If the perfect real estate opportunity comes about, it’s probably not for the reason you think

Real estate scams seem to keep reinventing themselves, using new and innovative ways to attract victims. But just because something appears legitimate, doesn’t mean it is. The FTC describes certain buzzwords consumers should watch out for when it comes to seeking real estate loans. The following real estate scams are common and increasing in popularity, which is why consumers need to do their research before falling into a trap.

Foreclosure fraud

Foreclosure fraud, like other real estate scams, comes in a variety of forms. One of the most common scenarios is when someone pretends to be a mortgage adviser or come from a foreclosure service. They tend to seek out homeowners who are having money problems and offer the title transference or deed. The homeowner will sign papers that appear like a standardized loan.

You can identify these scams with the signs saying “we pay cash for your home,” or “we buy homes in any condition at any price.” If you think you are facing a foreclosure, contact your mortgage company yourself. If you have to sell your property, consult a realtor and get a deal for the right price—the people who are seeking you out themselves do not want to help you.

Workshop scams

Since the housing market has finally returned, there is renewed interest in real estate investment. Thus, the workshop scammers have a renewed interest in taking investors’ money. Workshop scams consist of a supposed real estate investment mogul who hosts real estate educational seminars. The initial seminar typically costs little to no money. Once you arrive, this mogul promises to provide hidden tricks of the trade and even potential investment opportunities—once you sign up and pay thousands of dollars for the advanced course. When you attend the advanced class, you are guaranteed only one thing: to get taken advantage of. Once you realize you have been duped, it’s too late. When you signed up for the seminars, you more than likely signed a release that prevents you from taking any legal action. That is how these workshop seminars continue to operate and are never exposed.

Renting out inaccessible apartments

This is another scam that is almost impossible to fight back against. These scammers will typically target out of town renters who need a temporary home while visiting a town for work or vacation. They list an apartment as a temporary rental and ask potential renters to wire money to cover the security deposit and rent. The renter will eventually arrive at their temporary rental to find out that the apartment isn’t actually for rent and is probably occupied by someone else.

This scam works in the reverse as well, where you are looking for someone to sublet your apartment and the potential renter asks for your banking info to send you the rent, only to steal your banking information. It’s just as impossible, in either of these scenarios, to recover the money because it is very difficult to trace.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is

While there are perfect real estate opportunities that do exist, they will never just fall into your lap. Do your research. Consult second opinions. Never wire or send money for a deposit without first consulting an attorney or a realtor. The best way to protect yourself from falling for these real estate scams is to work with a licensed real estate agent that you trust.

Dante Disabato prides himself on operating at the highest level of integrity and honesty. With years of experience in Southwest Florida, he is well versed in sniffing out real estate scams and opportunities. Learn more about how Dante Disabato can help you find your next real estate opportunity.

This material is based upon information which we consider reliable, but because it has been supplied by third parties, we cannot represent that it is accurate or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such. These offerings are subject to errors, omissions, prior sales, changes, including but not restricted to, price or withdrawal without notice. A buyer should be represented by legal counsel and have a professional inspection and a survey of the property certified to the buyer to verify information contained herein and all other information upon which a buyer may intend to rely. William Raveis Real Estate.