If a Durham NC cash buyer offers you more than what your home is worth in the market you should consider this a red flag. It can be difficult for you to get your money back after this type of fraud.
Generally speaking a legitimate investor will make public information about their company that you can check. It is a good idea to do this before selling your house.
1. Equity Skimming Scam
If a “We Buy Houses DURHAM NC” investor claims they’re able to buy homes for cash, it’s essential to do your homework. If they don’t have a website, address or phone number, it could be a red flag. You should also pay close attention to their language. Any overeager or hesitant behavior may be an indication they’re not a reputable business.
One of the most popular We Buy Houses DURHAM NC scams involves stealing home equity. The con artists target homeowners who are behind on their mortgage or who have poor credit. They lure them in with promises of refinancing the mortgage at a great rate and fixing their credit. They then get a deed to the property and rent it out, pocketing the money while the homeowner continues to struggle to pay the mortgage. Eventually, the homeowner is forced out of their home and into foreclosure.
This is known as equity skimming and has been a profitable strategy for criminals since the housing market crashed. A mortgage attorney can help homeowners regain control of their properties and protect their rights after being victims of this scam.
Another sign of an unethical “We Buy Houses DURHAM NC” investor is asking you to sign a contract before they have the money in hand. This is a serious red flag that they’re not legitimate and you should walk away from the deal immediately. A reputable real estate investor will be more than happy to take the time to answer your questions and make sure you feel comfortable with the transaction.
If you work with a reputable “we buy houses DURHAM NC” investor, they should have no problem providing proof of funds when asked. Any “hidden” fees, such as service charges or market risk fees, are likely a sign of a fraudulent investment company that is trying to steal your home equity.
The best way to weed out fraudulent “we buy houses DURHAM NC” investors is to demand a personal connection before you sign any contracts. A good investor should be able to meet you at your house, walk through it with you and discuss the sale on a calm and even-keeled basis.
2. Foreclosure Rescue Scam
Duhram NC Homeowners facing foreclosure are often vulnerable to scammers who promise to help them save their home. They may find this company through a radio or television advertisement, the Internet, or even through a flyer placed on their doorstep. These fraudulent companies charge homeowners high fees for services they could easily accomplish on their own, such as contacting the lender or filing paperwork with the mortgage servicer. These high fees can delay the homeowner from seeking legitimate aid and expose them to a financial disaster.
These fraudulent investors also steal equity from the homeowner by taking title to the property and then selling it to another investor at a profit, usually without paying off the existing mortgage. This type of scam can leave the homeowner homeless and still responsible for a loan that is now in foreclosure.
Another variation on this scam is a so-called “lease/buyback” scheme, wherein the fraudster convinces the homeowner to surrender their ownership of the home and then rent it to them with an option to buy back the house in a few years. The fraudster then makes the mortgage payments on behalf of the homeowner but never pays off the actual mortgage, thereby preventing the homeowner from being able to purchase their home back.
The fraudster may try to lure the homeowner into the scam by claiming they are a housing counselor or attorney and implying that they can save their home from foreclosure. They often tell the homeowner not to contact their lender, lawyer or credit counselor and to transfer their property deed or title to them. The homeowner then becomes a tenant in their own home and the fraudster can do whatever they want with it, including raising the rental price until the former owner is evicted and no longer has any money to buy it back.
When shopping for a cash buyer, be wary of any company that claims to be a “rescue” organization. These companies will typically hound people with ads on the Internet and other forms of media, especially those in low income neighborhoods where foreclosures are common. In addition, they often send threatening emails with malicious attachments or links to fraudulent websites that will trick them into revealing their personal information. If you have any doubts about the legitimacy of a buyer, contact a local law enforcement agency or HUD-approved housing counselor.
3. Phishing Scam
If you’re selling your house to an “off-market buyer” who claims to pay cash, this could be a scam. This is a type of phishing, where cyber criminals trick victims into sending valuable information to the attacker by pretending to be legitimate.
This phishing technique may come in the form of a fake email, text, or phone call, with attackers posing as real estate investors, home buyers, and other industry professionals. The goal of these phishing attacks is to steal personal information or money by exploiting victims’ fear and greed. The attackers will often use fake names, titles, and contact information to make their requests appear more legitimate.
Typically, these attackers will ask victims to send money to them via gift cards, prepaid debit cards, cryptocurrency, wire transfer, or by mailing cash. The scammers will often also require victims to sign a contract that heavily favors them. These contracts are impossible to get out of once signed.
The other common way that a phishing attack can be carried out is by targeting businesses and institutions. This includes attacks such as business email compromise (BEC), where a criminal impersonates a high-level executive or hacks into an employee’s email account to trick lower level employees into making fraudulent transfers, making purchases from unauthorized vendors, or sending sensitive files to the attacker.
The FBI estimates that BEC attacks cost the private sector billions of dollars a year. As remote working becomes more popular, it’s important that employees stay vigilant about suspicious communication from colleagues, and never click on links or provide financial information through emails or website forms. In addition, employees should always look up unfamiliar numbers before answering calls, and consider the possibility that a company’s legitimate communication system is being manipulated.
4. Cash Offer Scam
If a “we buy houses DURHAM NC” company asks you to send them money upfront for any reason, that is a big red flag. Legitimate buyers will never ask for any form of payment from sellers before closing on a deal. If you are asked to send an earnest money deposit, a down payment, or even the full purchase price of your home before closing, it is likely a scam.
Another way to spot a cash offer scam is if the buyer wants to take ownership of your house without ever seeing it in person. It is completely normal to want to sell your home quickly, but it’s important to find a buyer who is willing to see the property in person before buying.
Scammers in the real estate industry often try to make their offers seem legitimate by using an aggressive sales process or a misleading contract. They may use comparison tables that appear to show the seller will get more money from their house-buying company than if they sold it through an agent. They might also rely on contingency clauses that can be used to renegotiate the terms of the sale.
When selling your home, always seek professional legal advice from a reputable attorney before signing any contracts or handing over any money. This will help you ensure you are working with a legitimate buyer and not one of the many shady players in the real estate market.
The truth is, the majority of shady home-buying companies are small mom and pop operations that can be hard to distinguish from legitimate investors. However, if you understand how off-market buyers work and can recognize common red flags, you can protect yourself from these types of scams.
If something feels off, trust your gut and walk away. A reputable investor will be transparent and honest throughout the entire selling process. If they aren’t, they could be attempting to hide fees or otherwise rip you off. So, be sure to check out any potential buyers online and be wary of anyone who is unwilling to disclose their full buying process and fees.