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Home > Blog > Real Estate Transaction > Be On The Lookout For These Real Estate Scams

Be On The Lookout For These Real Estate Scams


Scams are everywhere in life, and the good thing is that we have become pretty savvy about seeing them and avoiding them. We all know when an email or social media post seems to be a hoax. But one area where people simply still don’t have the knowledge about when they are and are not being duped, is with real estate and real estate scams.

Renting Unowned Property

One popular scam has to do with people supposedly renting out their property, but it’s actually property they do not own.

For example, they may post a picture of a property as an Airbnb or a rental property. You then pay that person to rent the property. The problem is that the person you paid never actually owned the property—it was just a random picture of any property that scammers put up. Now he or she has your money, and you have no rental or Airbnb.

Scams Related to Escrow

Escrow scams are also very popular. The good thing is that if you use a real estate attorney for your closing, you likely can avoid being a victim of this kind of scam.

You may get a call or be contacted by a party that says that an escrow deposit is needed for your closing to go forward. They may even pose as your bank, a homeowners association, or some other party that normally would be associated with a real estate closing.

And because there are often so many parties and entities related to a real estate closing, it seems plausible that any party could contract you and ask for money to be deposited into escrow.

But unless it is your real estate attorney or closing company asking for the money and they explain why escrow deposits are needed, be very careful about giving anyone money for an escrow deposit.

Transferring Ownership of Your Property

In the foreclosure crisis of the early 2000s, this was a popular scam, and it remains popular today. The “magic” of transferring the title of your home to someone else—or even into a trust–was and still is, sold by many scammers.

It is almost magical, because scammers will tell you that transferring your home into a trust can help you do or avoid almost anything. They will tell you that it will help you avoid foreclosure, having your home taken by creditors, having to pay property taxes, or any other number of perils.

This is all false, and transferring title to your home to anyone or into a trust, can have serious consequences. It could have the opposite effect-it could cause you to lose your home.

One caveat—in some cases, an estate planning attorney may advise the transfer of property for real estate planning purposes. So long as you are working with a qualified estate planning or real estate attorney, there are a small number of circumstances when the transfer of a home may have benefits.

Avoid real estate scams in your real estate closing. Contact the Tampa real estate lawyers at Gilbert Garcia Group, P.A. today.

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