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Tips on How to Avoid Housing Scams

Property market scams are hugely popular as a way to make a lot of money relatively fast. The advances in the online property industry have made it easier for fraudsters and con-artists to trick unsuspecting people into giving up their money. There are many things to be wary of when you’re looking for a new home so you don’t fall victim to such a scam! Here are a few of the things you can do to prevent your chances of being conned. 1)    Estate agent.One of the best ways to avoid a housing scam if you’re looking to buy or sell a property is to go through an estate agent. Make sure you choose someone reliable – go off of the recommendations of friends or see which estate agent is most successful in your neighbourhood. Having an estate agent will protect you from unreliable transactions. It’s important you fully understand all the terms and conditions when hiring and estate agent. Sometimes they ask for a fixed rate while other times it’s a percentage of the house sale that they want. 2)    View the property.Whether renting or buying, it’s important not to trust the internet on face value. If you’re looking for a quick buy, you might be tempted to rent based solely from information given to you over the internet. This is almost certainly going to end badly for you. You won’t be able to make any realistic preparations for when you move, even if you request a floor-plan, and not seeing the house could put you at risk of a scam. Some landlords or sellers might take pictures of their own homes or other peoples’, or use images from years ago to make their property seem more appealing. It’s important that you visit any property you’re interested in as many times as possible so you can get a good sense of whether or not it’s right for you. You don’t want to invest money in a property you might end up hating! 3)    Speak to previous tenants.Although not always possible, if you’re suspicious of your potential landlord or you’re just looking for some reassurance, see if you can speak to previous or current tenants about the landlord’s reliability. If your landlord is a property manager, you may be able to find out more information about them through the internet. 4)    Get everything in writing.Your landlord wants to rent their property as easily and quickly as possible, and some landlords will say anything to get this done. If your landlord is promising that the property will undergo renovations or repairs before you move in then make sure you have this stipulated in the contract so as to avoid later hassle. When you move into the house it’s important to make a list of all the current damages and show this to your landlord – this will help you get your deposit returned to you. 5)    Make sure you read the fine print.Before you sign any document make sure you fully understand all the terms and conditions. There should be no confusion over the agreements and all amendments to the contract should be made immediately. If you’re unsure about what you’re signing or if you have your suspicions then have it looked over by a legal professional – it’s much easier to do this and rectify any problems before you put your name on a legal document!