If you’re setting out to sell your home in Minneapolis, you’ll have to differentiate legitimate offers from scammers. The choice to try to get a cash offer leaves you vulnerable to scammers — so you should know what to look out for.
Accepting a cash offer on a home is a legitimate way to quickly sell your house and comes with many advantages. With that in mind, here’s what you need to know to avoid house buying scams in Minneapolis.
Spotting a House Buying Scam in Minneapolis
Many different house buying scams can trick sellers. They range from the “wire transfer scam” to the “we pay cash for houses” scam and even to loan flipping.
All of these schemes hinge on duping vulnerable homeowners out of large sums of money and hoping they’re now too embarrassed to report the incident.
When trying to spot a house buying scam, look for:
- Over-eager buyers or investors
- Claims of upfront expenses/commission
- Unprofessional contact details
- Last-minute changes in sales arrangements
How to Avoid Being Scammed
When trying to spot a house buying scam, knowledge is power. The real estate market can be confusing to first-time sellers or people trying to immediately sell a house at market value, and scammers seize that opportunity.
To avoid being scammed, remember:
- Cash flows from buyer to seller
- Your agent will never ask for bank or personal details by email
- Beware of mirrored phone numbers and emails
- Look for typos
- Beware buyers with limited direct contact/availability to talk.
Here are a few more crucial tips in detail.
Know Who You’re Negotiating With
Typically, when selling a house in Minneapolis, you deal with one realtor or real estate agent. If that person changes suddenly, or their contact number looks slightly different, suspect a scam.
Ask who you’re speaking to and offer to call back when your usual contact is available. If you feel uncomfortable turning into the telephonic inquisition, just call your agency. They can confirm the call was legitimate, and if it wasn’t, you’ve avoided a scam.
Also, watch out for home buyers or investors with limited availability. Typically, this type of scammer is based remotely, making contacting you directly impossible, either because of time differences or limited English. They might work through an agent or lawyer.
These are all hallmarks of a scam. Look into the agent your prospective buyer is working with, and if anything feels off, trust your gut.
As you sell your house in Minneapolis, be mindful of contact details for home buyers and agents. Typos in emails or on business cards are always a red flag.
Mirror numbers are another red flag, these telephone numbers are almost the same as a number you trust but with a slight difference. Always follow these signs up.
If you don’t feel comfortable turning into the telephonic or electronic inquisition, a quick consultation with the Better Business Bureau will help tip you off to a nascent scam.
Research House Buying Process
House buying scams in Minneapolis thrive on lack of research, especially because people selling their house go into the experience with certain preconceptions. Knowing what to expect will help you spot a scam before it’s started.
For instance, when you accept an offer for a house, it’s often possible to negotiate closing costs. And if you’ve opted for a cash buyer, then the closing time is flexible and can be arranged to suit you.
Watch out for:
- Additional Expenses
- Evasive or unavailable investors
Keep Your Information Safe
However you choose to sell your Minneapolis property, understand that no legitimate home buyer will ask for your personal details by email or telephone. The people who need them already have them.
Emails asking for bank account details or last-minute transfer changes should be considered scams and can be confirmed as illegitimate by a quick call to your prospective buyer. While you’re at it, you can tip off the Better Business Bureau to the fraud.
Types of Scams to Look Out For
Regrettably, there’s more than one type of house buying scam in Minneapolis, and homeowners need to be alert to all of them. Of these, the two most prevalent are cash offers on house scams and wire transfer scams.
We Pay Cash For Houses Scam
While selling your house as-is and off-market is a legitimate way to promptly set about selling your home, someone offering cash for homes is not well-understood by the average homeowner, which makes the practice rife with scams.
Typically a cash home buyer is looking to acquire a house without the hassle of loans or mortgage that they can either sell on at a gain or rent out to others.
We pay cash for houses scams aren’t unique to Minneapolis but are still worthwhile looking out for. They’re particularly insidious because they prey on vulnerable homeowners looking to sell their houses quickly.
Houses in foreclosure, suffering tax liens, problematic tenants, or even severe mold or water damage are all vulnerable to we pay cash for houses scammers. In this scenario, the scammer will make an offer that’s just enough to cover your outgoing expenses, either on mortgage or taxes or the predicament that has you selling the house in the first place.
Increasingly, the buyer will start demanding expenses, saying it’s comparable to the commission real estate agents take for selling your house. This isn’t true, any commission realtors get, they receive after the sale has gone through. And the cash flow should always go towards the homeowner, not the home buyer.
Anything else is a red flag that you’re being scammed. Here’s more information on what you should honestly expect to spend when selling your home in Minneapolis.
Wire Transfer Scam
As we spend more time on our email, the Wire transfer scam becomes ever more prevalent. The scammer begins by using an email that looks enough like the business you’re in contact with. Then they tell you the wire transfer instructions for your new property have changed.
By the time you recognize scam and scammer, the money is long gone, probably to a remote off-shore account that’s hard to trace.
Always be wary of emails advising your money transfer has changed. If you receive an email to this effect, first check the email address for any signs of fraud or email mirroring. Importantly, you should immediately contact the realtors or real estate agent helping to sell your house and double-check the wiring instructions have changed.
Instructions are unlikely to change and even less likely that your agent would confirm the change by email. By calling in person, you’ll cut the scam off at the pass and save yourself money in the process.
What to Do If You’re Scammed When Selling Your House
Scams happen more often than you think. What’s surprising is that only a handful of scammed homeowners report the homebuying scam to the authorities.
If selling your home in Minneapolis in any way subjects you to a house buying scam, act fast and report the fraud to the authorities.
As you prepare to sell your Minneapolis house, be alert for signs of scams.
Be wary of:
- We buy houses scams
- Wire transfer scams
And look out for red flags that indicate scamming, such as:
- Limited availability of agent/buyer
- Last-minute banking instruction changes
Of course, not all fast cash offers are scams, and not all-cash buyers are opportunistic real estate or investment scammers. If you’re looking to sell your house for cash in Minneapolis, get in touch. We offer a fair cash offer and make sure the process is transparent, reputable, and reliable.