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Tips to avoid fraudPerhaps the biggest mistake for someone to make is to think, “It could never happen to me.” In all levels of any Real Estate market, fraud and investment scams are plentiful. Knowing how to recognize a scam can require a degree of alertness and research, but is also as simple as exercising skepticism and common sense. Here are a few examples of common situations buyers and sellers can find them selves in.

Title Fraud – Although this is rare, it is one of the most devastating for Owen Sound Homes. This type of fraud starts with identity theft. The scammer will use fake documents to pose as the owner, registers forged documents transferring the property to themselves, then gets a new mortgage against the property. After securing the mortgage or line of credit, they take the cash and leave the owner to deal with the future payments. The best protection against this is “title insurance.” In addition to protecting against this fraud, it guards a new owner from existing liens against a property’s title, encroachment issues, and errors in public records.

Foreclosure/Home-Equity Fraud – Owen Sound Home owners in a cash crunch may find themselves the target of this scam as property owners or investors seeking funds can be quite vulnerable. This fraud happens when someone offering a loan to cover the expenses and consolidate loans, in exchange for upfront fees and an agreement to transfer the property title, approaches a homeowner. However, in reality the person will keep all payments and ignore bills and taxes then remortgage the property and flees with the money, leaving the former owner without the home, but still in debt. Homeowners in a money situation need to be scrupulous about who they get involved with.

Property Investment Seminars/Courses – Educating oneself about property investment can be essential for success, but should also be alert and do their research on the seminar provider. Legitimate speakers provide beneficial information; others exist solely to take money. A common seminar is designed to hook buyers into “sure-fire” investments promoted by the seminar host. The easiest way to avoid being caught in this trap is to be skeptical and do your research before committing any money.

Home Improvement – As well as big investments, property owners should be alert for smaller-level scams. These operators may come with unsolicited offers and deals too good to be true. Typical approaches include: offers to seal or repave a driveway, or a roofer who can work cheaply using leftover material from a previous job. These “contractors” will use high-pressure sales tactics to entice customers. Before hiring any contractor it is advisable to check references or ensure the company has a good reputation.