Quick sales adding fraud risks for real estate agents -…


Rapid property sales may not be as good as they look, an industry figure has warned.

Recent figures released by Rightmove indicate that the time it takes to sell a property has halved over the past three years.

Time on the market has fallen from an average of 67 days three years ago to just 33 days now, according to data from the portal.

However, the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) says this fall isn’t necessarily good news for everyone.

Spokesperson Jonathan Rolande warned: “On the one hand, quick sales sound good, but on the other hand, it can open the door for fraudsters who might see it as a chance to try and capitalize on the fast nature of chain.

“Real estate fraud is already a massive and growing problem and those who fall victim to it often end up losing a lot of money.

“Real estate agents and lawyers are on the front line when it comes to detecting and preventing real estate fraud.

“However, if they are overworked and too busy as they rush to close a deal very quickly, detectable signs of a problem could easily go unnoticed.

“With lawyers harder to contact and many of whom now operate remotely, more and more work is being done by email. Chances are you won’t speak to your conveyancing lawyer, let alone meet with them.

“Fraudsters know this and therefore try to intercept emails to divert property sales money to their own bank account. Never pay anyone based on an email requesting money. Always verify using a trusted number or a face-to-face conversation with the recipient.

Rolande, co-founder of House Buy Fast, said the supply shortage was also adding further pressure for surveyors, as buyers want to secure sales and avoid missing out on a property.

He added: “There is also increased pressure on property surveyors at the moment. Could this race to finish faster and faster mean they are missing something? It’s possible. With ownership, the devil is in the detail.

“Deeds and leases are difficult to read at the best of times, but they often contain vital clues to possible problems.

“I wonder if those accepting quick sales also include buyers who are willing to turn a blind eye to structural and repair issues, knowing that losing a property will likely mean paying even more for a similar property down the line. It is a high risk strategy.

“Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid unnecessary risks like this, because you could accumulate problems down the line that end up being very expensive to fix.”


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