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Selling your House and Avoiding Scams

Avoid being scammed or taken advantage of by the con men giving hardworking investors a bad name.  It is important to be informed about decisions, especially large decisions concerning a house or home.

 

There are many scams out there today, and thanks to a media determined to keep homeowners and potential home buyers informed, there are some obvious red flags most people know to look for.  Americans are becoming smarter and more cautious with decisions and the scammers are needing to work harder to try to manipulate innocent people.  Most Americans help screen elderly family member’s mail and phone calls to avoid possible victimization by thieves.

 Be informed.

It’s important to do your own research.  Start with websites like the Better Business Bureau, or utilize a local Consumer Protection Agency or Unit.  Better Business Bureau lists reputable, proven companies and will also list complaints against companies.  On the flip side, a Consumer Protection Agency will often have a list of companies who are proven scams and information on what scams are prevelant in your area.  Both of these, as well as the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) website are places you can also reach out to if you do fall victim to a scam so as to protect others.  Google Plus also requires verification of a local business, so you can look and see if they have ratings or reviews there as well.

 Avoid scams

A current popular scam involves renting vacant houses.  There are several different ways a thief will approach this, so if you own a property in another state either from a relocation or loss in the family, it’s important to be aware of these.  Whenever possible, work with a reputable company when renting out your house or consider selling to an investor, who can help you avoid the hassles of using a real estate agent.  If you know you will be unable to oversee your property it may be in everyone’s benefit to sell to lower your risk involved.  Only you can make that decision.

 Can I sell to an investor or company?

It is possible to sell your house quickly or even receive a cash offer from an investor, so it’s important to know how to spot a reputable company.  A genuine investment company is often local or at least holds local offices.  The company should at least be located in the country you live in, as many scammers use out of counry accounts that cannot be tracked.  A local company often has someone who can meet you in person as well as being familiar with the neighborhoods and market.

A true offer to buy your house will be similar to one received from a party through a real estate agent, and a good company will allow and encourage you to have a lawyer read any contracts.  A company who is not trying to take advantage or steal from you will not ask for private information up front or any type of fees or payment immediately.

When asked to pay any type of fees (though many legitimate companies will cover these in their own costs) always pay in a way that can be tracked.  Use a PayPal account or credit card, as these can be much more easily tracked and disputed so scammers will avoid these and ask you to wire money or bring cash.

Not every person has the time to stage, show and sell their own home even with the help of a realtor.  Especially when time is of the essence, an investor’s offer is just that- an offer to consider.  Only you know how valuable your time is and how the cost of staging, real estate agent fees and commissions, and closing costs balance against the convenience of selling your home quickly.  Selling to a company or investor can often yield as much money as selling your home traditionally without the hassle and headaches.

There are companies out there who can legitimately purchase your house when you need to sell quickly.  Use a search engine such as Google or Bing, and compare your results with businesses listed on local websites or through the Better Business Bureau.

Helpful Links:

http://www.bbb.org/council/

http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts

http://www.forbes.com/sites/morganbrennan/2013/07/16/3-insidious-real-estate-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/2/

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