Real estate scams can be financially devastating for California buyers and sellers. These scams often involve fraudulent activity, misrepresentation and deception.
Scammers often target homeowners who are facing foreclosure by offering to help them avoid the foreclosure process. They may promise to negotiate with the bank or offer a loan modification, but instead, they take the homeowner’s money and disappear.
Rental scams occur when scammers post fake rental listings online or in classified ads, often at a lower price than the market rate. They may ask for a security deposit or rent payment upfront, but the scammer disappears once the payment is made, leaving the victim with no rental property.
Title fraud occurs when a scammer steals the title to a property and then sells it to an unsuspecting buyer. The buyer may not realize that the seller did not actually own the property until it is too late.
Equity skimming is a type of real estate scam where a scammer offers to take over the mortgage payments on a property in exchange for the deed. The scammer then rents out the property and keeps the rental income, while the original owner still has to make mortgage payments.
Bait-and-switch scams occur when a real estate agent shows a property to a buyer but then tries to pressure them into purchasing a different, more expensive property. The agent may also misrepresent the features or condition of the property to make it seem more desirable.
Flipping scams occur when a scammer buys a property at a low price and then quickly sells it for a much higher price, often without making any improvements to the property. The scammer may misrepresent the property’s value or condition to the buyer.
Avoiding costly real estate scams
Real estate scams are a serious problem that can cause significant harm to victims. Buyers and sellers must be aware of the common real estate scams and take steps to protect themselves, such as working with a reputable real estate agent, verifying ownership and title information and thoroughly researching potential rental properties.