As the world becomes a global village, many consumers first turn to the internet as a way to either purchase or rent a property.
While this in itself is good, a wise choice has to be made in order to avoid being a scapegoat to an online scam.
One example of such scam is the masquerading of a fake company as a legit government-affiliated housing agency in order to swindle unsuspecting homeowner of thousands of dollars as money needed to modify the mortgage.
As a result, I decided to provide the information you can use to avoid being a victim.
7 Ways To Avoid Real Estate Scam
1. Search for Duplicate Listing
Whenever you see a property listing you are interested in, take your time to copy the description and input into Google search.
If the search result shows the same listing with different prices -it’s a yellow flag and extra care should be taken in order to avoid falling prey to scammers.
This, however, doesn’t suggest there is no legitimate duplicate listing since agents sometimes post the listing on multiple sites in order to reach a wider audience.
You should, however, ensure that the listing prices for both properties are the same. If you see this discrepancy, call the attention of the website owner as well as law enforcement agent in order to avoid others becoming prey.
2. Avoid Too Good To Be True Listing.
If you spot any listing with a very low price, I advise you disregard such listing.
While some good estate deal may come so cheap, it is a rare occurrence. Some scammers may break into a locked property, advertise the property at a ridiculous price, welcome the prospective tenant, collect the money and disappear into thin air.
3. Avoid Upfront Payment
As people get desperate to lay their hands on choice houses; so also have scammers become daring. For example, the con men can post a duplicate listing online, and act as the agent of the said listing. These conmen will then ask you to give them money up front as security deposit.
4. Avoid Paying Fees as Credit Check.
Another way you can be scammed is by paying money just for credit checks. Though this can be legitimate, the price range should be between 30$ to $50. Anything more than this should be considered fraud.
You are also free to ask the agent or landlord to provide you with the name of the agency that is to perform the background check.
You can also walk into the agency pay for the report and send it to the prospective landlord. Another means you can be scammed is through foreclosure counseling. Avoid paying money for foreclosure counseling as it is usually free.
5. Deal With Only Legitimate Government Sites.
Don’t click on most hyperlinks especially when payments are involved.
Either type the website name directly into the browser or Type the site name into Google. Don’t feel so certain because sophisticated scammers now use .gov domains.
6. Be Damn Careful of Workshop Seminars.
A self-acclaimed real estate Guru will host a real estate seminar where little or no money is required. During the seminar, you’re then pitched a paid course where you sign up in order to gain access to tips on how to buy real estate property for dirt cheap amount.
You attend the paid course, where you are further induced to go for an advanced course. During the course, the type of properties to invest in will be shown to you. These properties are either fake or aren’t what their bogus value.
7. Verify The Identity of the Agent.
Before doing business take your time to check if you’re dealing with a legitimate agent.
For example, you can do a simple online search to check for: - The Property Address: If the address has been listed online by another company –this should indicate that it could be a scam. - The Phone Number: Does your number match that found on the property listing-? If no –you could be dealing with a scammer. - The E-mail Address: You can type the E-mail Address + scam into Google search to see if the e-mail has been used by scammers previously. -
8. Work With Reputable Real Estate Agencies.
You can work with popular real estate agents with a good track record.