Many first time home buyers are attracted to "For Sale By Owner" properties for a variety of reasons. Home buyers can often get a better deal on properties sold by the owner by avoiding realtor fees and get to deal directly with the seller to hammer out a sale agreement. There's also the added benefit of moving the sale along more quickly by just While there are perks to buying a first time home directly from the home owner, there are significant risks when due diligence isn't taken. Be sure when searching for for-sale-by-owner homes to pay attention and avoid these common scams.
The "Too Good To Be True" Scam
Sites like Zillow, Craigslist, and RealEstate have made it easy for first time homebuyers to browse thousands of homes at every price range and neighborhood. After spending hours researching, you probably have a good idea of what's competitively priced for the area and what's high or low. The "Too Good To Be True" scam relies on showing home buyers a great deal and engaging in bait and switch.
Maybe the property isn't as claimed or maybe they're showing outdated photographs. In some situations, the scammers are actually trying to sell a higher priced or lower quality property. They'll claim that the property you're calling about is already sold but offer to show you another home.
Just remember that while there are some great deals, go into these situations with a healthy amount of skepticism. If the seller wants personal information or money, run in the other direction.
The Foreign Owner Scam
With the globalization of today's workforce and poor job outlook in many areas, it's not surprising that some home owners need to leave their investments behind to find work elsewhere. This plays right into a popular real estate scam where the "owner" claims to be working overseas in response to an inquiry about a...