3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams

3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams

3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Real Estate ScamsEvery year, homebuyers across the country are being targeted in custom-tailored email scams aimed at stealing down payments and closing costs money. Martin Hellmer, FBI supervisory special agent in Phoenix, said 256 victims in the metro area lost $41 million in 2017. That’s why it’s essential to educate yourself on potential frauds and red flags before purchasing or renting a home. Here are 3 ways to protect yourself from real estate scams.

1.) Play Detective: Asking questions is one of the best ways to expose possible scammers as they can often seem nervous or unsure of their answers. Also, never be afraid to ask for I.D. from a real estate agent. Check out the Better Business Bureau and research the agent online to verify that they are licensed to practice real estate in the state of Arizona. And while you’re investigating, be sure to visit their reviews, testimonies, and references to further verify they’re legit.

2.) Keep Tabs on Your Cash: Scammers are successful at disappearing with a victim’s money, because they usually request payment in an untraceable way. When doing a real estate transaction, avoid using cash or wiring money as those are the two most difficult ways to trace your money. Insisting on writing checks or some other type of traceable payment form is often enough to scare off potential scam artists and sends the message that you are an informed buyer.

3.) Double Check Your Contracts: Resourceful con artists can draft up an official looking real estate contract or rental agreement in a snap. Some red flags to keep an eye out for on fraudulent real estate agreements include misspellings, grammatical errors, non-legal jargon, and missing information. Don’t feel pressured or rushed into signing anything you don’t understand or are unsure of. Listen to your intuition and have a qualified real estate attorney look over any contracts or documents.

When all else fails remember the old adage, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” It might seem time consuming or even paranoid to do your homework, but it’s worth the extra time if it could protect you from a real estate scam. When you’re ready to buy a home in the greater Phoenix area, you can rest assured that a licensed and ethical RE/MAX REALTOR® at The Voss Team will help you achieve your real estate goals.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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5 Things to Know About Mortgage Deductions in 2018

5 Things to Know About Mortgage Deductions in 2018

5 Things to Know About Mortgage Deductions in 2018With the passing of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, a lot is about to change financially for citizens in the United States. One of the ways this change will affect citizens greatly is how it will reflect financially for homeowners. Although this tax cut is for 2018 (meaning citizens won’t see changes until February of 2019), there will still be a dramatic change for U.S. homeownership. Here are 5 Things to Know About Mortgage Deductions in 2018.

1.) All buyers will no longer have personal exemptions, but there is an increase in standard deductions.

2.) The new deductible property amount is at $10,000, and there could also be scaling back of the mortgage interest deduction. Previously homeowners could deduct interest up to $1 million, but that has been lowered to $750,000.

3.) If you’re planning on buying a second home, please be aware there are new deduction limits. After the $750,000 mortgage cap, the interest on your mortgage will no longer be deductible. However, this does not mean your entire mortgage is no longer deductible—just the difference. For example, if you are above your mortgage cap by $100,000, that amount will not be deductible.

4.) Deduction done for most homeowners can refinance mortgage debts that existed on Dec. 14, 2017, up $1 million and deduct the interest, as long as the new loan doesn’t exceed the original mortgage.

5.) The new bill repealed the deduction on home equity debt interest through Dec. 31, 2025. Interest, however, is still deductible if the home equity loan is used to substantially improve the home.

If you want to know more about making the most of your mortgage deductions in 2018, we recommend contacting a certified tax professional. If you’re ready to sell your Phoenix home or buy a home in Phoenix in 2018, please contact The Voss Team today.

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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3 Ways to Know if You Have Good Buyer Etiquette

3 Ways to Know if You Have Good Buyer Etiquette

Man gives a woman the keys to a new home. Chrome pedant with house shape
Man gives a woman the keys to a new home. Chrome pedant with house shape

Believe it or not, good etiquette doesn’t just apply to practicing polite behavior at parties and other social gatherings. It can also apply to buying a home as well, especially when you’re on the search for the perfect Phoenix home. If you’ve ever been a seller, hosted an open house, or worked with an agent, then you’ve been in situations that require a certain social civility. Do you have good buyer etiquette? Ask yourself these three questions to find out:

1.) Do you know what you’re looking for?

If you’re looking to buy, but have absolutely no idea what you want, you’re going to waste a lot of time viewing spaces that may not fit your needs. Take the time to identify exactly what you want before you and your agent hoof it to view properties. How many bedrooms do you want? Do you want a single story or a two-story? Having a list of what you’re looking for will save everyone time.

2.) Do you criticize while you browse?

If you walk into a seller’s house that you’re not crazy about, hold your tongue. They still call it their home and definitely won’t appreciate you calling their look dated or complaining about the lack of space. Criticizing a property during the tour is in bad taste and you never know who could be listening. If you end up in a multiple offer situation, you don’t want the seller to choose another buyer because they heard you badmouth their home.

3.) Do you take pictures while you tour?

In an age where most everyone has a smart phone, it may seem like no big deal to snap a photo or make a quick video to show your friends and family how your home search is going. But in many cases, the homes you are viewing are still someone’s private residence and they may not appreciate having it photographed or shared. Always ask permission to take photos or video of the house.

Practicing good buyer etiquette towards sellers, their agents, and your REALTOR® is easy. Just remember to be respectful and practice common courtesy when you’re in someone else’s home, even if you’re not exactly thrilled with what you see. If you’re ready to put that good buyer etiquette to the test and buy a home in Phoenix, then contact The Voss Team today!

Roberta Voss

The Voss Team

(602)-697-0730

7111 West Bell Road Ste 101

Glendale, Arizona 85308

thevossteam.com

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