This time the frequently criticized county is facing backlash for having allegedly screwed local resident Kerville Holness out of his hard-earned money by deceiving him into purchasing a useless piece of land.
While participating in a online Broward County auction in March, Holness stumbled on a listing that depicted the following beautiful villa for sale for only $9,000:
What Holness didn’t realize when he forked over $9,000 for the property was that the listing only pertained to a 1-foot-wide, 100-foot-long strip of land on this villa worth $50.
“It starts at the curb where two mailboxes have been installed, goes under the wall separating the garages of two adjoining Spring Lake villas, then extends out to the back of the lot,” Sun-Sentinel reported.
“It’s deception,” he said to the paper. “There was no demarcation to show you it’s just a line going through [the villa duplex], even though they have the tools to show that.”
While that’s true, the Sun-Sentinel cautioned that the “appraiser’s site and information on the county’s tax site also show the negligible value of the property, that there is no building value, that the land takes up only 100 square feet and that the property is one-foot wide.”
It’s likely for this reason that, though Holness would like Broward County officials to void the transaction and return his money, they refuse to budge. The fact is that were he to take the case to court, he’d likely lose, according to Gary Singer, a local real estate attorney and Sun-Sentinel writer.
— Inciter in Film and Television (@OTLibs) June 15, 2019
“He may go to court and find some error in the sale procedure. … [But] [g]enerally speaking, he bought what he was supposed to have bought,” he said.
Is there any other way Holness could recoup his losses? Yeah, if he wants to be a jerk about things …
“If I’m vindictive enough, I can cut right through the garage wall and the home to get to my air space, but what use would that be to me?” he said to the Sun-Sentinel.
Social media users have their own hilariously jerky ideas:
Lol I hope he builds something epic on it. Like a one foot wide tower
— live tattooist (@livetattooist) June 15, 2019
I would build a wall there… just because
— Chris Konces (@ryanc11) June 16, 2019
Maybe make a really thin office.
— Geoff (@Geoffiam) June 16, 2019
Looks like he owns the water shut off manhole.. I could do alot with that type of control and power during someones shower..
Taking a stroll on my new property.. ?.. pic.twitter.com/0kBav7etAB
— Don’t Label Me (@DavidChristoson) June 16, 2019
The only advice local officials have for Holness, who was reportedly a first-time bidder, is to do his homework next time.
“ATTENTION INVESTORS: DO YOUR RESEARCH!” a newly issued warning on Broward County’s official auction website reads. “Tax Deed sales are not for the uninformed.”
“It is imperative that anyone interested in participating in the Tax Deed Sale performs due diligence including a full title and lien search prior to bidding on any property. Prospective bidders should not solely rely on this website and/or its links for information about a property.”
“Broward County DOES NOT guarantee the condition of any property. All properties are sold ‘BUYER BEWARE – SOLD AS IS’.”
They sound sympathetic …
The irony is that one could argue that local officials are just as much to blame. Why? For one, they weren’t even able to specify to the Sun-Sentinel why the piece of land that Holness purchased wasn’t a part of the villa.
“Officials aren’t sure why the strip was never attached to either of the adjoining properties, but instead remained in possession of the developer, GHO Tamarac II,” the paper reported. “It could have been overlooked. After the company dissolved, taxes stopped being paid on the property, leading to the March auction.”
Holness believes the strip should have never been put up for sale. Antoine Rutherford, another first-time bidder who also bid on the strip, probably feels the same. While he lost the bidding against Holness, he did win the bid on another $6,100 listing. There’s just one problem, according to the Sun-Sentinel:
“[H]e paid $6,100 for a vacant Lauderhill parcel that he saw as having development potential. But the land he bought was for one of 30 condo units that used to be on the property. Rutherford said the building was demolished after a fire nine years ago. If the association ever sells the property, he could see some return, but he has no control over that.”
When asked if he’ll continue bidding in the future, he replied, “No, that’s it. If I do do it, I’ll have to go to the place and analyze it myself.”
That’s probably the best idea, according to social media users who, it would appear, aren’t as sympathetic about Holness and Rutherford plight as you’d expect them to be:
You have to research man!https://t.co/1qskoWH6Ye
— Steven Angelil (@SteveAngelil) June 16, 2019
LOL – that’s a 9100 dollar lesson learned.
People have done worse on Florida RE – should consider himself luck. https://t.co/f1oOKiYJxX
— Little Row House on the Prairie ??????♂️?️??️?️? (@Mateo_in_ATX) June 15, 2019
Research, research and research some more. Tax sales sound great but if you don’t know exactly what you are doing you can be stuck with a lemon! He thought he snagged a villa for $9,100. He got a foot-wide strip of land. https://t.co/jxIWZVBx6v
— phillip brown (@desertcabin) June 15, 2019
This is why you hire a real estate lawyer before buying property at an auction: He thought he snagged a villa for $9,100. He got a foot-wide strip of land. https://t.co/LSrwfFvDum
— John Primeau (@FLdirtlawyer) June 15, 2019
“a deal that is too good to be true probably is” Sounds like he never heard that saying before.
— Corsair9605 (@Corsair9605) June 15, 2019
There’s a sucker born every minute.
I believe P.T. Barnum said that.
— Schennectedy (@schennectedy) June 16, 2019
— sqwubbsy (@sqwubbsy1) June 16, 2019
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