Property seekers generally use one of two approaches. Renters as well as buyers can either look for properties themselves or turn to an estate agent. In the first case scenario, a good first place to look would be adverts in daily newspapers or large internet portals. However, caution is advised: Especially on the internet, you might be confronted with potential fraudsters. In this article we will show you how to recognise dubious market players and their most common tricks. But of course even this cannot guarantee absolute security. This can only be offered by professional and experienced real estate brokers.
It should be said right at the start that fraudulent offers mostly appear in highly contested property markets where demand is high. This means you should be particularly watchful when seeking property in popular cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg or Munich. In these markets there is a high probability that you will come across the one or other dubious offer during your search. The most common strategies include variations of the so-called security deposit or advance payment fraud. In this case you would be confronted with an ad that appears trustworthy and presents impressive high-gloss pictures of a dream property in a prime location – at a surprisingly low price. It is precisely this below market value offer which is used as bait, and it should be interpreted as a warning sign. Ask yourself: why would a reputable provider offer his property below market value in a tight market? A further warning sign would be a notice from the provider that he is unfortunately not in the country at present and that, for this reason, it is not possible to view the property in the normal way. Often, this goes hand in hand with an incorrect use of language and missing contact details. And if, on top of this, the interested party is asked to put down a security deposit in advance – for example in order to get the key to view the property – it is high time to report the ad to the respective platform operator. Once the money has been transferred, it is already too late most of the times. The recipients cannot be traced and the interested party has fallen for a costly scam.
Supposed offers by fraudulent brokers
The duty of a reputable estate agent is to execute all the steps necessary for the conclusion of a real estate transaction on behalf of the seller or lessor. For this he receives a commission after the conclusion of the transaction based on the value or rental price of the property. Dubious real estate fraudsters posing as estate agents, on the other hand, do the following: they place an ad for a “stolen” property that exists, but is not part of their portfolio. They then tell interested buyers or renters that this property is no longer on the market and offer them lists with other properties instead, against a charge. Once again, caution is advised. If you are asked to make an advance payment, you are probably dealing with a fraudster.
A professional estate agent offers security
As has become evident, seeking property without professional help is associated with certain risks. Would you rather be on the safe side? As one of the world’s leading real estate companies, we can look back on many years of experience in the brokerage of high quality real estate. We attach great importance to transparency and reliability. Visit our website to learn more about our service.