Commercial & Residential Properties in BC & Alberta

Prevention of Real Estate Fraud

1.    Do not believe in incredible offers to avoid real estate fraud

Although it is well known that a price far from the average is a safe scam, they continue to catch the unwary.

Among the cases of real estate fraud that are reported, the authorities point out that an “opportunity” price is the greatest motivation to carry out the commercial operation.

Simply check other properties in the area that have characteristics similar to the one you want and be wary of ads with prices absurdly lower than the commercial value of the property.

Keep in mind that there are many properties that are unoccupied for long periods because their owners are out of the country or for other reasons.

If the scammer knows that there is no supervision or a lot of activity around, it makes their job easier. He can pose as the owner or an agent and convince you that you have before your eyes the opportunity of a lifetime. It even happens with the tenants of a property.

If possible, consult neighbors in the sector to find out if they know the owner and can provide details that are useful to understand the reason for the price.

2.    Be careful with the legality of the documents

Real estate fraud is getting quite common these days. The false documentation of supposed properties is a type of fraud detected in the country. Therefore, each procedure that leads you to formalize a sale transaction must be verified.

For example, they can present an altered or fictitious certificate of tradition and freedom. This document records the history of property owners and legal support.

If you are not familiar with the information that should appear and its veracity, you could sign a document without legal value and give them money for an initial fee. Then, to finalize the sale at the notary you will not have an answer and you will have lost the money.

To check the legitimacy of the documentation, you must go to the Public Registry of Property; where you can see information about the owner of the property and the legal status of the property.

3.    Check the legal status of the property

If this is your first time buying a property, you have to be aware of real estate fraud you may not be familiar with the deeds. This lack of experience is taken advantage of by scammers to offer a different property than the one that appears in the document.

Check the physical characteristics of the property recorded in the deed, such as the areas and boundaries. It is important not to lose detail and verify that they correspond to the property you are about to buy.

For example, you could buy a piece of land that is located in another place for a value well below what they show you. Real estate fraud is a very common type of scam when it comes to land.

Ask the seller for the certificate of tradition and freedom of the property to review the history of the owners and property status to avoid the real estate fraud.

The recommendation is to request a certificate of tradition and freedom of the property and verify the information provided about the property and the owner.

You should also review the sales restrictions that the property may have. You could find that the property has pre-dial and/or water debts.

The seller must present the following documents:

  • Scriptures
  • Pre-dialed ballot
  • Water ticket

Otherwise, you are entitled to request them and verify that they are legitimate. Do it before signing the promise of sale.

4.    Beware of giving money in advance

If you wish to be aware of Real Estate fraud you do not have to give all the money in advance. No person, whether private or advisor, should request an advance to show or set aside a home.

Beware of those alleged intermediaries or property owners who avoid contact by phone and limit themselves to the use of email; claiming to be out of the country.

If they ask you for a previous deposit so that you can visit the property, stop the negotiation. They will say that it is a guarantee to send you the keys or put you in contact with an agent.

5.    Do an appraisal of the property

Using an appraisal company is essential. However, with these appraisal units, as they are also known, you could be a victim of real estate fraud.

For this reason, we emphasize that you must verify the legality and authenticity of any natural or legal person involved in your buying and selling process.

In this case, you can corroborate the information of the agent and the company through the registry kept by the Federal Mortgage Society (SHF); that it is a regulated company and that it has the permits to carry out an appraisal.

6.    Do not sign documents of dubious origin

Here is another variant of a more delicate real estate fraud. The documents are legitimate and even notarized, but the identity of the owner is the wrong one.

How does this happen? The certificate of tradition and freedom is public and freely delivered. Fraudsters can request it at the notary and registry office if they have data on the property. The same goes for the copy of the deed.

In this case, they falsify the owner’s identity card or alter a photocopy of the original identity document; replacing only the photograph.

7.    Consult with experts

Consult with experts before buying or selling any property to avoid the real estate fraud. Finally, it is advisable to request the services of a Yarmoloy Group Real Estate Agency that will guide you step by step in such an important process and avoid headaches.


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