Purchasing land for the first time can be an exciting process. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for land selling scams when searching for available properties. That’s why Land Resellers has put together the following list of red flags to look out for to help you avoid a fraudulent seller if you happen to come across one.
How Land Selling Scams Work
Real estate scams are often created using information from legitimate listings online. They are then later reposted to phish for potential victims. When a potential buyer contacts them, a scammer will require a deposit to hold a property until you can view it in person. This process is then repeated until a scammer has collected a certain amount of money before disappearing altogether.
Keep in mind that it can be very easy to fall for these scams, especially if you’re extremely interested in a property or a first time buyer. While it may seem sensible to put down a deposit, you should always do your research and take your time when purchasing property.
A Seller Won’t Provide Detailed Information About A Property
If a seller is vague and fails to provide detailed information concerning the parcel number, annual property taxes, or exact location, this is a red flag for concern. A seller should always be forthcoming of basic information. If you can’t get them to provide any of these details, you might want to question the validity of the sale.
You Spot Multiple Listings With Different Seller Names
While it’s common to find multiple listings of a property on different platforms, it’s important to make sure the same seller is listed on each one. If a property is listed more than once and the seller’s name is different, there’s a good chance it’s a land selling scam.
A Property Sounds Too Good To Be True
While there are thousands of great deals out there, it’s important to be aware that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a property is priced much lower than surrounding properties and has everything you’ve ever dreamed of, it could be a land selling scam. Remember, you can’t buy oceanfront property in a landlocked state.
The Seller Is In A Big Hurry To Close
If a seller is in a big rush to seal the deal and you don’t feel quite right about it, listen to your gut instinct. A reputable seller will know that you will need to do your research in a timely manner. If you feel like you're being rushed, or a seller isn’t answering important questions, you may want to walk away from the deal.
Furthermore, if a seller tells you an incredible story tied to the sale of the land to explain their hurry or a great price, be cautious. While unique situations do occur, it’s important to take what a seller has to say with a grain of salt and be smart about your decision.
A Seller Isn’t Acting Quite Right
When it comes to selling land, a seller should be accessible and forthcoming with answering your questions. Even the most basic questions should be answered correctly and thoroughly. If a seller gives you vague answers or won’t answer your questions at all, it’s important to be skeptical. You should also be able to contact them via phone or in person. If you can’t quite connect with a seller and they only respond via email, this is a red flag alert of a land selling scam.
Tips To Avoid A Land Selling Scam
View A Property In Person
Before you purchase a property, it’s important to view it in person before you hand over any cash. Why? It helps you determine if there are any problems with the property that weren’t listed in the property description. Secondly, it will help you to verify that the land is the same property in the listing.
Keep in mind that many scammers list properties that are suddenly unavailable when you contact them. However, they have another property that’s for sale, which is often more expensive or in worse condition than the one originally listed. In fact, it may not even be in the same vicinity or town as the one you inquired about.
Make Sure A Seller Actually Owns The Land
One of the most common land selling scams is someone attempting to sell a property they don’t actually own or has undisclosed liens against it. That’s why you should always examine a preliminary title report prior to a purchase and sale transaction. This will ensure you are working with a reputable seller and provide you with a clear picture of the recorded title and any liens against a property.
Consult A Real Estate Attorney
It’s important to be wary of any off-market transactions when purchasing land. Also known as “sale by owner,” many problems can arise in these situations if the terms and transaction aren't put into writing. This can lead to unwanted litigation and disputes down the road. While there are many wonderful “sale by owner” opportunities out there, it’s important to consult with a real estate attorney to help protect you against scams and to ensure the terms and sales agreement.
- Research the name of a seller and check their photo ID
- Never give into pressure to sign anything.
- Avoid sellers who ask for money upfront and don’t make payments to anyone you haven’t met in person.
- Don’t purchase property sight-unseen - an “unbelievable” deal may be just that.
- Check the count records of a property to verify ownership identity.
In the grand scheme of things, most sellers are honest and have good intentions. However, there are still many land selling scams out there because some people feel the need to take advantage of others for their own benefit. At Land Resellers, we hope this article has provided you with useful information on what to look out for so you can avoid being the victim of a land selling scam.
Need some help searching for properties? We can help! As an online marketplace designed for buying and selling land, Land Resellers can help you search for specific land properties in different parts of the country that match your unique criteria and budget. With detail-rich listings, you can view important information like land type, location, acreage, price, and other specifications.