3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Real Estate Scams
Every 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.
The Voss Team
7111 West Bell Road Ste 101
Glendale, Arizona 85308
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