As with most fraud cases, wire fraud begins with a hacked email account. The perpetrator scans your inbox for messages related to real estate transactions. Once they do, they’ll send an email that looks exactly like a message your real estate agent would send—except with instructions to transfer money to a “new” bank account. If you get messages like these, call – don’t email! – your real estate agent ASAP for verification.
Sometimes, a fraudster will masquerade as a home seller, bearing a forged land title. They will offer a rock-bottom price on their house, but will advise the would-be buyer to ditch title insurance to fast track the purchase. They weasel away the money you pay them, and you’re left with a “title” that’s really a worthless piece of paper. The lesson: always get title insurance.
Appraisal fraud happens when the value of a home is pitched higher than its actual market value. In these instances, the appraiser is often in on the scam, or the seller can digitally manipulate the appraisal document to raise the indicated value. Before making a purchase, survey the going rate in the area, or hire an independent appraiser of your own.
If you’re ever invited to a get-rich-quick real estate investment seminar, run in the other direction stat. At best, hucksters use these workshops to sell overpriced books or coaching sessions that offer baloney “insider secrets.” At worst, they’ll pressure you into real estate investment opportunities that are really just Ponzi schemes.
Stolen property listings
Scam artists often copy actual property listings and post them elsewhere, then pose as an agent or home seller. Oftentimes, they’ll also claim that they’re out of country and that you should just wire them money in advance while the contract is being drawn up. Do not fall for their trap; look only at properties on trusted listing websites, and never wire money to people you have never met before.
First-time buyers are often clueless about the financial aspect of home buying, which makes them a prime target for predatory lenders. A lot of times, they’ll end up paying excessively high fees and interest rates, which make paying for their home a burden. Before taking out a mortgage, make sure to comparison shop to see if you’re getting a good—and legitimate— deal.
Of course, working with a trusted real estate agent ensures that you won’t fall for these scams. For your housing needs in Granbury, TX, call Coleman Real Estate LLC at 817.579.9300 or send an email to [email protected].