Len and Leslie Marma's Blog
Few experiences are as exciting, motivating or as costly as buying a new house. It's easy to get so focused on the chance to live in a larger, more luxurious house or a smaller, more open residence that you forget how important it is to choose the right real estate agent.
Avoid getting scammed when you house hunt
Yet, it's a real estate agent who will introduce you to hidden treasures on the house market. It's also a real estate agent who will tell you about neighborhoods, area businesses, property taxes and average, high and low house prices in the area you want to move to. Go with the wrong real estate agent or real estate agency and you could regret it. Steps to avoid getting scammed include:
- Logging onto state license agency websites and confirming that real estate agents you want to work with have an active license. Check out other licenses that the real estate agent has. For example, some realtors have broker and real estate sales licenses.
- Read reviews on real estate agents. If you don't see reviews on individual agents, pay attention to reviews on real estate agencies that the realtor works with. Reputable agencies generally shy away from poor real estate agents.
- Verify that mortgage brokers are legitimate. Also, confirm that mortgage brokers are not currently or have not in the past been involved with mortgage scams.
- Ask people you know to recommend real estate agents to you. Ask these people why they are recommending the agents to you.
- Pay attention to your gut instinct. If you get a feeling that a deal sounds too good to be true, pause and check the deal out more fully. There are lots of good houses on the market. It's better to get a good, legitimate mortgage deal than it is to rush into a bad deal.
- Consider working with a real estate attorney. Ask the attorney to review all contracts before you sign them.
- Conduct research on realtors and mortgage companies to make sure that they have not been involved in price fixing, kickbacks or illegal cross selling.
- Get an independent inspection performed on the house that you are serious about buying.
- Compare prices and contract deals that mortgage brokers offer on a house with what other mortgage lenders offer.
- Log into secure accounts when sharing personal information with mortgage lenders. Don't simply hand workers at mortgage companies papers with your personal information on them.
- Shy away from mortgages that entice you into signing contracts that don't require you to put a down payment on a house.
- Steer clear of mortgages that don't require you to buy homeowners insurance.
Search for real estate scams on the Internet and may be surprised how many stories pop up. Real estate scams happen in the residential and commercial markets. With a little research, you could avoid getting scammed. Avoid being part of a real estate scam and you can save money, headaches and court proceedings. You can also get an honest deal on a good house.