Warning about real estate 'shadow flipping' from alleged victim
An angry former homeowner who believes he’s a victim of “shadow flipping” is speaking out about a Richmond real estate investor, who has been sued by several other homeowners, in the hopes he can serve as a warning to others in our overheated housing market.
The experience has left Jim Davis, who is bedridden with severe arthritis, angry and deeply suspicious of the real estate industry that is now under provincial investigation, Davis told CTV News.
“I wouldn’t do anything unless it’s in triplicate and has 10 witnesses,” he said. “It’s human nature. The almighty dollar is more important.”
Davis said he got a flyer in the mail with his address on it from someone named “Sunny.”
The letter said: “I like the area where your house located [sic]. If you want to sell your house, I would like to give a good offer of compensation.”
Jim Davis said he contacted “Sunny,” who arrived with a realtor.
“They wanted to build their dream home. That’s where they wanted to live,” Davis said.
“Sunny” offered him $870,000 through a company called New Lands Strategies. Davis accepted, only finding out later it was suddenly flipped for a lot more.
“Within a month he had signed it for $970,000,” Davis said. “$100,000 in just one month.”
But what really surprised Davis was that his was not the only house “Sunny” was shopping for.
CTV News has seen the same letter from “Sunny” in court documents from homeowners trying to void their deals, alleging the same tactic.
Two other lawsuits from former homeowners claim “Sunny” is actually Ze Yu Wu, a director of New Lands Strategies.
One of those lawsuits contained photocopies of a B.C. driver’s licence, a Canadian permanent residency card, and a passport from the People’s Republic of China, all belonging to Ze Yu Wu.
CTV News showed a picture of Wu to Davis.
“That’s him. I’d remember that face,” said Davis.
The B.C. Real Estate Council sanctioned the realtor involved in 12 deals including Davis’s, Alban Wang, for failing to promptly pay deposits and for failing to promptly provide the managing broker with the original or a copy of all records for the said transactions.
Wang was ordered to complete a course, was fined $1,000, and suspended for 14 days.
The B.C. Corporate Registry shows New Lands Strategies was dissolved in 2015.
Now, Ze Yu Wu is a director at New Coast Realty, which delivered flyers to several Vancouver neighbourhoods last week, boasting that they have sold more than 1,000 properties.
CTV News paid them a visit, but Wu declined to speak, saying through staff he was busy and in a meeting.
He denies in court documents ever deceiving anyone, saying he actually was shopping for a home. In an affidavit, Wu claims “Sunny” was actually another person named Sam Huang, who was acting as his representative. “I did not ask Sam Huang to impersonate me,” Wu claims in his affidavit.
It’s important to point out that so-called “shadow flipping” is not illegal.
In an e-mail, New Coast Realty claims it always follows stringent disclosure rules. The B.C. government is now investigating the real estate sector, looking to see if so-called “shadow flipping” is widespread.