News they trusted Tejeda.

“Personal relationships are different than a business relationship which is professional. It’s a totally different relationship. I don’t want you to drop your guard when it comes to real estate with familiar faces in front of you, you feel comfortable with,” O’Gurkis said.

As the I-Team reported, Tejeda is facing fraud and theft related charges in New York City for allegedly bilking more than $500,000 from a woman and her disabled daughter. We reached out to Tejeda for comment today and have not yet received a response. 

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