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A fake buyer on eBay may be a nuisance at worst, but when it comes to major purchases like a house, apartment, or car, the repercussions can be dire. Many people have been scammed by fraudulent real estate property buyers. You should be careful even if you want to sell your property as quickly as possible because you desperately want to move or for another reason.
In this article, we share a few important signs that are telling a buyer’s honesty. As you list your property for sale, keep them in mind. You’d benefit from hiring a real estate attorney for added asset protection.
What do Fake Buyers Do?
Fake buyers make offers to buy homes they know they can’t afford. Usually, their offers are cash and seem too good to be true. After making an offer, the “buyer” will disappear, leaving the seller in the lurch. There are things sellers and agents can do to detect fake buyers, such as use their personal details to search online records.
The Warning Signs of a Fake
A common warning sign is when a buyer seems unwilling to disclose the source of their funds. They might say something vague like “from relatives” or “from abroad” when it’s finally time to transfer the funds to the lawyers.
Fake buyers tend to be highly convincing and extremely well-informed, making it very challenging to detect their scams in advance. They often express interest in purchasing a second home from the realtor at the same time. They are also willing to make full payment of the property price as a lump sum. They also tend to have highly specific requirements. Last but not least, they want to conclude the transaction urgently.
Why do fake buyers go to all this trouble? They seem to have nothing to gain. They know they’ll never find the money to actually go through with the sale.
Perhaps they’re out to give everyone involved a hard time, and that’s exactly what happens. All parties involved find themselves in unfortunate circumstances: the seller, the estate agent, the agency itself, and the transferring attorneys. What’s more, these circumstances are incredibly cost- and time-consuming. It is practically impossible to see what these fake buyers are trying to achieve.
Protecting Yourself as a Seller
Apart from looking for online records of the buyer, sellers should insist on a large deposit to be paid within a few days of the offer being accepted. As a seller, you are entitled to ask for proof that the money exists before accepting any cash offer, even the most incredible one.
Wait for the attorney to confirm that all the necessary documents have been signed, all guarantees have been received, and all costs due have been paid. Until that time, don’t make any changes to the property that the buyer may require. Don’t allow the buyer to move in before receiving the guarantees.
If you want to sell another property, first make sure the first one has been sold successfully. It’s your right to appoint the attorney responsible for the transfer. He or she will then represent their client. Pending delivery of all guarantees, the parties can reach an agreement to continue advertising the property for sale. You can discuss this option with the transferring attorney or the real estate agent.
Proceed with caution if the buyer seems overly eager to share bank account information, account statements, or other sensitive financial data over email. It’s highly suspicious for a buyer to deliver this information as evidence of funds before you’ve even asked for it. It’s also suspicious for someone to send private financial details to you directly.
Your attorney should handle fee transfers, the down payment, and all other monetary transactions. This doesn’t happen between buyers and sellers directly. Don’t open any financial documents emailed to you by a prospective buyer. Phishing might be involved.