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Scammers target private sellers

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Guest | 03 Dec 2013, 02:58 AM Agree 0

You rent your property online easily, so why can you not sell it as well? That is the reasoning for many private sellers, and especially those who think they are saving a lot of cash through this process.
However, as more sellers are discovering, it is not that easy. An Ottawa-based private seller revealed this week that she found her house for sale on another site at almost half the listed price. Interested buyers, primarily international, are sent official looking legal documents and encouraged to lodge a deposit for a ‘quick sale.’
“There are new financial and real estate scams turning up all the time, but I have not seen an overall increase in scams in the past few years. However, the creativity and sophistication of scams do seem to get better and better,” says Claude Boiron, author and broker at Coldwell Banker Terrequity Realty.
Tracking the scams is difficult as many of the service providers are not based in Canada, with Boiron advising online sellers to be extra vigilant and cautious.
“Regularly check online for any unauthorized ads regarding your property during the selling or leasing process,” he advises. “Some aggregators may help sell your property, but anyone who modifies your ads, especially the asking price, is likely up to no good.”
  • Claude Boiron | 03 Dec 2013, 02:20 PM Agree 0
    My other comments on this topic were:
    Though selling privately has it's advantages sometimes, one of the largest pitfalls of doing so, aside from the lack of industry and product knowledge and expertise, is that you are likely not as aware of scams in the market as a Realtor will be. Good Realtors keep up to date on the latest threats to their clients, and take appropriate steps to prevent problems. This is where the MLS is a great tool for buyers and sellers, since any Listings have been posted by Real Estate brokerages. A final consideration is the insurance which professionals bring to the table - both figuratively and literally. Their experience is a form of insurance, but their errors and omissions insurance (and the various consumer compensation funds contributed to by Realtors and lawyers) is specifically as a form of recourse.
  • Gary Nusca, CCIM | 04 Dec 2013, 02:43 PM Agree 0
    In Canada alone, Canadians report up to 500 cases of fraud of all kinds every day. Millions of Americans get scammed and billions of dollars are lost to fraud every year. I have compiled a page that will give every one an insight to these all kinds of problems on the Internet to be careful. I too am a REALTOR and have compiled a special page of what I call the ICIWorld.com Security Page. This security page is made available to the industry. If we in the industry are knowledgeable then we in effect provide a type of insurance to protect the public in the largest single sale in a persons life, from mortgage fraud, title fraud, and much, much more. A safe and secure sale is provided by dealing with a licensed real estate salesperson.
  • Elsa | 04 Dec 2013, 07:54 PM Agree 0
    I will never use an agent again...ever, he worked 2 days and 2 open houses in 4 weeks. We found our house by searching ourselves. He was simply the middleman who printed out the paperwork. Hardly worth the $13000 in commission he got. In appreciation, we got a Xmas card with a promise to take us golfing at an exclusive club...well....that was 3 years ago. No one will ever convince me to use an agent again. The only exception would be if a friend just got their real estate license, I would list to help them out, but that's about it.
  • Deepti Neto | 07 Dec 2013, 01:22 PM Agree 0
    Realtors provide 3 most important services. 1. Education about the housing market, we do this by taking you to places that will teach you about value, price and your taste. 2. Taking care of the paperwork, make sure you have a firm and binding contract. 3. Protect you from fraud.
    These things are never a problem until they are and by then you have payed a big price for them. You buy a house that is a former grow house. You are ready to close the seller/buyer refuses finds a loophole. You find a condo in the building that sold for a lot less 2 weeks ago.
    If you are comfortable making uninformed decisions on your biggest purchase, the risk is yours. Good Luck :) Call me later.
    Yes it is true some transactions are easy and some are not. We stay up late, calling agents, thinking of ways to make the property move, researching the city to see which property meets your needs etc.
  • Grant Ostapowich | 08 Dec 2013, 05:15 PM Agree 0
    There seems to be more and more internet scams being schemed and implemented daily and the bigger the item price the more the investment by the criminal to make it appear legitimate. At Century 21 we meet weekly to discuss what is new in the industry, good or bad, and frequently have lawyers specializing in real estate explain to us what are the newest scams to be aware of, how to spot them and how to protect our clients and ourselves from them. If a home seller or buyer wants to make sure everything on the biggest sale of their lives is done right, then hire a professional.
  • Donna Malone | 09 Dec 2013, 10:38 AM Agree 0
    Elsa, I read your comment with interest. How do you know how much your agent was paid? In a real estate transaction, the Brokerage representing the seller gets paid and the Brokerage representing the buyer gets paid. The Brokerages then pass a portion of the commission to the various agents involved. The portion that the agent gets paid varies from Brokerage to Brokerage. One of the things you pay for when you hire an agent is their education and negotiating ability. It is quite possible your agent saved you money and protected you from a law suit. Private sales are more likely to end up in court than sales where the buyer and seller have professional representation. Sellers need to be extremely vigilant when selling their own properties but I would NEVER recommend that a buyer represent themselves. A buyer should ALWAYS be represented by a competent agent.
  • Donna Malone | 09 Dec 2013, 10:40 AM Agree 0
    Elsa, I read your comment with interest. How do you know how much your agent was paid? In a real estate transaction, the Brokerage representing the seller gets paid and the Brokerage representing the buyer gets paid. The Brokerages then pass a portion of the commission to the various agents involved. The portion that the agent gets paid varies from Brokerage to Brokerage. One of the things you pay for when you hire an agent is their education and negotiating ability. It is quite possible your agent saved you money and protected you from a law suit. Private sales are more likely to end up in court than sales where the buyer and seller have professional representation. Sellers need to be extremely vigilant when selling their own properties but I would NEVER recommend that a buyer represent themselves. A buyer should ALWAYS be represented by a competent agent.
  • nelson goncalves | 10 Dec 2013, 11:42 AM Agree 0
    dec 4 posted by Elsa ; will never use an agent again
    first line mentioned 2 open houses, then they found a house themselves?
    I"m confused as to the representation. $13k emphazises one transaction in the $500k at 2.5% range.
    If indeed there was a sellers representation agreement and property sold in 4 days-this ownner should be gratefull not resentfull. Just a thought. If im going to be operated i'd rather be on the chopping block in less time, personally.
  • Trish G. Anderson | 16 Dec 2013, 12:28 PM Agree 0
    Elsa has her mind made up so dont waste your breath or typing time on her. People do no understand that the commission paid from one deal to a salesman represents much more than that one deal. The agent and all the other agents are who pays for the MLS system so that any house sells. The agent has a business to run and this commission goes to run this business. For every house or property that does sell, there are hundreds that don't, so the agent sits at open houses, shows homes, write ads, pays his monthly office fees of over $1000.00 in most cases just to keep the business going and makes only an income when a house sells. It is the hardest job anyone could imagine!!!!!
  • Sophie | 05 Feb 2014, 10:34 AM Agree 0
    This is a very serious topic that could destroy people's lives and you Elsa made it all about you. I can only imagine what it was like to work for you in those 4 weeks. I will say though that for every "paperwork that gets printed out" there are countless hours preparing/finding said paperwork to print.

    On the actual topic, its scary how your information on the web can be manipulated so easily. We should all be vigilant
  • Hans | 19 Jan 2015, 10:15 AM Agree 0
    I respect real estate agents and I know that they are running a business . I am a bit frustrated about the vagueness of listings though. When properties are listed in my area in Ontario in the quinte real estate area the houses are usually not measured so square footage is way off for instance a house is 1000 -to 1500 square feet in the listing, when I get there it is just 950 square. Feet by foot print measurement. Why can't the listing agent measure the outside of the building? I am tired of asking basic questions about a property that should be in the basic listing information are agents just lazy or do they not care obout wasting a buyers time in searching for the right size property?
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