Sometimes, the sign that you’re being swindled is easy to read: High pressure tactics; evasive answers; a conspicuous prison tattoo. Yet far too often, you don’t know what hit you until you’re flat on your back and gasping for air. It’s never a good feeling, but when it’s a high stakes scam involving the MLS, victims may never catch their breath.
Sure, you think it will never happen to you. But then you probably never thought you’d drive a mini van, and look how that turned out. Whether you’re a seasoned buyer or a newbie to the MLS, consumers be warned: Whether or not they involve the MLS, scammers are out there, so learn to spot them before they spot you.
Watch Out for the Fraud Squad
When you’re short on funds for mortgage payments or other obligations, some people are long on ideas for bilking you through the MLS. This is no exception, as evidenced by the prevalence of foreclosure fraud.
In this type of fraud, a criminal offers to lend you money for covering expenses and consolidating loans. You’re required to pay upfront fees and transfer the property title acquired through the MLS. It does have legitimate consolidation programs available, but this isn’t one of them.
Ignoring bills and taxes, the thief keeps the payments, remortgages the property and heads for warmer climates, where he and your money live happily ever after and give no further thought to you or the MLS. Victims, meanwhile, are left out in the cold, finding themselves still in debt but minus their home.
Those Who Can, Do; Those Who Can’t…
With many areas of the business world, the more you learn, the more you earn, and this holds true for various aspects of real estate such as the MLS. A home to a plethora of property investment seminars each year and many of them are legitimate.
Unfortunately, others are less scrupulous, like the ones promoting “guaranteed” investments that were somehow missed by the MLS. Attendees may be pressured into borrowing large amounts of money or other high risk tactics to take advantage of this “can’t miss” opportunity.
In some instances, the seminar leader may actually berate those who don’t participate as showing a lack of commitment. Truth be told, it’s the leader who should be committed… to a tiny cell with a snarly roommate.
Of course, genuine experts do exist who can offer insights on real estate-related topics like the MLS, investment strategies and a host of others. You simply need to do your research and look before you leap, just as you would when perusing the MLS. Residents might want to think of it this way: If you could really tap into “guaranteed” investments, wouldn’t you spend more time finding them and less time talking about them?
Improve your Home, not their Bank Balance
For many, “home” and “improvement” go together like real estate and the MLS. Homeowners love to touch up their properties and keep them pristine, and fraudulent “contractors” love to take advantage of this. To protect against them, don’t spend a dime until you check out their references and get everything in writing. Like the MLS, in a place full of honest people, but it only takes one to empty your bank account and give you nothing in return.