Making a real estate transaction is one of the biggest financial decisions that most people will ever make. Unfortunately, the sheer amount of money involved in these transactions makes them incredibly appealing to the dishonest, who will happily try to trick you out of your money or property, if they can. Beware these five signs that someone you are looking to buy from, or sell to, may be attempting to commit real estate fraud:

  1. They try to get you to put down money as soon as possible
    • When people are being dishonest, they will typically try to get you to part with your money as quickly as possible. They may demand a “down payment” up front before you have even negotiated a contract, or ask for compensation for imaginary fees. In many cases, these people do not actually have anything for sale, and will become impossible to contact as soon as they have received your money.
  2. They try to make you act as quickly as possible
    • For the dishonest, time is of the essence, because they know the longer a transaction takes, the more likely it is that someone will realize something is amiss. That is why they try to rush the transaction as quickly as possible, often emphasizing a “limited time offer” or other deal that will not last long. While people being in a rush to buy or sell a home is not a sure sign of real estate fraud, it is definitely something you should be wary of.
  3. They refuse to provide basic paperwork
    • Real estate deals involve a lot of paperwork, including (but not limited to): real property deeds, financial documents, survey information, and documents on any known easements or covenants. Dishonest people, for obvious reasons, often lack many of these critical documents, or will be hesitant to show them for fear of being caught in the act. If someone you are trying to negotiate with refuses to show necessary paperwork, you may be dealing with a case of real estate fraud.
  4. They make lots of promises (but rarely in writing)
    • Some people think that dishonest dealers will hate to make promises to potential victims, but that is far from how it works in reality. Instead, they will love to make promises to their victims, which can help soothe their worries if they are beginning to catch onto the ruse. However, they will be careful never to write these promises down, for fear of having anything enforced against them. If someone else in a real estate transaction is making lots of guarantees but refusing to write them down, you may be dealing with real estate fraud.
  5. They tell you not to speak to a lawyer
    • It should not be surprising that the dishonest have no love for lawyers. They know that lawyers tend to be much more educated about how real estate transactions are supposed to go, and are more likely to realize that something is wrong. That is why, if a buyer or seller tells you not to speak to a lawyer, you should be immediately suspicious that they may be trying to trick you.

    At David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC, we assist clients throughout New York who are looking to buy or sell real estate. We will guide you through the process and help you minimize your legal and financial risks. Call us at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule your Free consultation at our Setauket office.  

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