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Real Estate Scams to Avoid

We all like to think that we’re attentive enough to identify a scam before we fall victim, but as technology evolves, thieves are finding it easier to click, copy, and forge their way into our bank accounts. Real estate scams are no exception, and each year bring about a new crop of interesting and down-right debilitating scams that can trick even the savviest of shoppers.

Below are examples of real estate scams to familiarize yourself with so that you know the signs:

 

A Hacked Closing

You’re preparing for your closing when you receive an email from your real estate agent with a link and instructions on how to wire transfer your down payment. But guess what? Your agent’s email was hacked and you’ve now transferred your down payment to a criminal, who knew exactly when your closing was scheduled.

Protect Yourself By Paying In-Person:  And trust that your real estate agent isn’t going to throw you a surprise curve ball that suddenly involves changing how money will be transferred.

 

Fake Landlords

This is when a scammer poses as a landlord, creates a fake lease, and advertises the property as a rental. They receive the first and last month’s rent from the victim (usually through wire transfer) and then vanish once the money has been received.

Protect Yourself by Doing Research. Search the address online and see if there is an MLS listing and an agent attached.

 

Moving Scams

Imagine paying a moving company a few thousand dollars to transport all of your belongings only to have them demand twice the amount before they unload it. Moving company scams are extremely common, and it’s becoming easier to get duped.

Protect Yourself by Getting Multiple Estimates: This will help you determine if the prices that you have been quoted are similar. Ask to sign the receipt before your belongings are loaded onto their vehicles, and purchase insurance just to be on the safe side.

The Home Buying Process Step-By-Step

Are you ready to buy your first home, but not quite sure how the process works? Below is a simple step-by-step guide that outlines each step along the way.

Research

Looking at available listings can be one of the more exciting steps of the real estate buying process. It’s fun to imagine what your life will be like in a new neighborhood, or envisioning what Christmas morning will be like in your new home. While you’re gushing over master bedrooms and walk-in closets, also make note of how the location effects your current routine (work/school commute, etc.)

 

Get Pre-Approved

Getting pre-approved helps you determine how much house you can afford. Have an honest conversation with your partner (and/or yourself!) about how much house you need and what your plans are in the future. For example, if you’re currently a dual-income family, but plan on becoming a single-income family in the future (perhaps due to having a child, or acting as a caregiver for a parent), then you should account for that before you buy your home.

 

Hire a Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents will help you navigate this process better than any blog or YouTube video. They’ve successfully conquered each step of this equation numerous times over. Use their experience to your advantage.

 

Take Notes

Chances are, you’re going to see a lot of houses…some of which may have very similar features. Take notes, photos, and videos of the houses that you visit so when you’re making clear decisions regarding what you like and dislike.

 

Get a Home Inspection

Your agent will help you arrange to have an inspection conducted soon after you’ve placed an offer on the home. Once the inspection has been completed, you may find that the home has some structure damage or needs minor repairs. You can then decide whether or not to ask the seller to fix those items, or negotiate the price. You can also withdraw your offer if no agreement can be made.

 

Paperwork

There’re quite a few forms that require attention when it comes to buying a home, so prepare to spend some time with your lender, your real estate agent, and your title company.

 

Closing

The last step to owning your new home is the closing process. This is where you will sign all of the paperwork to complete the purchase, including your loan documents. As soon as your loan is funded to the seller, you are now the owner of a new home.

 

Source: Discover.com, 10 Steps to Buying a Home

How to Make Moving Easier

Now that you’ve closed on your new home, the time has come to pack up your belongings. But as you look around, you notice that you have substantially more items than you did when you first moved in. Blame it on the addition of your little one or the Target that opened up a mile from your subdivision, but you are now face-to-face with rooms full of items that cannot stay.

 

Below are some packing tips that will help your move go as easily as possible:

 

Downsize

If you’re moving a box that hasn’t been opened or touched since the last time you moved, then don’t take it with you. Instead, see what can be donated and/or throw the items away.

 

Don’t Wait Around

Waiting until the last minute will cause you to be rushed, which increases your chances of throwing things in garbage bags and cramming them into your trunk.

 

Hire a Moving Company

If your budget allows, hire professionals to move your furniture and belongings. However, personally transport your heirlooms, jewelry, medication, and important documents.

 

Pack Each Room Separately

This helps with unpacking as well. If you hire movers, they know where to unload the boxes. And you don’t have to empty out a box full of silverware to find your hand towels.

 

Have Supplies Handy

Get plenty of moving boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and packaging tape.