How to Avoid Common Real Estate Scams: Tips for Protecting Yourself as a Buyer or Seller

Common Real Estate Scams

Unfortunately, scams are present in all spheres of our lives. One of the most important mechanisms we must develop is learning to recognise potential scams. This is especially true for the real estate, as the stakes are high. Scams often happen in real estate, including rental, mortgage fraud, and investment schemes. So, if you plan to engage in some kind of real estate deal soon, keep reading to learn more about avoiding common real estate scams with these tips on protecting yourself as a buyer or seller.

Researching the property and the buyer or seller is a stepping stone to avoiding common real estate scams. Another essential thing is getting a professional inspection of the property. Moreover, this is something you should already know as it implies to other spheres of our lives, but we will mention it anyways as it is quintessential – don’t sign anything before reading it first. Also, don’t wire money before verifying instructions and always use a secure payment model.

1. Research the property as well as the buyer or seller

The first step to ensuring you don’t involve yourself in a scam is researching the property and the buyer or seller. So, do your due diligence before engaging in any real estate transaction. Don’t forget to check public records to see whether the property is subject to legal issues. Additionally, you should research the seller and ensure that he owns the property. As for the seller, you can also check whether they are who they say they are, whether they are part of some unresolved legal matters or similar things. Basically, you should research anything suspicious to you. Remember that many real estate scams involve identity theft, where people represent themselves as somebody else.

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2.  Get a professional inspection

If you are buying or selling a property, doing that through a reputable real estate agent is always more secure. If you are buying or selling a property in Melbourne, you can hire professional Mornington real estate agents to help you safely find/sell your property. They will also disclose some steps you should take and also suggest getting the place professionally inspected if buying. The professional inspection of a property can be a real eye-opener and a realistic picture of the property in question. Some even hire 2 separate professional inspections to ensure everything is thoroughly inspected and matches.

3. Don’t sign anything before reading it first

Even though this is implied in all areas of our lives, we will still mention it as it’s key. Any deal in real estate requires the signing of some kind of documentation. What is important is that you first read everything and make sure to understand it well. If you have doubts, you should ask for clarification before putting your signature on it. If any aspect of the deal makes you uneasy, don’t hesitate to disengage. Before signing any documents, ensure that you fully comprehend all the terms involved in the transaction.

4. Don’t wire money before verifying instructions

The same applies to wiring money – don’t wire any before verifying instructions. Wire fraud is a prevalent form of real estate fraud where scammers deceive individuals into wiring funds directly to them instead of the authorised seller or escrow account. To safeguard yourself against wire fraud, exercise caution when encountering unsolicited emails or phone calls requesting money. Before sending any funds, it is crucial to authenticate the wire transfer instructions with the legitimate seller or escrow company. Take the extra step to confirm the details through phone conversations or in-person meetings.

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5. Use a secure payment model

As real estate payments tend to involve a lot of money, the safest thing to do is to use a secure and well-known payment model, such as a wire transfer or a cashier’s check. When it comes to personal checks or cash, it is best to avoid these modes of payment as they can be easily forged or stolen. When unsure about the payment method, check with the entitled company if it checks out.

As scammers are getting smarter, we need to stay even smarter than them and ensure to save our hard-earned money by investing it in the right and safe way.