How to Avoid a Scam When Selling Your Home
A common misconception of people who are selling their home is that they will never get scammed. The words “it could never happen to me” are uttered frequently. The public’s prevailing perception of a real estate scam is that they occur in seedy, unfiltered corners of the country and prey on only extremely gullible, naïve homeowners.
Unfortunately, real estate scams happen more often than the average homeowner might think. Outrageous real estate swindling continues to take place, primarily as a result of poor regulatory oversight. Some of the worst scams come from working with middlemen—brokers and/or real estate agents. But that doesn’t mean that it has to happen to you!
Even the verbiage of the real estate world is confusing. What is the difference between a broker and a simple real estate professional? What is the best approach to avoid being scammed when selling your home? One foolproof way is to cut out the middlemen altogether.
Below are other things you need to know to avoid the financial mess that results from being scammed:
Know Your Jargon
Familiarizing yourself with the terms and titles that can be used interchangeably within real estate is the first step to avoiding a scam. Take a few minutes to learn the titles of the representatives (i.e. the “middlemen”) that help homeowners when the time comes to sell your house.
Broker – In layman’s terms, a broker is someone who acts as an agent to bring two parties together for a transaction and earns a small fee from the transaction. In this case, the two parties are usually the buyer and the seller.
A broker generally has more education and experience than real estate agents since brokers must obtain an additional license. They can work independently or for another real estate broker. A broker often hires real estate agents or salespeople to represent them in real estate deals, but the broker’s name is on all transactions and they are responsible for their employees’ actions.
Real Estate Agent – A real estate agent is a licensed salesperson who negotiates and transacts the sale of real estate. Agents must work under a licensed broker.
REALTOR® – A realtor can be a broker, real estate agent, or real estate associate that is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). All realtors agree to comply with NAR’s professional standards and adhere to its code of ethics.
These real estate personnel are who you are most likely to encounter when selling your home. While many realtors are forthright in their practice, all too often, someone becomes victim to a middleman scam. The easiest way to avoid this type of scam is to work directly with a reputable and upstanding buyer. Below are some reasons why dealing directly with a professional real estate purchasing company will help you avoid a scam.
There are many misleading strategies and tactics that realtors may use to scam their clients. Each of these scammer tactics are just another reason why skipping the middlemen altogether is the best bet for ensuring a seamless home selling experience:
Real Estate Scammers Often Refuse to Answer Questions: Or they give vague responses to poignant questions. While laws vary from state to state, some brokers are legally required to disclose information to you regarding your house and the process of selling. Certain realtors will even purposely withhold paperwork—such as disclosure forms or fee agreements—at your first meeting, which may be illegal depending on the state.
Many Real Estate Scammers Rush You to Close the Sale: Many middlemen appear hasty to close the sale. A broker or agent who is set on a scam may even lie on the disclosure agreement about the current condition of the house, which could have serious repercussions on you as the seller. This fraudulent action could severely affect your credit and in turn, your ability to sell or purchase a home again. Avoid the financial catastrophe that may result from using an aggressive agent!
Real Estate Scammers Tend to Ask for Cash Payment: Dishonest realtors often insist on transactions being paid in cash. They’ll try to swindle first-time sellers by demanding that deposits and fees be paid up front and in cash. Scammers also often ask to meet at your home for the initial consultation instead of a legitimate office where they can accept formal payment and provide you with a receipt. Don’t get swindled out of your hard-earned money by paying cash to an untrustworthy realtor!
Real Estate Scammers May Not Even Have a License: Any supposed realtor can easily boast to have 15 years in real estate when they actually have an expired license and no legitimate real estate experience.
Cut Out the Middlemen and Choose a Company That You Can Trust!
Don’t get swindled by greedy scammers posing as real estate professionals! While some federal and state laws offer reimbursement to victims of a housing or broker scam, the overall losses are almost never repaid and the recovery process can be financially and emotionally devastating.
Avoid jeopardizing your financial security by working directly with the reputable professionals at Buy My House Now!
We are a local Arizona investment group buying homes with cash from homeowners. Because we are local group without layers of middle-men, we keep costs down and can pass savings onto the sellers. We pride ourselves on being open and honest, making the selling experience simple, and working quickly to gain estimates and close according to the seller's timeline.