(WSVN) - They had a dream of buying a piece of land out in the country to raise their family. They bought the property, and guess what they found out? It’s why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Britani and her husband have two young, energetic boys.

Britani Royal: “As you can see, I already have my hands full.”

And right now, her belly is full as well, with another boy due in July.

Britani Royal: “I love being a mom. That’s the best part.”

As Britani and Richard thought about their future, they decided they wanted to raise their young family far from the city, out in the country.

Britani Royal: “So we had this idea of bringing the kids up, having animals on it, like goats, like, you know, chickens and plants.”

Britani started looking on the internet and found a property about 250 miles north of Broward, up in Flagler County.

Britani Royal: “So it only had one photo, it was like an aerial photo, highlighted where the property was, and then the address.”

They recorded their drive up to see the property, hired a Realtor who took them to this part of Florida, a wooded area with roads and a few houses.

Britani Royal: “I thought it was bushy, but I loved it, because I was like, ‘OK, it’s far away. I have one neighbor.'”

In person, the property looked great, but what they didn’t realize from the ad, where it said “no building permit at this time,” is they were about to make a terrible purchase.

Britani Royal: “So after everything is finalized, we saw a different ZIP code with the property, and we brought that up.”

The property they were shown near a road was in St. Johns County.

The property they bought for $12,500 was in the middle of a large parcel across the street in Flagler County, called Flagler Estates, with no roads and no way to get to their land.

Britani Royal: “I have no idea as to where to place the blame.”

They spent their life savings to buy a piece of land out in the country to raise their boys. They own the land, but it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Britani Royal: “I have no hope at this point, really. All the dreams that was put into it, everything is gone.”

Well, Howard, is what happened here illegal?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Probably, but there is not a lot you can do. While the ad did say you cannot get a building permit, the family might have been misled if they were shown the wrong piece of property. You could sue, but it would not be worth it because it would cost more in legal fees than you would get if you won.”

Turns out, over the years, many people have felt ripped off when buying lots in Flagler Estates.

Britani’s lot is about 20 miles from the nearest road in Flagler County.

The county spokesperson, Julie Murphy, told me no permits for building are allowed, because on the Flagler County side, they cannot provide essentials like roads, police and fire rescue.

I spoke to the Realtor who showed the wrong property to Britani. He said, since there was no address for the land, he used his GPS to take them to what they thought was the lot.

The man who sold the land to Britani and Richard told me he bought seven of the lots back in 2005 for around $11,000 apiece.

He said he didn’t mislead Britani. Everybody knows you can’t build up there; the ad says that.

But he said, if they were unhappy, he’d buy it back for $5,000.

I told Britani of the offer.

Britani Royal: “Nope. Absolutely not, absolutely not.”

They own land they cannot use and cannot see.

They lost their savings, but Britani hope they don’t lose their dream.

Britani Royal: “I want our dream back. You know, the dream of my children being on a farm, raising their own animals.”

Sorry we could only get the seller to offer you $5,000, Britani, and not the $12,500 you wanted.

And when can you build on that lot up in Flagler County? No one knows. Could be a few years, could be longer, because that property is way out in the boondocks, as they like to say in North Florida.

A problem left you swamped? Think a solution is remote? Land with us. See if we can carve a road out for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
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