Scammers are more active than ever and the worst part about a scam is that we only realize it is a scam when it’s over and the damage’s being done. The real estate industry is no exception and real estate buying scams in Texas have made home sellers extremely cautious and worried.
House-buying scams can be of various kinds.
If you want to protect yourself, this article will help you with spotting a scammer and avoid all the pitfalls. You’ll also learn useful tips on how to find the best buyer for your home, verify communications, research the home buying process, keep the information confidential, and detect a false cash offer from potential scammers. Moreover, we’ll also tell you what to do if you fall prey to real estate scams in Texas.
So, before moving on to the different types of these shams, let’s first talk about identifying the real estate buying scams in Texas. There are certain signs that can help you detect and avoid them.
- Absence of legitimate references/Fake references which can’t be verified
- Unprofessional/Suspicious email service
- Suspicious phone number (instead of a formal introduction of the company, correspondent, etc. you get a reply in the form of a simple hi or hello).
- Ready to invest in your property without viewing or inspection
- Reluctance to employ an attorney or a third party for evaluation and examination of the documents and contracts
- Not easily accessible
- Unprofessional documentation/contract
- Lack of an accreditation or real estate license for a house-buying/real estate company
How To Avoid Getting Scammed?
Although scammers have their own way of making sure you don’t suspect them and they are pretty good at it, you can still avoid being scammed if you look out for signs and follow the steps listed below.
Know Your Buyer
This may seem a little difficult but once you start talking with a buyer, you must ensure they are who they are claiming to be.
Once you get their name, you can go online, check out their social media profile, and view their linked-in profile, on Facebook and Instagram. This is how you’ll know that they are legit. You can also dig a little to view what kinds of posts they have been engaging with. If there’s a fair amount of property-related content on their page, they are most likely legit.
On the other hand, if the account looks new with no friends, subs, or followers, chances are, they are one of those real estate scams in Texas.
The next step that can help you make sure you are not falling victim to fraud, you must verify the communication. The best way to do that is by calling the number in the email and making sure that the sender is the same person as the one you are calling.
If the person on the phone asks for sensitive information such as bank account details, transaction history, or any other financial information, it’s an indication that they are scammers. Never give out your personal data or bank details no matter how interesting and legit an offer sounds to you.
Moreover, always double-check email addresses for unusual or suspicious addresses. Most of the time, scamming email addresses have an extra number, a letter, or anything that doesn’t fit. You just have to look at it carefully and you’ll notice the discrepancies yourself.
Research The Process
The home-buying process can be different in many states. This is why if you want to steer clear of real estate buying scams in Texas, get proper information about the process and always choose legit resources.
Once you go through each and every step of the home-buying process, no one can manipulate you into doing things that are not part of the actual process. In fact, if you choose a reliable and licensed real estate broker or company, they’ll protect you and will ensure that everything gets according to the rules.
Keep Your Information Protected At All Times
Information safety is the most crucial aspect of the real estate business. To avoid any breach, use two-factor authentication for all your accounts, including emails and social media pages.
During the selling process, you may be asked to share sensitive information but you should never reveal anything. If the process actually involves sharing information, make sure you share it in the presence of an attorney or legal representative. Moreover, documents that contain details of ownership, property price, mortgage, loan terms, deposits, and closing dates, must be kept safe at all times. Make sure that scammers couldn’t access such vital information as it makes it easier for them to accomplish their target.
Different Types Of Scams
The Texas real estate market has some classic scams which you should be aware of and avoid. Let’s take a look at them to learn more.
Cash Offer On House
When you need to sell your home quickly in Texas, a cash offer with no mortgage is a tempting offer, one that you wouldn’t want to decline. However, not every cash offer is legit. In fact, one of the top ways scammers use to trick you is a cash offer.
In such a scenario, buyers ask the sellers to drastically reduce their asking price. Since they offer quick cash, most sellers agree to the proposal. In hindsight, this may seem a good deal but in reality, scammers use this method to buy your property at a fraction of its actual price. On the other hand, if you choose a legitimate company for selling your home, you’ll get a much better price and your house-selling process will also be safer and legal. Also, never hand over property ownership documents until you get all the payments.
Sometimes, scammers even use fake company names and websites to lure sellers into providing ownership before closing the deal. Such fraudsters have an organized way of deceiving you. They not only rent out your property without making any payments, but they also don’t take your name off of the mortgage, meaning you’ll still have to pay it even when your property’s being rented out by the scam company.
Wire transfer scams can occur even after everything seemingly goes well. You have done verification of communication; you’ve negotiated enough and the seller is apparently ready to buy. At the very last moment, you’ll receive an email with the same title, sending you information and instructions to make a wire transfer. Now, that’s where it gets tricky.
The transfer you’ll make will not be to the verified account but to an offshore account which you won’t be able to trace.
It’s best to stay cautious of these last-minute emails.
What To Do When You’re Scammed
Scammers are getting creative and although we have shared types of scams to avoid and signs that should alert you, we can’t say for sure that these are the only real estate scams in Texas.
So what can you do? well, you should always go with a credible real estate company with a proven track record and a license that proves their authenticity.
At NXT SQFT, we have been delivering assistance to our clients in the real estate market for years, whether you want to sell or buy a house, looking for mortgage and loan options, or require information on anything related to real estate in Texas, we are here for you. To learn more, get in touch with us.