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Submitted by Ramon Herrera on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 10:11pm.

It can be one of the most stressful ordeals someone can go through; selling a home. But imagine if someone moved into your house before you agreed to the sale. Dan and Karyn Bowman are still getting settled in to their new home in Leland. As for their old home in Wilmington, the family who bought it should be settled in after jumping the gun and moving into the home before they were allowed to. "The buyer had actually taken keys that we had left on our kitchen counter with them when they went through their final walk through," said Dan Bowman. "Subsequently moving all their belongings into our house before closing on the property." The Bowman's realtor was the first to realize that someone had moved stuff into their home. The incident sparking a mixture of emotions. "I felt angry, I felt violated, scared and frightened because at this point we didn't know what kind of legal liabilities we had regarding their belongings and what damage may have been done to our home. We just didn't know what to do, we immediately called police and the sheriff came out," said Bowman. That next day on Friday, the weekend before Memorial day, the Bowmans' contacted a lawyer to make sure they would be protected from anything that could happen. "It wasn't a matter of selling a house anymore. It was a matter of making sure that our livelihoods and property was protected," said Bowman. The Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors told WWAY one of two things need to be done before someone can legally move-in: closing paper work has to be signed and recorded, or a "Buyer Possession Before Closing" agreement can be filed and signed by both the buyer and seller. Neither were done in the Bowman's situation. "Don't ever give your keys away to anybody during the process of selling your home. You can leave your key in the lock box but never leave keys on the counter like many realtors may ask you to do," said Bowman. The Bowman's Wilmington home has now been officially sold. They're glad their ordeal is over and will take no future action. They're still unaware of who is responsible for the mix up but they told WWAY that they have not received an apology from the buyer or the buyers agent.

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