For those looking to buy a new home in Illinois, price is nearly always a top consideration. Unfortunately, the desire to find a nice but affordable home can leave buyers vulnerable to real estate scams.
Some scams have plagued property buyers for at least a century, such as the old Florida swampland schemes. Now, digital technology has made it even easier for scammers to trick buyers into purchasing a home they will never enjoy.
Seller impersonation scams
In recent years, seller impersonation schemes have begun to spread across the country. Nefarious people or groups find a property without mortgages or liens and pose as its owner who needs to sell the home quickly.
They generally target real estate agents or brokers who pass the listing on to home buyers. If the scammers succeed, the buyer loses all the money they put toward the purchase.
If your agent tells you about a dream property on sale for cheap, you and the agent should look for these signs of a seller impersonation scam.
- The seller priced the home substantially lower than market trends
- The seller can never meet in person
- The seller does not produce identification or requested information
- The seller demands to use their own agent
- The seller wants to close the property immediately
- The seller insists on a notary they selected
If the property seller is willing to take even less than the already low purchase price, it is another indicator of possible real estate fraud.
In many cases, an extra layer of legal protection can save you from financial disaster. For example, a knowledgeable representative can help you vet the property and its seller before you shell out any money.