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Identifying and Avoiding Real Estate Fraud

california-real-estate-fraud.jpgFour years ago, Forbes identified California as the third highest state for mortgage fraud following Florida and New York to round out the top three. Last year, over 100 cases of real estate fraud resulted in convictions and over 200 convictions were reported the year previous to that. This type of investigation involves several parts and people who may be unaware they are part of a scam. According to the American Bar Association, the most targeted groups of people for real estate fraud include:

  • Homeowners in foreclosure;
  • Elderly adults; and
  • Low-income individuals and families.

    There are legal limitations when it comes to real estate transactions. Home buyers and sellers should be wary of fraudulent acts such as forgery, qualification fabrications, and aggressive sales tactics. For example, a real estate agent may qualify a mortgage that a buyer is not eligible for or is unable to repay. In this type of fraudulent loan, agents might also forge documents to help home buyers close on these properties.

    Also, say your annual income does not qualify you for the type of loan you want. In the act of fraudulent activity, a real estate professional may pad your income or blatantly falsify numbers in order to get you through to the approval stage. On the surface, this may seem helpful, but is illegal.

    Predatory lending is another type of scam that usually involves door-to-door sales promising home loans for zero money down or no credit check necessary. Interested parties are often unaware that at the signing stage, these loans result in inflated fees and interest rates. Similarly, aggressive sales tactics make homeowners believe their services are the only option available for them to buy a home.

    First time homeowners rely on real estate experts to have their best interests in mind and may not have the knowledge necessary to make a well-informed decision. When a person or business uses deceit to gain an advantage serving their own self-interest, they face the chance of crossing the line into unlawful territory. If you have been victim of real estate fraud in California, contact an experienced San Jose business law lawyer today to discuss your legal options. 

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