Real Estate Scam

A new trend has hit our increasingly competitive residential market … and it’s not a fashionable one. 

Throughout the past couple of months, we have seen a dramatic increase in the practice of agents mailing personal notes to homeowners’ stating that they indeed have a buyer for their home.  What is important to know is that in most cases a buyer for the home does not exist. 

Here are the six things you should know about this new trend and why you should beware of its sender:

  1. It is highly likely that the buyer does not exist. This is a market ploy for an agent to get into your home and try to secure a listing.  If you think about it, how can a real estate agent know for certain that a home that he or she hasn’t seen be perfect for another buyer?   Buyers have specific needs around layout, outdoor space, location of bedrooms.  They cannot know if a house is right for them if they have never seen it.
  2. Would you feel comfortable listing your home with an agent that started off your relationship based on a untruth?  When it comes to real estate, you need to be able to really trust your agent. You need to know that your agent is transparent, honest and putting your needs before anyone else’s.
  3. This is not a personal letter. In most cases, these form letters are sent to every home in a particular city or school district. The only thing that changes is the address and the name on the envelope. A generic letter with no specific information about your house is no different than receiving a generic credit card solicitation.
  4. When inventory is low, agents try to deploy these methods of encouraging people to sell their home to bring more supply to the market. But consider that a real estate agent working on your behalf wouldn’t settle for one buyer, that agent would want to get it the most exposure to promote a better price for you. 
  5. If there is a buyer, you still don’t want to one agent on the buying and selling side. This is almost never a win for either party.  It is extremely difficult to fairly represent both sides in a transaction of this significance. You simply cannot get top dollar for a seller while getting a great deal for your buyer. Your agent needs to be 100 percent on your side.
  6. Homeowners need to be vigilant in protecting themselves against this sort of thing. This practice is one that brings an agent into your home to size up your property. This practice is less about selling your house and more about getting a listing and their name on a for sale sign.

So, what do you do if you receive this type of letter? First, call an unbiased professional to work on your behalf. Then have your agent contact the name of the agent sending the letter to see if he or she truly does have a buyer for your property. Selling your home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Let it begin on solid ground, with licensed and intelligent agents guiding you through the process.