Don’t fall for these real estate scams in 2019

The scary truth about real estate scams is that they can cost you your dream home. The best way to avoid getting cheated out of your hard-earned cash is to stay informed of the latest tricks that criminals are using.

A healthy dose of caution is also advantageous. Once you’re aware of the potential pitfalls, you can look for your ideal home on GotProperty.

1. Hackers posing as your agent

Real estate scam hackers | GotProperty
Photo source – pexels.com

The real estate industry doesn’t have high online security, which makes it easy for hackers to hijack your agent’s email account. When real estate agents use public Wi-Fi in coffee shops, it also makes them an easy target for hackers.

Posing as your agent, they’ll send you an email asking you to transfer the closing funds to their bank account. Once you’ve followed their instructions on where to send the money, you can say goodbye to your hard-earned cash as it vanishes into the hackers untraceable account. Hacking into unencrypted emails is a prevalent real estate scam but it’s also common across other industries

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Negotiate a deal that doesn’t have closing costs
  • Don’t send sensitive information via unencrypted emails
  • Call your estate agent to verify banking details over the phone
  • Double check banking details with your financial institute
  • Request verification of your transaction immediately

2. Identity theft

Another one of the many real estate scams is identity theft. Cunning criminals look for victims whose identity they can steal so that they can pose as the property owner. In this scenario, the scammer creates fake documents so they can pose as the owner with the aim of taking out an additional mortgage on the property.

Identity theft real estate scams | GotProperty
Photo source – pexels.com

Once they’ve obtained the money, they disappear with it, leaving the legitimate owner to make the repayments. When it comes to real estate scams, it pays to be wary of title fraud.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Protect your personal information
  • Buy title insurance

3. Copied rental listings

Scammers copy valid rental listings and repost them with a lower monthly rent. The bargain price attracts prospective tenants who are eager to rent the property. In their haste to secure the rental, they send a deposit through without double checking the legitimacy of the listing or viewing the property.

The money goes into the scammers account never to be seen again. The bottom line is, if the rental price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Do your research to find a reliable real estate company to work with
  • View the property before paying a deposit
  • Be cautious of emails sent with/from hidden or strange email addresses
  • Avoid rentals if the agent won’t show you the property before you hand over any money

4. Unscrupulous realtors

In this real estate scam, an unlicensed realtor makes a sale on the house but instead of depositing the check into the escrow account they put the money into their own account.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Check the credentials of your realtor
  • Use a reputable real estate company

5. Dishonest buyers

When you’re selling your property, be wary of dishonest buyers. A sign of a real estate scam is when the buyer agrees to purchase the property for an amount that is above the market value. The generous deal prompts the seller to seal the deal by signing the contract. Once the seller has signed the contract, they are obligated to sell the property to that person within a specified time frame.

Dishonest buyers real estate scam | GotProperty
Photo source – pexels.com

Once the time is up, the crooked buyer asks for an extension. The seller loses out because they’re responsible for taxes and utilities during this period. Next, the buyer starts to protest that the agreed upon price is too high and they ask for a reduction. With the threat of the deal falling through, they wear the seller down over time so that they finally negotiate a price that is below the market value.

Tips to avoid becoming a victim:

  • Ask the buyer to provide you with proof of funds prior to signing the contract
  • Don’t agree to unreasonable extensions
  • Verify any requests for extensions first before granting them

Now that you know what to look out for, you can start looking for your dream home on GotProperty.

Summary
Don't fall for these real estate scams in 2019
Article Name
Don't fall for these real estate scams in 2019
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The scary truth about real estate scams is that they can cost you your dream home. Here are some of the latest tricks that scammers are using.
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GotProperty Staff Writer
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