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Consumer Beware! California Real Estate Scams on the Rise

News | 11th Sep 2012

The economic crisis that terrified the whole world over the past few years has had the most visible impact on the real estate market in California, where things were going pretty well. It just collapsed in an incredibly short amount of time thus taking everybody by surprise. However, it seems that the situation is starting to get better. After all, the most valuable asset of California is its land. Houses are only aimed to make it even more profitable.

The coastal land is highly demanded. Places such a San Jose or San Diego are among the most popular locations and the real estate market develops more and more every year. The Orange County Register regards very optimistically this change on the market and everything seems to be getting back to normal. The sales increased and the demand for proprieties and apartments keeps boosting. For instance, since the beginning of this year the price for a median home has gone from $333,000 to $350,000 in August.

Nevertheless, just like with every flourishing market, the fraud issue will appear in discussion sooner or later. In California, the California Department of Real Estate, has alerted customers to pay attention at who is handling their propriety and how. This year, over one thousand licenses have been suspended due to irregularities that have been found in the procedures used by realtors to sell or buy a home.

Likewise, DRE warned the population about Hispanic homeowners who are targeted by a famous group of Spanish speaking criminals. Also, the most frequent scams are related to loan modifications, foreclosure schemes and home loan audits that are generally relying in the culture of mutual trust existent in the Latino community. The criminals base on this kind of trust and promise to file bankruptcy and lawsuits for which they demand sums of money that can reach up to $10,000. The situation has become more serious lately and the government warns people to be very attentive, especially when it comes to their propriety.

To be even more specific and clear, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has come up with a video, which was released on YouTube to warn the population about frauds that promise to “sell a house in one week” or to pay cash for homes “in any condition”. Such practices are strictly forbidden by the law and are usually practiced by real estate agents who have lost their license, want to promote their business or want to make much money in the shortest amount of time possible.

Generally speaking, there are still honest real estate agents and if you intend to sell or buy a home, it’s important to take into account the above mentioned safety measures. Make sure to speak with a trusted realtor, look for reviews, and never give money in advance without performing a thorough background check. On such a wide and promising real estate market like the one in Orange County, it’s nearly impossible to avoid scams. Still, some simple guidelines can be of great help.

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