Real estate can be an excellent investment for many. Purchasing or owning a home can provide a sense of pride, as well as security to a family. Real estate tends to appreciate over time, adding value to your home automatically. Though, the opinions of expert investors may vary, in general, real estate is considered to be a safe and reliable investment.
Unfortunately, there are individuals who may prey on homeowners or prospective homeowners who are unfamiliar with real estate fraud. Various scams occur in the real estate market, leaving families in terrible financial shape. The following are some common scams to be aware of.
- Home equity and foreclosure fraud. This type of fraud takes advantage of homeowners who are already in a financial bind. Foreclosure fraud typically begins when a property owner is struggling to pay their mortgage. The criminal will approach the individual and offer a loan to cover the expenses and will offer a loan consolidation deal in exchange for fees and the property title. However, the criminal will not use the money to pay off bills as promised, instead, they will take the money, remortgage the house, and flee. Other scams may involve organized syndicates who obtain inflated property values through illicit schemes. They will then seek out an artificially high mortgage for the property and intentionally default.
- Investment Seminars. Finding a seminar on how to make money in real estate is not difficult. Though the prices for seminars may range from free, all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars, the course may still be legitimate. Whether or not you find the information to be useful has little to do with it being regarded as a scam. In general, the seminars may be considered to be scams if the speaker is promising “risk free” investments. The phrase, “risk free” should always warrant a red flag. Unsuspecting investors may lose significant portions of money investing into the speaker’s deal.
These scams are by no means all inclusive, however, they are relatively common in real estate fraud. If you are unsure about a real estate deal you are about to conduct, speak with a real estate attorney, like lawyer Timothy Kassouni, a real estate appeals lawyer in Sacramento, CA. The attorney may have prior experience with similar fraud cases and may be able to provide you with advice on how to approach the deal.
If you have been charged with real estate fraud, it is highly recommended to seek the aid of a criminal defense attorney, immediately. Depending on the degree of the charges, you may be subject to significant jail time and or fines.