Man Claims REMAX Realtor Deceived Him in Los Banos

July 8, 2009 10:24:31 PM PDT
A Los Banos contractor says a house he bought as an investment is ruining his life. But it's not because of the slumping housing market. It's because the property is directly in the path of a planned expressway that will take drivers around the city.A newly renovated 2300 square foot home sits on more than four acres in Los Banos. But it also sits in the way of a four lane bypass Caltrans is planning to build to ease the heavy traffic that runs through the middle of the city on Highway 152.

Steve Lopez says he didn't know that when he bought the property for $375 thousand dollars and invested another $400 thousand in hopes of turning a profit. Now he says he's stuck with a house he can't sell.

Lopez said, "It's been horribly frustrating. It's put a financial strain on my wife, my boy, our whole well being."

Lopez says the REMAX realtor he worked with assured him the bypass would not impact his property, and now he's filed a more than one million dollar lawsuit against the agency. The broker for REMAX tells Action News attorneys have advised them not to comment because of the on-going litigation. Meanwhile, Lopez has been trying to get Caltrans to buy the property by filing a hardship request. The application was approved in January, but he has not received any money.

"I can't sit here and wait forever for them to able to do this. At some point it's going to ruin my life. It's ruining my life right now. So I want them to buy my house now," said Lopez.

But Caltrans says that's impossible because his property lies in phase two of the three phase bypass project ... and funding has only been secured for phase one.

Caltrans spokesperson Lisa Balcom said, "Mr. Lopez's application was approved, but there is no funding."

Caltrans officials say there's no way of knowing when funding will be available for phase two, which would include money to buy Lopez's property, and construction may still be years away. In the meantime, Lopez has found a renter but says the house is still costing him more than two thousand dollars a month.

"How long am I supposed to keep doing this before I just give up and because of this highway I lose my house ? I didn't think America was supposed to work this way," said Lopez.

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