Having an aggressive career in Real Estate sales affords me the opportunity to talk to hundreds of people per week about this HOT, HOT, Houston market. People want to know how to get into the real estate business? Does Kristi really make any money? More importantly, how can they make money “flipping” houses, with no money down, and no education – like they saw on TV? These questions come with the territory and give me a better perspective on what some of the needs are in the market. However, as of late, when I approach perspective clients to give my business card, I am asked a different question – can I talk with them privately about their “situation“? In essence, them being caught up in some type of mortgage fraud. There’s not just one type of mortgage fraud, but many “situations” that an unsuspecting person can get involved in, but once it’s done, and money changes hands, it is almost always too late. What kinds of real estate deals should you question??
· Someone offering an investment “opportunity” to you, with no money out of your pocket, no experience in real estate or investing, no requirements of you other than the use of your good credit score.
· Contracts, paperwork, or any documents claiming that you earn more money, have a different job title, or work at a different company, than you actually do. Don’t sign anything with false information on it – ever.
· Investment “opportunities” in which you purchase more than one property at a time, and are promised that tenants are already available to move in and pay the monthly notes on these homes. In reality, could you really afford to pay 3 mortgage notes totaling $7000, if you had no tenants?? If these homes were to foreclose, because a tenant skips out, whose name would they be under? Yours .
· Be leery of companies or individuals who don’t want you to ask questions. If everything was on the up and up, why would they care???? Ask, Ask, ask again!!
· Ask the company or individual what is their cut of the money or return? How much will they make from the deal? It’s never zero, and trust me, they don’t like you that much to give you free money!!
· Remember that mortgage fraud is a business, and most of these individuals are very savvy sales people and are great at persuasion. Don’t rush to do any deal, until you become a savvy investor yourself.
· These are only a few tips in a world of very complex and involved transactions. As with any deal, ask your real estate professional to represent you, and if need be, get your lawyer to look over any paperwork before you sign a thing!!
So what should you do if a once in a lifetime deal comes across your plate???? Ask the business or individual for references, (not testimonials, they could be fake). Check out the business with the better business bureau, www.bbb.org, to see if they are an actual business and if there are any complaints against them. Ask to see past deals on paper (the profit and loss statement) and in person- meaning drive by the property yourself. Research, research, research!! The normal individual doesn’t have all of the tools that a real estate professional has, but there are many ways to do your own due diligence. Check out, www.hcad.org, to see the tax records, owner(s), and approximate value of a home. Also check www.zillow.com, to get an approximate value for the property you are interested in. Checking with a real estate professional who will answer questions and also represent you, can give you added comfort. Lastly, if something doesn’t feel right, you can’t find this company through any research, or if the “opportunity” seems too good to be true, simply don’t sign any paperwork and definitely don’t extend your personal credit!!