Mar. 22, 2010

House Enhancements Real Estate Scams

This real estate scam related feature one will be concerned with home improvement scam and a particular example of one of its most common types.

You Have a Home with a Chimney

These chimney scams are very frequent. It might just happen that somewhere, somehow you see an advertisement regarding chimney cleaning, for a very acceptable price, of course. So you make an appointment and the sweeper comes out to look at your chimney, but "oh no" your chimney is ready to drop down and badly needs fixing or even replacing. But be wary. Before taking the word of this sweeper, make sure you search around for a second or even a third recommendation.

Quality usually comes at a higher price, but often this is the better option. We all like a good deal, but often not everything, is as it seems. If they do the chimney clean right, then you have been lucky and should be grateful you found a bargain. But as soon as they mention your chimney needs fixing, watch out and ask someone else before paying out for the repair. If a sweeper is advertising with money off coupons or even direct into your mailbox, often sets the radar off for future fiddles. If you ever had a trades-person employed around the corner and just happens to offer you a good price, there is often something very fishy going on. I feel that I'm repeating myself, but be wary.

Property Improvement Swindles That you May Come Across

Here are some general hints about things to watch out for:

-they are allegedly working in your neighbourhood and just happen to turn up at your door offering a good price.

-offering you a low price because they happen to have extra material left over from a job or they have a bulk order they don't want.

-as they are working in your house they can do this chore or that job all at a reduced price - you may end up having your whole home unnecessarily repaired.

-wants payment upfront before the repair is finished (Are they going to finish the job or complete it well?)

If a small voice in your head says be careful; listen to it! With these scams in your head and your own natural instincts you can't go far astray.

Written by Elli Davis' Realtor Toronto team.

What Is Rental Scam?

This is my last article about real estate fraud for now. Its main topic is rental scam. Have you ever heard about that before? I really think you have. But even if you haven't, the name is pretty telling itself.

You might simply be lied to a lose money to rental scammers. Want to know how to be careful? Here I am offering you some tips how to recognize a rental scammer.

Most importantly, if the price is a really low for a specific location, watch out. If something is too good to be true then it usually is not. In case you really have no clue about the approximate prices, search for the common prices in the area. Internet should help you. Browse the web a little.

Internet can actually help you in quite a few ways. Remember how did you discover the rental possibility? Online? If so, just try and copy the text of the advert to a search box and you will see whether there are many almost same ones. Name, some contact info or pictures of the home can be changed, for example. If there are, then it is even more likely you have found a rental scammer.

You should also be careful with the style of the offer - sometimes even the wording can tell a lot. A text just somehow quickly put together makes rental scam more likely. Another thing is the contact info. If the person does not leave their phone number, it is not a good sign. Of course, it does not necessarily have to mean anything, it just seems safer with a number there. Another bad thing is if the tenant says their are a reverend or something similar to look more credible.

Still, if you decide to contact the person even after some of these signs, be careful if they seem to too eager. Beware of their words that they have little time, etc. And if you have questions, always wait for a reply. The tenant should answer all your questions, if they hesitate, that is another bad sign. You should not just say yes to a thing in case you still have questions and doubts. If you do, you are making it very easy for the scammers to cheat on you.

Mar. 14, 2010

Real Estate Fraud: Loan Servicing

Loan Servicing Fraud is the main theme of my next article from the real estate fraud series! Do you want to know what it is, how to spot it and what to do to protect yourself? If yes, continue reading.

Loan Servicing Fraud only occurs when you obtain a loan from someone who is dishonest and has questionable practices. Subprime lending is very often connected to this kind of fraud. Naturally, unexperienced, first time lenders are threatened the most.

Simply said , after signing all the documents (thus almost unable to change the situation), the borrowers might find out that they need to pay higher monthly payments than they originally agreed on. The unexpected fees in the monthly payments are for, for example, insurance or some legal operations etc. Another instance is that a person applying for a mortgage loan is offered some, very good, interest rate they are happy about. After having all the needed papers organized and ready, or maybe after doing something around the wanted home, some lenders might just make the borrowers accept higher, less convenient rates than they applied for in the beginning. As the borrower is under pressure, they many times agree, since they are worried they might lose the loan.

Thus you all need to be very careful with your lender. The best is to have one, whom someone you know already has (positive) experience with. Such lenders therefore already passed the test of people the opinion of whom is important for you. In case there is no such lender, you ought to look out for out the one you have found and examine them. Internet is your friend in such cases - you can find some references about your lender, try it. If many people complain about them, just get a new one as soon as possible. A good, honest lender should provide you with documents clearly declaring the amount of the loan together with all the additional fees you may have to pay in the future.

All the payments should be included in the documents right in the beginning, so go through all of them carefully. Question? If you have some, ask your loan officer - do not be afraid and keep asking until you understand everything well. When you think the situation is clear enough, check out the papers you got once more, just to ensure all the info is correct. If it is, it is perfectly fine and safe to sign everything.