As sad as it is to admit, not everyone out there adheres to the same set of ethics. Charlatans, conmen and scam artists have been around since the first caveman swindled the village hunter out of the wooly mammoth. Unfortunately, this mentality continues to this very day. Here at Coldwell Banker Innovations, we believe education is power. Join us as we blow the lid off some of the most common property scams being pulled across the country.

 The Old Lender Bait & Switch Grift

When it comes to securing your home loan, it’s imperative that you work with a reputable lender. All too often, buyers are dazzled by what appears to be an insanely low-interest rate that they are “pre-qualified” for, enticing them to pick up their phone and immediately make that call. Surprisingly, the phone call verifies everything they received in the “personalized” mailer or fits the offer found in the ad down to the letter. Ok, so you’ve never heard of this lender before, but they sound legit, so you begin the process of applying for the loan. This is when the proverbial other shoe drops!

 “Well Mr. and Mrs. Jones, things have changed, but just a bit since our phone call. Rates have crept up just a bit higher and oh, yes, there are a few minor charges required to close the transaction.”

 Don’t fall for it! Do your homework, research a variety of lenders, and never, ever feel pressured into a loan that doesn’t fulfill all of your needs!

 Be Alert Regarding Check Fraud

Perhaps you own a rental property, or, as recent “empty nesters”, you decided to rent out a room in your home. Regardless of your current situation, any landlord must be educated themselves regarding what we like to call the “Bad Check Scam”.

The ideal renter shows up and absolutely loves your property, so much so that they cut you a deposit check right on the spot. Wow, what a relief! Now you can pull your online listings and rest with the comfort that you will be generating income for the length of the lease. Pleased by this good fortune, you deposit the check and go on with your day.  Later that night, there’s a knock at the door…it’s your new tenant.

 They’ve had a change of heart, their student loan isn’t coming through, their mom’s sick, the dog died—something happened and they’re sorry to say they won’t be able to rent the place after all.  “Could you please give me my deposit back?” But wait for…it’s at the bank…in your account. Guess you will have to write them a refund check or, worse yet, pay them cash. After all, they need to pay for their mother’s medical care, right? Wrong! You’re out that money, and you’ll never see your “renter” again. The deposit check was bogus, but your bank hasn’t found this out yet.

 Ask for either cash, a money order or cashier’s check for that deposit.

 Don’t Post Vacation Pictures To Social Until You Return Home

Trust us, resist the temptation to share what a great time you’re having at the beach until after you return home. Believe it or not, there are scammers out there who surf the internet looking for homeowners who will be out of town for a week or more. All it takes is a “For Sale” sign, an asking price that’s too good to be true and perhaps a way to get into the house for showings—sometimes even holding an open house! These shifty con artists can take a photo of the outside of your house and cobble together dozens of pictures of what the interior might look like, along with a super low asking price and eager buyers will flock like bees to honey.

 All they need from potential buyers is a deposit, even as little as a $1,000 and they will promise to hold the house for them. You come back from the Bahamas with a nice suntan only to be greeted by a confused family, who is now out a grand or more, wanting to take one more look at their new dream home, which is actually your place of residence!

 When it comes to real estate transactions, be smart! There are people out there that will take advantage of any opportunity to separate you from your money.