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Be Aware of Common Florida Real Estate Scams

Property owners and buyers need to be aware of common Florida real estate scams and the tricks used to lure and take advantage of people in the worst financial times. Real estate scams are rampant in Florida in the best of economic times.

Criminals work hard to appear professional and will falsify paperwork, request confidential information and lie to get what they want to complete cons. 

Protect Yourself and Be Aware of Common Florida Real Estate Scams

Florida homeowners are being solicited by mail by phony yet official sounding companies with names like, National Deed Recording Service, State Property Transfer Services, Record Transfer Services asking that homeowners order and pay a document fee for a Warranty Deed. 

There are addresses, 800-numbers and e-mail addresses available for people to call which leave recorded messages, automated messages, but non-human or immediate answers. 

The paperwork looks official, the quality of paper contains a water mark and even a pressed stamp to make it appear real. 

However the request and fee are fake and this formal-looking letter that resembles a government bill using officious names are not real. Only a new, inexperienced homeowner unfamiliar with process and procedure would likely fall for the scam. But because the fee is under $100 a homeowner feels compelled to pay and write the check or money order out to the company. 

Rental Property Scams Without the Property 

With the massive need for rental property and the ease of use of online listings criminals watching foreclosed and vacant properties are listing and renting homes to unknowing renters. 

The criminals go so far as to have locksmiths change locks to get into the homes. Clean the homes up, provide rental listings on Craigslist, show the homes, take the rental deposits and first month’s rent and then disappear. 

The renters don’t know until bank notices, sheriff’s or new homeowners come in to burst their bubbles. 

To prevent the scam from being run on a renter, before placing any money down on the property run a simple check with the city on the owner’s information on any property that is being considered for rent. 

A hint that something may be wrong occurs when the rental application along with an interview without a credit check is approval enough. The fake homeowner approves a renter on the spot because he or she trusts you.

A similar fraud that occurs regularly is one where a homeowner is approached by a phony foreclosure official. The foreclosure fraud occurs when a property owner having difficulty making mortgage payments is approached by a criminal offering a loan to cover expenses and consolidate loans, in exchange for upfront fees and an agreement to transfer the property title.

 Instead of being given a loan, the criminal takes off with the cash provided by the homeowner who still owes money to the banks. The other option for the criminal is to  keep all the payments made by the owner and ignore bills and taxes.

 Furthering the scam still the criminal may remortgage the property and escape with the money, leaving the former property owner without the home but still in debt.

Investigate Paperwork, Licenses, With Authorities

When considering renting, buying or selling property check the authenticity of the renter, the seller, the company for your own protection. However, to thoroughly cover yourself, take all paperwork and consult with a real estate attorney for verification.

Eric Lanigan and Roddy Lanigan work for families, businesses and individuals to protect their property, their rights and against being taken advantage of. Consult with the Lanigans and find out if the real estate issue whether renting, buying or selling, is actual and if so, how to proceed. 

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