We know the readership of this site has a deep and abiding love of all things real estate so we figure you might need this public service announcement. Don’t lend money to your real estate agent.
Rita Fulciniti put a down payment on a new west-end condo, thinking that home ownership would bring her a little comfort and financial security in her retirement years. Instead, the 66-year-old is living in a homeless shelter, broke, and still chasing the Toronto real estate agent who borrowed her life savings.
In March 2014, Fulciniti’s $42,000 down payment was for a second-floor unit in the Vivid Condos on Michael Power Place near Bloor Street West and Islington Avenue. A year later, while the condo was still under construction, Fulciniti learned her potential roommate wouldn’t be moving into the building.
Fulciniti approached Chaim Smilovici — who also goes by the name Howard Smilovici, and was a real estate agent with Adenat Realty at the time — to find a tenant who would help cover the costs of carrying the condo. It was the beginning of her nightmare, she says.
The real estate agent did find her a room mate (that’s good!) but borrowed $95k (that’s bad!) with an agreement to pay in full plus a $5k bonus and a 12% annual interest rate (that’s good!). He then lost all her money investing in a nightclub (that’s bad!).
Read the full article at the CBC.