There is no doubt that the current environment has encouraged fraudsters and con artists into the worldwide real estate market and, for a number of reasons, it seems that many of these scams have been successful. There are many ways in which you can spot a property scam and we will now look at ways to protect your investment.
Before we start looking at individual aspects of property scams of years gone by, the simple fact is that if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
Check legal paperwork
When you read the suggestion “check legal paperwork” you would probably think this is straightforward and something which everybody does when looking to invest in property. Unfortunately this is not always the case and over the last few years we have seen those looking to invest in overseas markets caught up in scams and frauds which have been extremely expensive for many people. Over the last few weeks we have seen a number of court cases involving property scams which perfectly illustrate the situation.
Quote from PropertyForum.com : “Over the last few weeks we have seen rumours and speculation regarding property scams around the world and indeed a number of high-profile court cases have come to fruition. This very difficult environment for worldwide real estate has in some ways encouraged unscrupulous con artists to try their hand and unfortunately some people appear to have been taken in.”
The simple fact is that you need to check all of the legal paperwork and to do this you need the assistance of outside experts. If you’re buying property overseas it is vital that you appoint a reputable and well-known company to act on your behalf. Cutting corners is easy, but saving a few dollars here and there could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars further down the line!
Know who you are dealing with
Simple? It is a reflection of the challenging and difficult world we live in that you must do background research on any third parties or individuals you are dealing with. Whether these checks are done via experts working on your behalf, or via official channels, this is something you must consider – you need to know who you are dealing with. If you look at the vast array of “successful” scams of recent years they often involve third parties who had fake websites, fake addresses and in many cases fake identities.
If there are any issues with regards to a potential property transaction and the parties involved then you seriously need to think about pulling out of the deal. There may be times when you pull out of an attractive transaction which turns out to be valid and above board, but there will also be times when you pull out of transactions which could potentially cost you your savings and your livelihood.
Do not cut corners
In this day and age, with the Internet showing you every step of a property transaction and how you can “do it yourself”, it is very tempting to look at cutting costs by doing your own paperwork. If you have experience in this particular area then it may work for you but, for the vast majority of people, attempting to cut corners can lead to significant losses further down the line. Whether we like it or lot, third parties such as estate agents, solicitors and other experts are part of the traditional property purchase/sale chain and while they can be expensive it is potentially more expensive to ignore their skills.
If you look at the “successful” property scams you will see that many of these involve individuals who have attempted to cut corners, chased deals which were too good to be true and in many ways lost a sense of balance. Take your time, check and double check the details of any deal and protect your assets!