Tips for Spotting Real Estate Fraud
When a deal on a home looks too good to be true, sometimes it is. Every day, dishonest real estate investors try to trick unwitting home buyers into fraudulent deals that could cause irreparable damage to the victim’s bank account and credit rating. While several government and real estate agencies are making strides towards stopping this crime, there’s still a chance that you might be victimized by a fraudulent investor if you’re not careful. Here are some things you should watch out for when you’re making a real estate transaction:
- Absent or Misleading Paperwork. Scam artists will promise just about anything to get their hands on your money, but the only guarantee you can trust is one that’s printed on a legally endorsed document. There are plenty of foreclosed or short-sale houses on the market being illegally sold by dishonest individuals, so take the time to learn what paperwork needs to be taken care of in order to make the property transaction legal. Ask any potential lender or seller to disclose all of their documents so that you can have them checked by an attorney or expert.
- Bossy Realtors. Honest real estate agents always make their client’s happiness their top priority, so a realtor who bullies and puts pressure on you to accept an offer or agreement should raise a red flag. If a real estate agent can’t accommodate your wants and needs, they definitely don’t have your best interests in mind and could end up ruining your financial credibility.
- Asking For Money Up Front. This applies to life in general as much as it does real estate, but you should never pay for services that have yet to be rendered. If a seller insists on having the money up front as proof that you can pay, put it in escrow, where it will be safe until you receive the services or property promised to you.
The only person who can totally protect you from real estate fraud is you. Remember, it’s worth the time and effort to completely investigate a deal before agreeing to it. While you might not be able to understand 100% of the contract when buying a foreclosed home or other property, there are attorneys and financial experts who can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to safeguarding your savings.