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4 signs of real estate fraud to look for before signing the deal

On Behalf of | Oct 20, 2023 | Real Estate Litigation

In the world of high-dollar commercial property transactions, vigilance is key to safeguarding your investment.

Real estate fraud can be a costly and devastating experience, making it imperative to recognize the warning signs that may signal potential trouble.

1. Inconsistent property documentation

One of the first red flags to watch out for is inconsistent property documentation. When reviewing property records, such as deeds, titles and zoning documents, ensure they align with the initial information presented. Discrepancies in property boundaries, ownership records or permitted land uses can indicate a potential issue.

2. Rushed or pressure-packed transactions

Fraudsters often seek to rush property transactions, creating a sense of urgency or pressure on potential buyers. If you find yourself in a situation where the seller is pushing for an immediate decision or is unwilling to provide sufficient time for due diligence, exercise caution.

3. Unusual payment requests

Another warning sign of real estate fraud involves unusual payment requests. Be wary if the seller insists on using unconventional payment methods, such as cryptocurrency or offshore accounts. Legitimate property transactions typically use standard payment channels, and any deviation from this norm should raise suspicion.

4. Discrepancies in property inspection

A thorough property inspection is an important part of the due diligence process. If you notice any discrepancies between what you observe on-site and the description in the property listing or by the seller, proceed with caution. Hidden issues, such as structural problems or environmental hazards, can lead to significant financial losses down the road.

During the first half of 2023, Los Angeles held the top spot commercial real estate market with $43 billion in volume, $6 million more than New York. With significant money and more at stake, identifying signs of real estate fraud in high-dollar commercial property deals is a necessity.