Don’t Fall For Real Estate Scams and Hoaxes
The public is often warned to watch out for things like identity theft and Internet scams, but there’s a good chance they don’t think much about the risk of becoming a victim of a real estate hoax. Looking for just the right place to live, whether you’re renting or buying, is stressful enough without having to worry about the possibility of being swindled out of your hard-earned money too.
Unfortunately, there are many dishonest people in the world that are just waiting to rip off anyone that will fall for their fraudulent ploys. Shady real estate deals are more common than you think, but there are several things you can do as a renter or homebuyer to make sure you don’t get caught up in this kind of situation.
Do Your Homework on Internet Rental/Sale Listings
The Internet supplies us with a wealth of information every day and can be a great source for finding real estate listings, however, it’s also a great place for scammers to find their prey. Online schemes often involve people pretending to be a real estate agent representing a property for sale or someone who is renting out a residence.
The problem with this is they will find genuine listings and then switch out the contact information on the ad to be their own. Be wary if your contact will only agree to meetings away from the listed property or if they seem unusually hurried to get the paperwork signed and take a deposit. If possible, check out all listings you’re interested in with a licensed real estate agent.
Be Cautious of “Too Good to Be True” Listings
Too good to be true circumstances in real estate usually involve listings that boast low-cost or no-cost financing, promises of high returns or a selling price that seems like a steal. Look for these keywords and don’t get too excited without further examination.
Don’t Try to Become a Property Investor Overnight
Numerous people have found a legitimate way to make a lot of money by investing in property, but it definitely wasn’t done overnight. There are many schemes out there related to property investment that will claim to make you millions almost instantly if you just take their workshop, class or seminar – for a substantial cost, of course.
While there are some expert investment advisors that you could surely learn a thing or two from, you won’t hear them promising that you’ll get rich quick. Stay away from courses that declare “sure-fire” results and seem excessively priced.
Proceed Carefully When Offered a Loan Modification
Foreclosures and short sales have become a familiarity in the real estate market in recent years, and con artists have found a way to capitalize on it. This can come in the form of lender bait-and-switch tactics, leaseback programs, bogus foreclosure counseling, fake forensic loan auditing or phony government modification programs.
Beware of any occasion where you are suddenly approached with a solution to your foreclosure or short sale woes, especially if you are ever asked for money in exchange for assistance.
The most important thing to do, whether you’re in the market to buy or sell, is to do as much research as you can before committing to any transaction of money. Of course, the best way to avoid becoming involved in a real estate hoax is to work with a trusted agent that will do most of the legwork for you and will know what kind of situations to keep their distance from.