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Five common real estate scams – and how to avoid them

Five common real estate scams – and how to avoid them

The first rule of real estate: if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Like all industries, the property sector attracts its share of scammers hoping to con would-be buyers and renters out of their hard-earned savings. Fortunately, there are ways you can safeguard yourself against property fraud.

To help you spot the fraudsters, here’s a rundown of the most common real estate scams – plus some advice on how you can avoid getting ripped off.

  • The fake rental listing scam

These scams take advantage of the online real estate marketplace by copying legitimate property listings, reposting them elsewhere and posing as the agent or landlord who is leasing the property. The scammers will usually ask for the security deposit or another down payment upfront. Often they will ask you to wire money in advance while a contract is being drawn up.

How to avoid getting scammed:

1.Never agree to wire money to someone you have not met in person.
2.Always try to verify the identity of the person you are dealing with and confirm that they are a licensed real estate agent.
3.Look for properties listed by well-known real estate agencies and trusted websites such as Lamudi.


  • The out-of-the-country scam

In this common scam, the prospective landlord or current owner says they are out of the country and unable to show you the property before you sign the lease or contract. They usually promise to send you the keys in the mail once the deposit has been paid in advance.

How to avoid getting scammed:

1.Always insist on inspecting the property yourself.
2.If the landlord or agent says this is not possible because they are overseas or unavailable, then walk away from the deal.



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