3 Tips to Protect Yourself from National and Brooklyn Real Estate Fraud

A little-known tool that I use to keep updated on national and Brooklyn real estate news is Google Alerts. It’s a handy tool. A few days ago, Google Alerts sent me a list of online links, along with one talking about an individual being indicted for real estate fraud. Today, I received another Alert with a link to real estate fraud. Unfortunately, it turned out to be another case, rather than the same one.

I love being a  Brooklyn real estate represenative. I enjoy being able to help home sellers find buyers, and buyers find their dream homes. With all those trying to sell homes, buy homes or keep the homes they have, I get angry when I see reports of fraud like these:

  • On June 18, 2010, Sacramento Today reported that two individuals were arrested for six counts of real estate fraud, pretending to be licensed with the Department of Real Estate.
  • On July 8, 2010, Fraud News reported that three individuals in New York were found guilty of real estate fraud to the tune of $23 million.

It’s become enough of a major issue, in fact, that the IRS has created a page on their website specifically for information on real estate and mortgage fraud.

Your home is too precious to risk with these con-artists. Don’t take a chance on giving away your savings or your house. The following tips, while few in number, can help ensure that the home you buy is a home you get to keep:

Tip #1: Research potential real estate agents or agency.

Don’t just ask about their credentials, because credentials can be faked. Ask for their client lists. Contact those clients personally to discuss their experiences with the real estate agents. When you do look at their credentials, take it one step further and check with their real estate boards. Are they actually members? Interview them and gather as much information as you can before hiring anyone to sell or find you a home.

Tip #2: Verify details with your lender.

Many agents do the paperwork for you. In fact, it’s one of the big selling points of having an agent. However, an unscrupulous person may provide your lender with a fraudulent amount for the selling price. Before signing any deal, check with your lender and verify the details. Talk with them face to face, if possible, rather than on the phone.  Read everything before signing.

Tip #3: Never use an agent who will “fudge the facts.”

Some agents may be willing to adjust your qualifications to help you get a loan. While this might sound like a great deal if you have a bad credit history, consider this: if an agent is willing to adjust this part, what else are they willing to adjust that they may not tell you about?

While owning Brooklyn real estate can be a dream come true, not doing your homework can turn it into a nightmare. Be careful and, if you suspect fraud, report it!

If you’re trying to sell or buy a home and want a reputable agent, I’d like to apply for the job. Call me at (718) 253-9600 ext 206 or email me at [email protected] to schedule an interview.

Charles D’Alessandro

[email protected]
tel 718 253-9600
fax 718 253-9573


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