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How to Spot a Real Estate Scam

March 30, 2015

Purchasing a new home is an exciting time, be sure to watch out for those deals that are too good to be true. 

While a lot of the property sector still deals with real estate agents, house viewings and so on, the internet has definitely changed the game quite a bit. This new online technology has not only made it easier to look for a house, but it has also made it easier to target buyers and renters online.

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According to property network Lamudi, here are the top five tips for online house-hunters to spot a real estate scam:

1. Always insist on inspecting the property: Never sign a contract or agree to any payments without inspecting the property first. The best way to ensure that both the property and the real estate agent you are working with are up to par is to take a look for yourself.

2. Verify the identity of the person you are dealing with: Make sure the real estate agent you are working with is a licensed agent. There is no harm in looking them or their company up online.

3. Avoid listings that have been posted multiple times: This is a common scam that fraudsters tend to do – copy an existing listing of a property for sale and edit it online to make it look like it is for rent. Make sure the listing is not posted multiple times with different asking prices. That is a big red flag.

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4. Never give away your personal information or documents: Your bank account details or personal identification documents are not needed when you first look at a property or before you have even gone through the research into properties with the agent. If you are working with them online, there is no reason to share any details with them until after a decision has been made.

5. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: Do not forget, some things really are too good to be true! Be that extra-careful person that looks at the property ten times, there is no shame in it. Make sure not to be distracted by the price that they are offering, but rather focus on the quality and little details that are probably hiding behind the attractive price.

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