The real estate industry is fast-paced, involves major financial transactions and offers plenty of opportunities — this combination makes the real estate industry especially attractive to scammers.
Luckily, you can avoid real estate scams if you know what to look for.
First, always remember that if it's too good to be true, it usually is. Next, if you are working with an experienced agent, they can help you spot scams. They can see them from a mile away. Experienced agents have seen it all before and heard all of the horror stories -- everything you never want to have to experience for yourself.
The internet can make searching for a home more convenient, but it can also make it easier for scammers. Some fraudsters may pretend to be affiliated with official federal programs and steal money from struggling homeowners who are potentially facing foreclosure. Other homes for sale or rent listed online can be scams. Be wary of any real estate agents outside of the country the home is listed in.
Never buy real estate unless your name is on the deed. Avoid getting involved in risky partnerships with people or organizations you cannot trust. Don't accept a deal that you don't fully understand. Never sign something without understanding everything involved. This is when it becomes even more important to have someone on your side who understands the real estate industry.
Do your research. Never let yourself be pressured or rushed into an agreement that you do not fully understand. Trust your gut. If something seems off, be cautious and wait until you can get more information or do more research on the situation.