Real estate scams have been part of the industry since the get-go. Today, scammers are everywhere and agents can help a lot to protect their their clients against “regular” and cyber scams.
Here are some tips for you and your clients.
To help protect your client from transferring funds to a fraudulent person or entity:
1. Advise you client to ONLY respond to and ORAL request for a wire transfer.
2. Make sure that client ONLY to someone they know or to someone you have referred to the.
3. Advise your client to NEVER, EVER respond to an email, website, social media post requesting a wire transfer.
To help protect you client from renting a house that doesn’t exist,
1. Advise them to research the house on CourtHome.com, a listing of foreclosed houses state-by-state.
2. Advise them to go to the County Clerk’s office to see that the house is not foreclosed.
3. Advise them to NEVER send a cashier’s check.
4. Advise them to NEVER send a deposit or rental payment to an overseas post office box.
To help protect your client from a moving company that may hold hostage or steal their belongings, (this is a rampant scam)
1. Advise them to get a written estimate of moving costs
2. Make sure the moving company is registered and insured.
3. If moving locally, suggest they hire their own truck and hire workers to load and unload their belongings on either end between the two houses.
To help protect you clients from “I’ll sell your home or I’ll buy it myself,”
1. Advise them to beware of agents who insist on required asking prices that are determined by them.
2. Advise them to beware of pre-determined price drops over a pre-determined time schedule.
3. Advise them to beware of requirements to buy a new house, likely a house listed with their firm, if they happen to sell your house
4. Advise them to beware of agents giving them low-ball prices if they offer to buy their house.
All these tips necessitate that you and/or your clients
1. Check comparable selling prices
2. Determine TOTAL monthly housing costs
3. Determine closing costs (Bankrate.com has annual closing cost surveys by state)
4. Apply to multiple lenders on the same day for pre-approvals to help ensure loan is approved at the best rate
5. Take the temperature of local real estate market (is it hot, cool, rising?)