Buying or selling your house is one of the most expensive transactions that you may deal with in your lifetime. With lots of money involved comes great responsibility, meaning you have to be careful. Criminals target the ones who are ignorant and easy to prey on. They come up with the most creative tactics to make money. Scammers aim for anyone whether they are a buyer, seller, or a real estate agent. Here are some scams that happen in real estate that you should be aware of, in order to avoid being caught in a trap.
Hackers Can Steal Your Down Payment
Yes, this is possible, and it happens. Someone can hack into your agent’s e-mail or other personal property and try to contact you into sending them money, which you are not going to get back.
This situation has escalated so much that the FTC released a statement to consumers about real estate agent’s e-mails getting hacked. The best way to prevent this is to make sure there are zero closing costs when you are purchasing a home. You can also request to make a phone call when wiring money.
There Can Be Fake and Duplicated Listings
Sometimes people copy legitimate listings onto other websites, and this you should be careful of, especially if it is a site that is non-related to real estate. It is common that people fall for listings like this and then wire money to the scammer without even knowing it. Once they fall into the trap, there is not much they can do about it after.
To avoid this, make sure to do your research on a specific listing, website, or real estate agent. If the landlord happens to mention that they cannot allow you to see the property or says they are not local, then it is best to avoid the situation.
Strange Contact Information
Scams in real estate can happen right down to the contact information someone provides. Most of the time, an agency’s information is provided. If you see someone’s personal contact information, this could be a sign, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it because it happens sometimes. It only gets weird if there is no number given or if it’s a long-distance connection. Then the listing is probably not legitimate.
The Overly Eager Buyer
If you ever sell your home, watch out for the overly eager buyer who offers way too much detailed financial information. This is common for cash-buyer scammers who give bank statements or some other document that proves their financial situation. These scammers want you to believe that they can be trusted, but this is a way to reel you into a trap.
The Pushy Seller
These people are usually in a rush because they can’t wait to get you to approve the deal, so they can get what they want without getting caught. If you feel a seller is pressuring you in any way, or you feel rushed during the process, it is best to just go find another listing.