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Avoid Common Real Estate Scams

House with sold sign

Be aware that there are scammers out there who target real estate transactions. There are many reasons to use a Realtor® to represent you. Notably, a good real estate agent can help you avoid falling victim to scams that occasionally occur in the real estate industry.

Wire Fraud

One of the most damaging scams 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 is 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, you will need to 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 exchange this information. With a little diligence, you can avoid becoming a victim of wire fraud. Many closing companies are being proactive and implementing safeguards.

Recorded Deed 

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 courthouse yourself and pay for a copy of your recorded deed for far less than these companies are charging. You can expect to receive your recorded deed within 10-12 weeks of closing. If you do not receive it, contact the company that closed your home and they will be able to provide you with a copy.

 Rental Scams 

Scammers are stealing photos and information on properties for sale and advertising them as rental properties. When a potential renter contacts the scammer, they will create urgency and request an upfront fee to secure the renter’s chance to rent the property. The home is actually 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 walkthrough. 

We never want to see our clients fall prey to someone with nefarious intentions. If something doesn’t sound right, ask your real estate professional for their opinion before moving forward.

The SAYHAY Team can help you avoid scams and protect your financial assets. Contact us at 412-755-3600 for a free consultation to discover how we can work together.

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