By Mario Toneguzzi

Here’s a different twist.

A real estate salesperson is actually hoping not to sell a listing he has in the Edmonton real estate market.



Instead, Ken Morrison of Re/Max Excellence is helping an elderly couple in their 80s – Eric and Jean Bishop – keep their home from being foreclosed by the bank and the court by setting up a GoFundMe campaign. Early in May it had raised $15,000 in 28 days with a goal to raise $325,000.

Eric and Jean Bishop
Eric and Jean Bishop

In January, Morrison was given the foreclosure property to sell in the community of Fulton Place, but he found out that the Bishops had lived in the home since 1967. The home was the original homestead of the area, where a dairy farm was built around 1905.

The Bishops’ predicament developed after there was a disruption with their direct withdrawal monthly mortgage payment in 2017 due to technical issues. That led them to be $40,000 to $50,000 in arrears, but they didn’t have the money to pay.

“This foreclosure has deeply affected myself and my wife Richelle as well as other Realtors and friends I’ve shared this story with,” says Morrison. “It has touched many hearts and I just can’t sit back and do nothing,” he says.

“After meeting with the homeowner Eric Bishop, I could see the passion and love he and his wife Jean have for the home. He has told me stories of the area, showed me a mural he painted of the original dairy farm that’s proudly displayed across the wall of the sitting room.”

Morrison says the Bishops don’t deserve to be thrown out of their home.

“I would like to raise $325,000, which is what the bank is asking for the home to stop this nonsense. These sweet people should be allowed to remain in their home as long as they please and I would like to help that happen by raising enough to buy the home and give the Bishops free title. At that point they can stay, sell or do what they wish with the home on their terms, not the bank/courts,” writes Morrison on the GoFundMe site.

Morrison says the court order was signed last June and the Bishops had six months to make things right.

“We listed the property but I didn’t really push it. It wasn’t a house that I was really excited to sell,” he says.

“We decided to start a GoFundMe and we’re going to try and buy the house for them and give it back to them. I set the GoFundMe at $325,000 because that was the list price. Whatever I get is going to them. In the meantime, we found out that the arrears is between $40,000 and $50,000. So, my goal right now is to raise that and just get it out of foreclosure… I can continue to try and raise more. Ultimately I’d like to give them the house. I think they deserve it. I think they deserve to leave that home by choice and not by force.”

The Bishops got into the situation when years ago they took out another mortgage on the home after they had initially paid it off. They needed money for home repairs and maintenance.

“I’ve been doing this for 19 years and I’ve said this on the news and I’ve said it elsewhere, this is the only house I’ve ever not wanted to sell,” says Morrison.

“Everybody’s been supportive.”

The home was officially listed for sale on the market on March 12.

“It’s been a lovely old house. It’s been a home for our children and our grandchildren too,” said Jean Bishop in a television interview with Global News. “I always felt secure that we always paid the mortgage.”

“The money has always been there for them (the bank) to take and if they didn’t take it we don’t know why they didn’t take it,” said Eric Bishop on the television interview.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I know if 1 case in my 28 year career where a bank failed to take the pre authorized payments out of an Account. The mortgagor discovered a huge balance in their mortgage account. The money was there but the bank failed to take it. Long and short if it, it is the borrowers responsibility to make sure the payments are made. I know it doesn’t seem fair if the bank screws up but that’s the rules.

  2. if the money was in the bank for them to take, why is it not still there for them to take? sounds like a sam to me.

  3. I am also very confused and have the same questions as the replies above. There is more to this story that has not been disclosed.
    Since when did Canadian banks use foreclosure to forcibly “take” a property from senior citizens and reap a huge profit (eg. $275,000) on the sale price vs. the amount actually owed by the couple?
    This would be a first in my 32 years experience.
    Also , in Ontario we have a regulator called RECO that would deal with realtors who tie up a property through a listing contract and then go on television and embarrass their client as opportunists and thieves, while admitting they are going to breach their primary duty to protect their clients interest , protect their confidential information , and sell the property in a timely manner.
    There are so many offenses here, they could use this story in our real estate courses for training purposes!
    This is a great story of compassion, but it should only be distributed to consumers who know nothing about fiduciary duties and ethics in the real estate business. Any knowledgeable seller would be filing a complaint as you are reading this.
    It is clearly a very creative marketing piece for the listing agent to obtain more business from gullible people.
    Nice try.

  4. There are a lot of issues here – many of which highlight the issue of our aging population and the desire of most seniors to “age in place”. Not having details on this specific situation it is impossible to know who should carry the majority of burden in this case – however clearly I think most of us would question why any financial institution would not be connecting the dots necessary to have kept this from now including additional costs as a result of foreclosure etc. – but that is a quick observation without knowing all the facts.

    While I really appreciate the good intentions of financial assistance I think the concern is whether or not giving them a $325000 home is the right next step. There are a lot of seniors in Edmonton – and the rest of Canada – who already live in a mortgage free home when that is not the best or most appropriate course for them. A mortgage free home does not equate to living for free – and many seniors are equity rich and house poor.

    If I donate to this fund would I be upset if they sold the home after it was given to them and bought into a life-lease property that insured the family could age without dealing with maintenance and taxes ?

    If that were the case then wouldn’t that be the more appropriate approach to fund ?

    However whether or not the road to hell is paved with good intentions I guess when I get done here I will wander over to the go-fund-me page and do a little paving.

    If these issues resonate with you please consider volunteering with one of the many great agencies in your local area that are dealing with these often complex issues for seniors.

  5. Wouldn’t a CHIP Mortgage allow them to stay in the place and their Beneficiaries collect the remainning equity.

  6. How did this situation develop in the first place ,I’m confused. “The money has always been there for them (the bank) to take and if they didn’t take it we don’t know why they didn’t take it,” said Eric Bishop on the television interview. Must be much more to this story. If the Realtor took the contract to list and “Didn’t push it ” as he is quoted, is that not in contravention of his fiduciary duty to his Client ?

    • I agree, if the money had always been there for the bank, why now need 40k to 50k to pay the bank? Isn’t the money still there? if not, why raise 325k instead of 40-50k to pay back the bank and gain back title? Doesn’t add up!

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