Ensuring a Safe & Sound Transaction
By and large, most players in the real estate industry are respectable business people. However, like everywhere else, there are also black sheep, so that property sellers are victims of fraud from time to time, which often ends with enormous stress and financial losses for those affected.
In the following, I will give some tips on how to recognize reputable land buyers and thus protect yourself from fraud:
A. Verify the identity of the buyer
Verifying the identity of a land buyer is an important step in protecting yourself from land buyer scams. Here are a few ways to verify the identity of a land buyer:
1. Check their address and phone number: Verify the buyer’s address and phone number by checking online directories or by contacting them at the number they have provided.
2. Check their online presence: Check the buyer’s online presence, such as their website and social media profiles, to see if they have a history of suspicious activity.
3. Check online sources: Check if the buyer is legit by doing an internet search. Here are a few places to look for business information:
B. Conduct a thorough background check
Check if the buyer has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. The BBB is a non-profit organization that aims to promote ethical business practices and to help consumers find trustworthy businesses. BBB allows customers to leave reviews and complaints about a business. Here are a few ways to check if a company is trustworthy by checking their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile:
- Check the company’s rating: The BBB assigns ratings to businesses based on factors such as complaint history, time in business, and transparency. A company that has a high rating with the BBB is generally considered to be trustworthy.
- Look at the number of complaints: The BBB website provides a summary of the number of complaints a business has received, and how the business responded to them. A business that has a high number of unresolved complaints may not be trustworthy.
- Read customer reviews: The BBB website allows customers to leave reviews about a business. Read through the reviews to get a sense of the overall customer experience, and to see if there are any red flags.
- Check for accreditation: The BBB has an accreditation program for businesses that meet its standards for ethical business practices. A business that is accredited by the BBB is generally considered to be trustworthy.
- Check for government actions: The BBB website also provides information about any government actions taken against a business, such as lawsuits or fines. A business that has been subject to government actions may not be trustworthy.
C. Only close with a reputable title company
Closing with a reputable title company is beneficial for all parties in a real estate transaction. Here’s why:
- Legal protection: A reputable title company will have a team of experts who are familiar with the legal requirements for transferring ownership of land, and will ensure that the title transfer is done correctly and that all legal requirements are met.
- Escrow services: A reputable title company will typically provide escrow services, which means that they will hold the funds for the sale in a neutral third-party account until all the conditions of the sale have been met. This helps protect both the buyer and the seller, and helps ensure that the sale is completed smoothly.
- Title insurance: A reputable title company will typically provide title insurance, which is insurance that protects the buyer and the lender against any claims or defects in the title of the land.
- Closing coordination: A reputable title company will typically coordinate the closing, which includes preparing and reviewing the closing documents, and ensuring that all parties involved have the necessary information and paperwork.
- Experience and knowledge: A reputable title company will have experience and knowledge in handling real estate transactions, and will be able to handle any issues or complications that may arise during the closing process.
- Trustworthiness: A reputable title company is more likely to be trustworthy and have a good reputation, which will provide peace of mind for both the buyer and the seller.