It happens far too often. You find a home you want to buy, you contact the “seller,” and you arrange to look at the house. Maybe you put in an offer. Maybe you even pay a down payment. And then suddenly the seller disappears, and you discover the home wasn’t theirs to sell in the first place.
These real estate scams are becoming more and more prevalent, especially with the increase in for sale by owner homes. There are some ways that you can protect yourself from real estate scams.
Pay Nothing to See a Property
You shouldn’t have to pay anything to see a property for sale. If someone is requiring you to send them money to confirm your appointment to look at the property, this is a huge sign that you are being scammed. In these situations the money is usually sent to the “seller,” who then takes the money and runs, with no one at the property when you arrive.
Don’t Place a Down Payment
Even if the home is for sale by owner or if they are trying to do an owner finance, you should not put a down payment on the home until you have a purchase contract in hand. That contract should be looked over by an attorney, and the information for the seller should be verified. Do not put any money down on a home until you have followed these steps.
Go Through an Agent
Even if you want to consider for sale by owner properties, it is a good idea to work with a real estate agent. An agent is familiar with the industry, best practices, and what to look for in real estate scams. They will be able to help protect you from scammers.
If you are looking to buy a home in the near future and want to avoid scams, contact us today for more information or to schedule your appointment.