Unfortunately, scams happen in the real estate world too. Here are four that you need to avoid.
While the majority of people are good and honest, a few bad apples always try to take advantage of others, and the real estate market is no different.
There are four common real estate scams that you need to be aware of so you can avoid them.
1. The mortgage closing scam. This scam starts when hackers gain access to a party of the transaction’s email account and try to divert the purchasing funds of one of their clients. If you are in the process of closing on a home and you get some weird emails asking you to wire funds to an account or the instructions for wiring your funds have changed, make sure you check with your lender, your agent, and/or the title company before you send funds to a scammer that you’ll never get back.
2. Fake real estate lawyers. In this instance, a scammer will impersonate a real estate lawyer who is associated with a particular home sale, gain access to someone’s account on the seller side of the transaction, and contact the other side of the transaction and try to divert their purchasing funds.
3. The bait-and-switch. In this case, a buyer makes an offer on a home that is well above the listed price. Once the seller accepts their offer and the contract is signed, however, the buyer starts dragging their feet and prolonging the process. In the meantime, the seller continues to pay costs for the home and the unscrupulous buyer hopes that they’ll eventually agree to sell at a lower price just to get the deal over with.
4. Property deed scam. While this one is technically not illegal, it is a scam and we see it on just about every transaction. After closing on a home, a buyer gets a note in the mail that looks incredibly official that says they need to pay a certain amount to get a copy of the deed for their new house. In reality, the county sends you a copy of your deed for free after closing. Since the deed is public record, though, scammers can make a copy of it and legally charge you for any amount they want.
So, how can you protect yourself against these and other scams? Find a real estate agent you trust to represent your best interests and always, always, check and double check before you wire funds.
If you are ever in need of a trustworthy real estate agent or you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to help.