Am I Getting Scammed? Protecting Yourself From Real Estate Fraud

Are you looking to buy or rent a home? Many people consider themselves to be savvy shoppers, but there are a lot of pitfalls you might not have considered. One thing you need to watch out for is scammers. In this industry, it pays to triple check everything and everyone.

Here’s how to confidently navigate the real estate arena:

When it comes to buying or renting a home, it’s often your best bet to work with a well known, respectable real estate office. But if you’ve found that perfect house and you’re not quite sure if the person you’re dealing with is legit, then your second best bet is to ask for their agent’s license. Unless they own the home outright, it’s not theirs to rent out without a license. Check their license, and it’s also critical to go online and give them a background check. Any realtor should have a Linkedin profile at the very least. If they don’t have a tangible record, then be cautious in your dealings with them.

Avoid wire transfers. There should be no need for wire transfers when it comes to renting. If you’re really in love with a certain place, or you think you’re getting a steal on rent, your judgement might be clouded. It’s important to think ahead. Scammers prey on the hopes of their victims; they know that people want the scam to be true. A common lie from a scammer is that they have moved cities, and they need to rent out the apartment they left behind. They tell the victim to wire them the money and pick up the keys at another location. Don’t fall for this; always be sure of the identity of the person you’re working with and never give a landlord or agent funds without signing a contract.

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