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Real Estate Law

Feb 9, 2023

Common real estate scams and how to avoid them

4 minute read

Real estate scams can cause significant financial losses and emotional distress for those who fall victim to them. As real estate transactions involve large sums of money and complex legal processes, it can be challenging for people to navigate the system and protect themselves from fraudulent activities. This is where real estate lawyers come in. In this blog post, we will explore how a real estate lawyer can help clients avoid common real estate scams and protect their investments. From identifying warning signs to performing due diligence, real estate lawyers can provide crucial assistance to ensure a smooth and secure real estate transaction.

Some of the most common real estate scams

Rental scams  

These scams involve advertising a property for rent that does not actually exist, or that is already occupied by someone else. Scammers may ask for a deposit or other upfront payment, and then disappear without providing the promised rental property. To avoid rental scams, it is important to verify the legitimacy of the property and the landlord before agreeing to anything.

Identity theft scams

These scams involve a thief impersonating a legitimate home-owner to either sell or mortgage the property. Title theft scams are becoming increasingly common and are something that homeowners should be constantly aware of.

Some sophisticated thieves will provide counterfeit identification documents to lawyers they have asked to act for them. A careful lawyer will not be fooled. Doormat lawyers use a combination of identity verification software and their own review of documents to determine the authenticity of identification documents.

Investment scams

These scams involve offering fake investment opportunities in real estate properties that do not exist or that are not worth the price being advertised. Scammers may use fake documents, unrealistic returns, and other tactics to lure investors into giving them money. To avoid investment scams, it is important to thoroughly research any investment opportunity and to be wary of promises of high returns with little or no risk.

Phishing scams

These scams involve sending fake emails or other communications that appear to be from a legitimate real estate company or individual. The messages may contain links to fake websites that ask for personal information, such as login credentials or credit card numbers. To avoid phishing scams, it is important to be cautious about giving out personal information and to verify the legitimacy of any email or communication before responding.

Foreclosure scams

These scams target homeowners who are facing foreclosure, offering fake solutions that promise to save their homes or reduce their mortgage payments. In reality, the solutions offered by scammers are often illegal or fraudulent, and may end up costing the homeowner even more money. To avoid foreclosure scams, it is important to seek advice from a trusted source, such as a non-profit housing counseling agency, before making any decisions.

You should be aware of red flags common to most of these scams, such as high-pressure sales tactics, requests for upfront fees or wire transfers, and deals that seem too good to be true. It's important to work with licensed and reputable real estate professionals like the ones who work with Doormat, and to read and understand all contracts and agreements before signing.

How can Doormat help?

We help our clients by providing legal advice and guidance on the purchase or sale of real estate. We help you understand the legal implications of a real estate transaction and identify potential risks and pitfalls. We also review contracts, titles, and other legal documents related to the transaction to ensure that they are legitimate and protect your interests. Check out our blog for why you should consider Doormat for your next property closing.

The best way to get ahead of any scam related to a property transaction is to have a good lawyer represent your interests. If you are buying or selling a property, please contact us to help you close on it!