Unfortunately, real estate fraud continues to prevail in the United States with scam artists using new ways to rob homebuyers and sellers of their property and money. People planning to or engaged in a real estate deal must be careful, and make sure that all parties involved are legit to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Real estate scams are generally subtle and it is difficult for an inexperienced person to spot whether they are being scammed or not. Involving an experienced real estate attorney is always a good idea to protect yourself from such scams.
Common Types of Real Estate Scams
Real estate scams can be perpetrated by businesses, investors, individuals, and real estate agents. Some of the most common types you may encounter when buying or selling real estate include:
- Foreclosure Fraud: Homeowners going through a foreclosure have limited options at their disposal and are targeted by scam artists that take advantage of their desperate situation. Some examples of foreclosure fraud include title fraud and leasebacks, equity stripping, and fees for renegotiating, among others.
- Mortgage Fraud: This type of scam involves different forms of documentation fraud, overvalued appraisals, fake companies offering financial relief programs to homeowners, and several types of loan related frauds.
- Identity Theft: Homeowners, especially those behind in their mortgage payments or facing foreclosure, are called by scammers pretending to be your bank or refinancing companies to obtain your banking, credit card, or any other financial and personal information for identity theft purposes.
- Misrepresentation: Some people are scammed by brokers, real estate agents, and others posing to be real estate professionals. However, they do not have any credentials to provide a deal with real estate transactions.
- Others: They may include title fraud, real estate broker fraud, property flipping fraud, real estate escrow fraud, land fraud, and predatory lending.
How a Real Estate Attorney Can Help You Avoid Scams
There are several signs and factors that can make a real estate buyer or seller suspicious, such as misleading or missing details, unethical activities or “shortcuts”, facts not aligning with the information given by a party involved in the transaction, and others. Personal information of others may be used in a real estate deal where you or the agent may not be aware of the other party using fake or stolen financials and other information.
If you are relying on just your real estate agent to take care of the entire process, there is a chance they may miss or fail to observe subtle signs of fraud. But when you work with an experienced real estate attorney, they ensure that paperwork is filled out in the right way and everything is legitimate before closing a deal. Legal representatives can determine when there is something not right in the works. An attorney may follow a paper trail that may having missing or fabricated details or uncover data that do not coincide with a particular party involved in the process.
Buying or selling real estate is a critical decision, and can have a huge impact on your personal and financial wellbeing. It is best that you work with an experienced real estate attorney to protect yourself from becoming a victim of a real estate scam. Contact Casement Group, P.C. today at (847) 888-9300 for a free consultation with an experienced and reliable real estate attorney.