Buying your first house is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but for young Tamara Holloway, from Nashville, Tennessee it was a terrible nightmare she couldn’t wake up from, because the man she bought the house from refused to move out.
Holloway closed on the home on June 1, and although there was no clause in the contract that stated former owner Justin McCrory couldn stay there past that date, he simply wouldn’t leave. “The transaction went through and they’re getting a good clean property,” McCrory told local reporters. “What’s the problem? … I technically don’t have to go anywhere. They’d have to evict me and they’re not having that.” Signature Title Services had said the processor for the closing also contacted McCrory asking him to move out of the house, but that didn’t seem to do much good, so the new owner filed a detainer warrant, the first step in an eviction process. However it can take up to 30 days until you can have someone forcefully removed that way, so things didn’t look good for the inexperienced buyer.
When the story was first reported, everyone was shocked. Mark Leedom with Signature Title Services, and local real estate attorney Grover Collins told News 2 Nashville that they had never heard about a case like this. Even The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors was stunned and released some warning so prospective buyers could avoid such problems. They strongly advised buyers to get the keys to their new property at closing, which Holloway did not, and try to work with sellers who have licensed realtors representing them, which McCrory did not. “Make sure your realtor understands that it’s a ‘for sale by owner’ and can work with that other party to make sure things like this don’t slip through the cracks,” said GNAR President Denise Creswell.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Tamara Holloway told News 2 in Nashville. “The seller has essentially pirated my house.” Luckily for her, all the media attention her story has been getting both on a local and national level seems to have intimidated former owner Justin McCrory, and on June 14 it was reported that Holloway had finally gotten the keys to her new house. She admitted that the problem would have probably been much harder to resolve without the awareness raised by the press.