Essential Tips for Protecting Yourself When Selling a House

house for sale

There are so many things that could go sideways when selling your property. What should be an exciting time trying to close a chapter of your life can become traumatic when you experience any of these scams:

  • One of the most common real estate buying scams involves alleged buyers asking for processing or an administrative fee upfront, with sellers agreeing to send the money. The latter will continue to wait for the next step in the selling process, but it never comes because the buyer, actually a scammer, has run off with the money.
  • Another common scam includes a potential buyer sending the seller the wrong amount for the fee. For example, a seller agrees to sell the home for $100,000, but when they receive the check, it says $110,000 instead. The scammer then calls the seller to apologize for the mistake and to ask for the $10,000 to be wired back. When the seller does, however, they’ve just lost $10,000, even if the house remains in their possession.

There are plenty of other ways that scammers can take advantage of naive or newbie sellers, so no matter what your experience level is in the industry, it can’t hurt to arm yourself with information and to place safeguards to ensure that you are always protected throughout the entire process. Here are some essential tips and pointers you need to remember if you are selling any property in 2022 and beyond.

Consult with experts

It can’t hurt to have a real estate lawyer in your corner when going through this process. Here are the benefits of consulting with a legal professional when selling a home or a commercial property:

  • You would be informed of your rights and responsibilities as a property seller, and you can ensure that every step you take is above board and honest.
  • They can help you prepare contracts and documents, complete title searches, manage the transfer of funds, and write insurance policies.
  • These lawyers can help shield you from unnecessary liabilities and risks, and they can help inspect and double-check all the documents for hidden clauses. All of this is in the interest of upholding your highest good and best interests.

consulting with real estate lawyer

Whether buying or selling property, you need to have an attorney protecting you from all the risks that can come from multiple sides. Consider this a necessary investment to ensure a smooth-sailing process throughout the transaction.

Know the warning signs of scammers

There is a piece of wonderful biblical advice that even the non-religious can learn from: “Be innocent as doves and wise as serpents.” This means that while we should not harm others, it also can’t hurt to assume that other people don’t always have our best interests at heart. It can’t hurt us to be wary and hyper-vigilant, especially where big amounts of money are concerned. To that end, here are some tips for identifying if a transaction has the warning signs of a scam:

  • There is no retrievable information about a potential buyer. They have no social media accounts, don’t provide any references, making it impossible for you to do your due diligence.
  • Some offer references, but they can be sketchy or impossible to verify. If you think the reference you’re talking to is acting strange—even over the phone or video call—and if you also find it impossible to verify this person’s information and identity, then think twice about doing business with the person who provided the reference.
  • Other red flags include a weird eagerness to buy the property even though they haven’t seen it yet, challenges in touching base with them and their references, and hesitation to have a third party look at the contracts and other paperwork.

Once you get hold of the warning signs of a scam, you will know what to watch out for, and you can listen to your gut all while making decisions based on the evidence and facts in front of you.

Additional tips

  • Consider opting for a virtual open house instead of a real one. It’s healthier in the time of COVID-19, and you won’t have to worry about strange entering the property.
  • Make everything a team effort, so you have second and third pairs of eyes watching with you.

When it comes to protecting yourself, it can’t hurt to have a team of people around you. Partner with people you trust with more experience, and you can have an extra layer of protection as you navigate these new waters. Good luck and stay safe in the real estate industry!

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