Real estate scams are an unfortunate part of purchasing and owning a home that borrowers need to be aware of and avoid. Many of these scams sound and look legitimate but are in fact designed to take advantage of borrowers. Doing your homework and educating yourself about different real estate scams will go a long way in protecting yourself and your family.

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Here are four real estate scams to avoid before, during, and after you purchase your home.

Wire Fraud

real estate scamsWhen you begin the process of purchasing a home, you will receive several documents from your realtor about the dangers of wire fraud. Hackers get your title information and send you a request for money that looks legitimate. If you send them money, you find yourself out of not only money but your home.

Only wire money after you have read all of the fine print and followed directions in the forms your title company gave you.

Foreclosure Relief

With foreclosure relief scams, scammers calling themselves investors promise homeowners in danger of foreclosure to pay off the debt. The owner simply has to transfer the deed to their home to the “investor” and then they are allowed to “rent back” their home. When the home is closed on, the former homeowner is then evicted while the scammer pockets the money.

Home Security Scams

Have you moved into your home and get a knock on your door from a home security company agent claiming that they are there to install your “free” security system? They may say that your real estate agent should have told you someone was stopping by during closing or that their company bought out your current security company.

This scam is used to get you to pay more for a system that you do not need and often, does not work.

Do not let anyone into your home and do not sign any documents!

Invisible Homes

Always tour a home before you purchase! The invisible home scam occurs when a home or apartment comes on the market for a steal. The catch is that the property does not exist. Your “agent” may claim that the property is not officially on the market and will only show you the property via pictures or a drive by. When you purchase the property, you find that the place never existed.

Carefully research your agent, mortgage company, and the property you are interested in.

Immediately Report Scams & Frauds

If you suspect that you are a victim of fraud, immediately report it to your local and state authorities. You can file a complaint to the:

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.