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Last updated: January 16, 2017 • Scams

Real Estate Scams — Avoid Becoming a Victim

Real Estate directory like serve to connect buyers and sellers with reputable Real Estate Agents. Having access to these directories allows the average consumer to have confidence in buying or selling property via a trustworthy Real Estate Agent by having access to Real Estate Agent reviews, network and listings.  

Unfortunately, most Real Estate shoppers do not use safe, reputable directories and instead take to the Wild West of the unregulated, unchecked internet for the home of their dreams. With “unchecked” and “unregulated” come much more sinister words like “untrustworthy” and “scam.”

As is any business with the potential for a big sum of money to change hands, scammers and grifters of all shapes, sizes and skill levels invade the legitimate Real Estate business to score a big, illegal pay day at someone else’s expense. To avoid becoming a victim of a Real Estate scam, follow these simple rules in all Real Estate interactions.

Phantom Properties

Beware of properties that do not exist. Whether it is to rent or to own, do your research. A simple browse through an online map, now available on most smartphones and all computers with an internet connection, can give you an idea of whether the listing is under a wrong or non-existent address. If it is a an apartment or condo unit, be sure to check it out yourself, or simply call the building or property manager to find out more. If the property is not listed for sale, or doesn’t exist at all, you may want to ask more questions.

Money Upfront

Living in a world of ordering goods online, we are used to paying first and receiving the goods later, so paying a security deposit or first month’s rent right away may not seem like a big deal. However, in order to avoid a scam, be sure to always sign a contract prior to paying anything. Real Estate scammers make it seem like the apartment or condo is a hot deal, and if you don’t pay something to reserve the place, you’ll lose it. Once you pay, the scammer disappears with your money, and your dream property that probably never existed.  

Out of the Country

Claiming to be out of the country is a very popular method of scamming people looking to buy Real Estate or automobiles. Usually, the scenario involves the seller having to leave a prime piece of property due to work or family emergency abroad, and selling/renting the property at a very cheap price… almost a steal! Most of the time, it is. Since they are “out of the country,” they are magically unable to sign or verify any legal documents, but do require a deposit. No matter how sincere someone seems, if they are out of the country, avoiding the deal may be the safest course of action.

Check back soon! Next month, we will be writing about Real Estate Agent Reviews, Agent Reviews, your own Agent Reviews, and how to keep your business competitive utilizing Social Media and Real Estate Directories.


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