7 On Your Side: Rent-to-Own Nightmare - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/21/05-Tyler

7 On Your Side: Rent-to-Own Nightmare

For 54-year-old Dee Fister 2002 was a rough year, after learning she had breast cancer.

"I found out a lot of things about my husband I didn't know and he cancelled my health insurance and the assets were gone and I ended up going to surgery, chemo and radiation pretty much by myself."

She soon divorced and Dee was on the road to rebuilding her life. She signed up for classes at Tyler Junior College to get a degree in nursing. Meanwhile, she needed a place to stay and answered an ad in the paper to "rent, with the option to buy".

"It was all encompassed I was going back to school, I was going to have a house, something of my own and I was totally rebuilding."

But things would come crashing down nearly a year and a half later, when the constable came knocking on her door.

"And he said 'well maybe this should be addressed to you to because i think it's kind of an eviction notice' and I said 'What!'"

The bank foreclosed on the house, giving her only 5 days to move out.

"And I said 'I can't get out of here in 5 days!' and he said if you don't get out of here in 5 days I'm going to have to [physically] take your things and put it out on the streets... and I just freaked!"

Dee called "7 On Your Side" and after our research we found out since 2003 she had been writing checks to Vincent Rincon, the man arrested and charged just last week for misapplication of property for apparently scamming another Tyler couple into buying a home.

"In our day and time, be very careful," says Von Johnson with First American Title Insurance Company in Tyler says people often don't want to spend the extra money researching the property they are renting-to-own. Which could be a costly mistake. "Get a good real estate agent, someone who could walk you through the steps of preparing a contract to buy a home, getting a professional lender to help you, make sure everything is taken care of from that side." Johnson add, "Use a legitimate title company who's going to be the third party to research every single record that affects that property and to protect you in the event that something does go wrong."

For Dee, the lesson has been learned and will be hard to forget. "It just hurts because I'm just working so hard for my money and to think they were just cashing it and spending it at will and not giving anything to the bank... that's hard to take."

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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