How To Avoid Real Estate Scams

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A week ago, the Payson Roundup published an article on holiday scams of which we should be wary.

Coincidentally, about the same time as the article appeared, one of Coldwell Banker’s clients dropped off a mailing from a company in Phoenix questioning the validity of the offer.

The client had recently purchased a home in Payson and the mailing appeared to be an official document that offered a copy of the grant deed and property profile.

The offer cost $87 if the client responded no later than December 9.

If they responded later than this, there was an additional $35 fee, bringing the total to $122.

The mailing had many disclaimers, warning it was not affiliated with any government agency.

This is clearly a money making scam because the deed to any property is a public record. An uncertified copy can be found on the Gila County Recorder’s Web site.

And if someone wanted a certified copy of the deed, they could request one from the Gila County Recorder’s Office, 201 W. Frontier Street. The cost of a certified copy of a deed is $3 plus $1 per page.

An average deed is two pages in length; therefore, the cost of the average deed is $5.

Going through the recorder’s office instead of this company would save someone $82 – an exorbitant difference.

This mailing also claimed to offer a property profile, however, these are easily obtained from any real estate agent or title company at no cost.

A real estate scam that has permeated nationwide deals with the residential rental market.

A scammer will copy a home for sale advertisement and repost it as a home for rent.

The scammer will change the phone number and mailing address on the ad and take the unwary renters deposit for the home.

The renter shows up to occupy the home only to find their deposit is gone and so is the perpetrator of the scam.

With the change in property values there has also been more incidents of companies posing as mortgage rescue firms.

They ask for an upfront deposit, pocket the money and effectively do nothing to help the homeowner.

To avoid these scams, do what our client did –check with a reputable resource, such as a licensed real estate agent, title company or the county recorder or assessor’s office.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker with Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.

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