Real estate has proven to be one of the most thriving industries in our  economy and because of this it has become prone to conmen who prey on  unsuspecting property buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and agents.  Outlined below are the different trending scams and hoaxes that have  taken the industry by storm and we also highlight how best one can  easily identify and avoid falling into these traps.

Rentals:

Unfortunately many prospective tenants have fallen prey to the many  bogus agents that have mushroomed all over the place who misrepresent  themselves by either advertising properties that do not exist or  properties that they do not have mandates to advertise. Whilst  technology has made lives easier for everyone this is inclusive of these  scammers who have easy access to what is available on the market. The  following are some of the hints that can alert people of these bogus  agents:

  • Asking for non refundable deposit to view properties
  • When rental value is too good to be true
  • Being told that they cannot get a hold of the property owners
  • Being pressurised to pay for property without the proper vetting  processes or filling in any paperwork under the guise that many people  want to pay for the property
  • Unavailability of the “agent” after initial contact

We strongly urge tenants to search for accommodation timeously in order  to avoid the element of desperation. Desperation leads oneinto taking  shortcuts which will eventually cost them and it is what allows these  bogus agents to thrive in our market.


Sales:

Hoaxes and scams have not only stopped on the rental aspect of real  estate but they have also resorted to duping unsuspecting buyers and  sellers of property as well. Outlined below are the hints that should  raise red flags when processing a sale:

  • When selling price is too good to be true
  • When agent/seller refuses to disclose location of offices or when they are of no fixed abode
  • When the agent/seller go AWOL on request of paperwork of the property in question
  • Inconsistency in the paperwork i.e. land size, description registered owners etc
  • When seller demands for funds to be deposited directly into their  account without the inclusion of a reputable lawyer to handle the  transaction.
  • When immense pressure is put on the buyer to sign agreement of sale and make payment as soon as possible.


The above are only but a few of the hoaxes and scams currently being  used as there are new tricks concocted on a daily basis to prey on the  unsuspecting. We would therefore like to urge everyone to practise due  diligence and patience in property transaction in order to avoid falling  victim to the ruthless conmen of our society.

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