In a vast and highly competitive industry such as real estate, numerous fraud and scam tactics are bound to enter and complicate the profession, as well as affect express homebuyers.
According to the IRS and Crime Investigation Management System, in 2013 at least 235 real estate scams were reported, 163 cases in 2014, and 190 cases last 2015. The numbers have told a story, and it’s an alarming one especially for real estate practitioners.
It’s no trade secret that having a career in real estate can guarantee stable income and an extensive network of professional connections that you can use for future reference. Taking these benefits into account, real estate can do a lot for your professional development and finance investment, and you have to secure it by all means necessary.
If you’re an enthusiast or someone who’s very keen on entering the profession, or you’ve been thinking about how you can “sell my house fast” you have to be aware of these 5 real estate hocus-pocus that can put you and your starting career on the line:
- Online sales and rental ploys
You might have heard this a lot of times already, but you have to be extra cautious on what posts you will believe on the internet. While the advantage of online sales are preferred by many due to the ease of communications and vast availability of resources, it is the same reasons that a lot of scammers have used this platform to post fake ads by scrapping details and photos from legitimate ads and reposting later on large third party selling sites.
Such online sales and rental scams are prevalent on social media and online directories where a huge community can see it. To avoid falling into one, here are a few reminders:
- Be wary of promising perks and selling urgency (“buy now, pay later, low or no extra costs”). If it’s too good to be true, consider it as a red flag. Another trick used by scammers is asking money upfront in exchange of discounted deals and application processing
- Research on your own. A simple Google image search can identify if a certain property listing is legit or just scrapped from the original. Most news and government websites also post a list of known property scammers so be on the lookout for that.
- “Get rich quick” workshops
One of the best ways to learn about a particular industry is through reliable workshops, conferences, and seminars that are held by the experts. Oftentimes, such workshops are free of cost or expensive depending on the program line up and the speakers.
However, scammers are getting smarter and appeals to the immediate financing needs of most people. If you’re going to do a quick search, you’re going to find a lot of “experts” blogging about their “get rich quick” schemes and educational webinars and ebooks, promising people to help them with their “buy my house” needs and effective tips to easy wealth.
The next time you see flashy words of the same agenda, think not just twice, but thrice before signing up, attending, and spending money on such workshops. Remember, there’s no easy way on getting wealthy – ASAP. Ask around and every credible expert will tell you the same thing: work hard, be smart, and don’t rely on such quick and easy workshops.
- Deviation tricks
Most scammers are good on capturing buyers’ hearts at first impression, or sometimes at a glance. They will present and propose a particular project that will make it hard for you to reject. It’s all posh amenities and unsolicited luxurious offers until the supposed contractor suddenly causes a lot of delays in deadlines and project supplies. To make the situation worst, you’ll have no choice but to shoulder the burden of delay costs that were added by the contractor for the project. By slowly deviating from the original project plan, the scammer tricks you into thinking that your invested money will be put to good use, when it really leads to no good.
To avoid such deviation tricks, you have to do research and ask for advice when deciding on hiring a property consultant or contractor. Ensure that the property partner you’re looking for is credible and known for equitable transactions and work ethics and quality. Finding the right person for the job will be hard especially at present time where the demand for real estate supply is high and the market booms with stock investment.
- Property title reproduction
One of the most alarming real estate fraud as it also includes identity theft in order to be processed. Be wary of property contractors and consultants you hire and discuss projects with. Although this type of real estate fraud commonly take advantage of innocent and first time home buyers, most scammers are improving their dealing tactics that might catch you off guard if you’re not careful.
The property title reproduction scam, as the term goes, makes use of your property title, mortgages, and registry details, and later on forges it on various documents to transfer a property with your name. The scammer steals your property details and can have you paying for future costs that you’re not even aware of.
To avoid such instances, if you’re a land owner, you can avail of a title insurance that can protect you from a certain property title’s existing issues and records. And, while it’s already common knowledge, don’t easily trust a contractor with your vital details. Do you research and know them well before anything else.
Similar to other industries, real estate also has its own share of fraud and scams that buyers and agents should be aware of. Take note of these precarious issues to save yourself from theft.