With the housing market in dire straits, a call from a stranger claiming they have a potential buyer for your property can seem very enticing. But make sure the deal isn’t too good to be true. Read on to find out what to watch out for.
Real Estate Fraud
With many neighborhoods suffering from a multitude of distressed properties, a small and effective ring of scam artists is popping up, looking to take advantage of desperate homeowners. Here’s how it works.
The Call and the Promise
An “agent” calls with the promise of a buyer who’s willing to buy right now for a low price.
The ruse is in the contract. If the contract you’re looking at talks of “net listings,” then keep your radar up. Net listing allows the scammer to get the net proceeds of the sale after the homeowner agrees on the price.
The trick is that the “agent” convinces the homeowner to agree to sell the house at a deflated price or for the mortgage balance, usually to an acquaintance of theirs with the upfront capital, all the while knowing he or she will be able to “flip” the house, or sell it at a profit of thousands of dollars.
While the former homeowner is at least out from under his or her mortgage, there’s no equity to show for the years of principle that have been paid into the house and its appreciation.
Don’t Be Taken In
It’s a tempting scheme, which is why it’s been so successful. But there are some ways to keep from getting scammed.
- Ask to see the person’s realtor or broker license. Missouri requires all agents to be licensed.
- Ask to meet the agent at their office to prove they have one.
- Have an attorney look over the contract and, if there are red flags, investigate the matter.
With a Trusted Attorney, You’re Not Alone
Dan C. Miller is an professional, action-oriented attorney who has litigated this type of matter and as a former prosecutor knows a fraud when he sees one. He can help ensure you’re getting a deal that’s on the up and up so that you can rest assured you’re getting the money you deserve for your home. If you’re selling your home and want Dan C. Miller’s expert advice, give him a call at 816-875-0470, or fill out his web submission form for more information.