Tips for avoiding real estate fraud

Tips for avoiding real estate fraud

Buying a home is without a doubt the most complicated purchase you will ever make.

The list of logistical and financial details is long — from getting your downpayment together to paying legal and closing fees, all the while having to deal with a number of emotional issues, it all adds up and can lead you to miss the signs of real estate fraud.

While it’s one of the lesser-known kinds of fraud in Canada, its impact can be devastating. There are two types of real estate fraud that may result in financial losses for homeowners — title fraud and foreclosure fraud.

Title fraud happens when a fraudster steals the title to a home. This type of fraud is usually committed after the fraudster steals the owner’s identity, when they sell the home or apply for a new mortgage against it.

Foreclosure fraud happens when homeowners having difficulty making their payments mistakenly turn to a fraudster who convinces them to transfer their property title in return for a loan. Often, the fraudster keeps their loan payments and resells or remortgages the victim’s home.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself with these simple tips:

  • Safeguard your personal financial information.
  • Consult your lawyer before giving another person a right to deal with your home or other assets.
  • Contact your mortgage lender first if you are having difficulty making your mortgage payments.
  • individual who is offering you a loan.
  • Do a land title search with your provincial or territorial land registry office. This search will show the name of the property owner and any mortgages or liens registered on the title.
  • Consider buying title insurance to protect against title fraud.

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