Real Estate Scams-Con Artists

Even though you don’t see it on the news every time it happens; there never appears to be an end to the crooks and con artist that target innocent people. The last thing a home seller wants to hear is that a crook might try to buy it. Sellers don’t want to consider it might happen to them, but it happens more frequently than we would like to admit. Sometimes people consider their actions are beyond the law and write fake offers, they don’t realize they are crooks while doing this. It’s wrong and crooked on so many levels when these types of people just want to write as many offers as possible so that later they can decide which ones they want to cancel and which ones they really want to buy.
There are a few things you can look for to help determine if an offer is a true or fake one. The first red flag of a fake offer is it might seem too good to be true. Usually this is the case but not always because some of those offers are real, especially in hot real estate markets. You should always ask questions and verify the terms in any offer. Another thing to look for is whether the offer itself was created in the same font and style. Look at the street address and sales price; are they handwritten or appear in a Times font when the name of the buyer and the agent’s names are in Helvetica. If something doesn’t right, then it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts. Next, is determining if the earnest money is fake or not. If the earnest money deposit seems to be unusually large you need to verify it. One way to verify the legitimacy of a check is to call the bank and ask if a check drawn on that amount will clear the account. It might not. The pre-approval letter should be dated within the past 30 days; if it is older than that, it may be fake.
Even after you have checked every supporting financial statement and the money has been deposited into escrow, the buyer can still vanish at/or before closing, and there is little that can be done to protect yourself. I suggest that if you are concerned that there could be something fishy going on, you might want to consider keeping your home on the market until you are assured it will close.

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