Why do you need a real estate professional to guide you through the process of buying or selling a home? There are many reasons to use a Realtor® to represent you. We would like to discuss how a good real estate agent can help you avoid falling victim to scams that occasionally occur in the real estate industry.
One of the newest scams to hit the area is wire fraud. Perpetrators are hacking into email information from people who are buying or selling homes and intercepting wire transfers. Buyers frequently wire the cash required to close on their new homes to the closing company. The perpetrators are sending the buyer an email changing the wiring instructions. The unsuspecting buyer will then wire the money to the wrong party. Recovering this money is difficult, if not impossible. This is also happening to sellers without their knowledge. The perpetrator is emailing the closing company with a change in wiring instructions using an email close to yours. Again, the wire is sent to the wrong account and often difficult to recover. We recommend that our buyers and sellers never email wiring instructions. If you are a buyer who needs to wire money to the closing company, we will have you call the closing company directly to obtain this information. Also, do not send a wire without calling the recipient to verify you are sending it to the right account. We also recommend sellers call the closing company with their information and not use email to provide this information. With a little diligence, you can avoid being victim to wire fraud. Many closing companies are being proactive and implementing safeguards.
There are companies that will contact a buyer after they close on their home offering to provide them with a copy of the recorded deed on their new home for a fee. You will receive a copy of your deed after it has been recorded by the company that performed your closing at no additional charge to you. You could go to the court house and pay for a copy of your recorded deed for far less than these companies are charging you. If you do not receive your recorded deed within 8 weeks of closing, contact the company that closed your home and they will get that to you.
Scammers are taking photos from real estate websites and posting them as rental properties on Craigslist or Social Media sites. When a potential renter contacts the scammer, they will create urgency and request an upfront fee to secure the renters chance to rent the property. In reality the home is not for rent and the renter has lost their money to the scammer. Many real estate agents in our area have been contacted by potential renters telling them they saw a home they have listed for sale as a rental. By the time the agent is notified and researches the ad, the scammer has deleted the posting. They are hard to track down. Do not send anyone money for a property you have not had the opportunity to physically walk through.
We never want to see our clients fall prey to someone with nefarious intent. If something doesn’t sound right, ask your real estate professional for their opinion before moving forward.