Real Estate Fraud: 5 Tips On How To Avoid It
Real Estate Fraud: How It Works
Real estate fraud is not new, but scammers have improved their tactics and are no longer limited to just phones or emails. Unfortunately, most people are unaware of how they operate and fall victim to them. It has become commonplace for scammers to have a field day with the internet. You need to understand how they work and what better way to do so than to learn how to spot them.
When venturing into real estate, you must be very careful because you deal with a lot of money. Condos aren’t cheap, and it is not easy recovering from such a huge loss. Here are some of the things to look out for, which will help you identify real estate fraud and condo scams.
1. Fake Listings
First, you need to be wary of fake listings. Whether you are buying or renting a condo, you should be careful when you see a price that is too good to be true. Most times, these properties are listed at an unbelievably low price to draw buyers’ attention. Most times, the property will look great online, whether on the website, Facebook, or Instagram. That’s how most of the real estate scams happen these days.
It is usually a red flag that such property isn’t real. You have to be careful communicating with any agent or person with such a listing. If you are asked to wire money before viewing the property or ask for sensitive information from you, it is likely a scam, and you should leave immediately and report such persons to the police.
2. Scammers Impersonating A Buyer Or Seller
Another possible real estate fraud is the case when a scammer poses as a buyer or even an agent of the condo property. It is easy for anyone to upload pictures of rent or sale properties today. They can claim to be real estate agents, especially on social media. Even some buyers pretend to have an interest in a property.
You have to be careful with people like this. You should do a little research about them. If the agent has a website, you can easily find out people’s opinions about them. You can also explore forums to determine if they have any scamming records.
3. No Formal Business Page
Most real estate fraud perpetrators don’t have a formal business page. They have very little information about themselves online. If you are dealing with an agent, you should find out more information about his/her business. If there is nothing to show or any online reviews, that’s another red flag. Also, you find any information about them online, but it leaves out any reference to real estate, it is also a sign they may be scammers.
“It is important that you only patronize reputable companies, especially when buying condos. To avoid getting scammed, only buy from certified sources. It is critical to look out for those that have an official business page and licenses to engage in real estate transactions”, says Will Parker from CondoWizard, a company specialized in Whitby condo units.
4. Unwillingness To Meet In Person
Scammers would avoid any physical meetings. They will prefer to hide on social media. If you ask to see the property and meet them, they will cook up an excuse but will readily request your money. Most likely, the excuse will be about the pandemic these days.
As a buyer, you must be careful not to exchange money for any property before seeing it and before any legal contract has been drawn.
How To Report a Real Estate Scammer
Warn your family and online friends know about real estate fraud on social media. You can report scammers and suspicious activity officially to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) using this link, below:
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Meanwhile, educate yourself with some other real estate fraud-related articles below this paragraph, so that you know how to stay safe online. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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