How to Avoid Real Estate Scams | Condo Tips

Dec 28, 2021

One could fall victim to charming sellers with great sales pitches. It’s also easy to trust someone when that person is referred by someone known as trustworthy. Every investment is a risk including the chosen person to be trusted the hard-earned money with. 

Learning how to spot warning signs and purposefully NOT ignoring them will prepare homebuyers with the life skill of vigilance. Especially for first-time buyers of real estate properties, the home buying process needs to be clear, and delving into details must be part of due diligence. Here are a few words of wisdom to prevent getting ripped by scammers.

Paperwork reveals

The boring task of reading every fine print is way better than giving your millions away and chasing it later with costly litigation. Read every item in the Contract to Sell and payment terms, review the vicinity map, floor plan, and master plan. 

A buyer would confirm if things like tissue holder, shower enclosure, bathroom rack, etc., are included in the purchase by reading the contract to sell. It also contains the technical description and exact measurement. Any inconsistencies will be grounds for another negotiation.

Imagine having purchased a preselling condo for a certain measurement only to find out its actual measurement is four square meters less—check thoroughly where the money is going.

A seller who is not ready with documents even before a closing date is a red flag. These documents take time to produce on hand. Scammers will promise to send the documents after receiving a certain amount of money--It’s an expensive trap.

Many still fall victim to insufficient disclosure and get surprised with hidden charges that significantly change the price they need to pay for so requiring breakdowns of fees will lessen the risk of paying more than you’re agreeing to.

License, license, license!

Tricksters brave many laws just to take advantage of having access to easy money. They target the unsuspecting, meek, and uneducated. Sadly, Filipinos have the culture of turning to god when they have been cheated on. It cannot continue since the people have just gotten used to diversifying investments.

The real estate broker an individual is transacting with can be verified by checking the license number on the Professional Regulations Commission’s (PRC) website. This government body seeks to strengthen the conduct, work ethics, and standards of professionals engaging in a high-risk buyer-seller relationship just in the case of real estate sales. If that doesn’t apply, call, or email the developer to verify if the property specialist making deals with is indeed actively associated or accredited.

The project where the property is being built needs a License to Sell, which is listed by the Philippine government through the Department of Human  Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) website. Without having verified this, no transactions should be entertained. 

If the PRC license and License to Sell were taken care of, don’t stop there. Ask for proofs of payment on the association dues and Real Property Taxes because buying this property makes one assume all costs in processing ownership if one is not careful. Ask clarifications on vague details, validate the company’s credibility and track record—see if the company has pending projects or records of late turnover or mismatch on the building plans. It disappoints buyers that a pool or gym is not built after years of waiting.

Vista Residences is a reputable company that you can partner with. With great records of delivering projects on time, strategically chosen locations, and leasing services.

Site visit

It doesn’t matter if a condo is being purchased as an offshore investment. Having someone else verify the existence of the property can always be done. Have the unit or site inspected by a professional, check if it is indeed ready for turnover and make sure that there are no occupants. Understand the neighborhood and demographics, notice the traffic conditions in and out of the area where the building is located. 

Scammers are all around the internet, image editing programs are available for flawless proof of transactions, fake identification—underestimating fraudsters is not a wise move.

Meet the seller or sales agent… face-to-face

Because people have face masks as a valid excuse for not having to show their faces. But there are millions at stake when it comes to real estate investing. Require a license, Valid ID, and at least a zoom meeting. Bear in mind that these are professionals, and they should not mind being asked for identification documents. Plus, sellers see a good sign when a buyer is more vigilant. It demonstrates the sincerity of the buyer and a wise decision-maker.

Relying on a website to verify credibility is still a huge risk since anyone can create a fake profile on a website and mix it with credible information that makes everything believable. A person who is unwilling to meet in person or through zoom is a no-no!

 Know the market value of the property

The market value allows an investor to spot inconsistencies. If a property is being sold at a much lower price that it should be, there might be something an investor needs to know. Especially now that most properties are offered at a lower price, knowing the reason for selling might not just be limited to a seller’s financial status. It could be because it’s not yet titled, or it’s sold to two people. The marketplace could shock one in terms of major changes, and it also allows investors to spot possible scams. You should also be aware of the real estate laws in the country that will be helpful for everyone. 

As in the case of any investment, a good level of skepticism is helpful. Once the contracts are signed and payments are being made, keep the receipts as proofs of payment. Vista Residences has an online payment system that allows an investor to easily keep records of payment. 

The company name and reputation already validate and secure the minds of prospective buyers. Checking important details is the duty of the investor before handing down the hard-earned money. Educating people about how to avoid fraudulent transactions is all over the internet. In every venture, calculating the risk is essential for risk management. 

If you are looking for a new home and condo, Vista Residences is the best option for you! Vista Residences is the condominium arm of the country’s largest homebuilder, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. that offers rent-to-own, ready for occupancy and pre-selling condominium projects in Manila, Makati, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Ortigas, Baguio, Cebu, and CDO that are strategically located within major cities, in close proximity to premium universities, transit-oriented locations, and developed business districts.

For more information on Vista Residences, email [email protected], follow @VistaResidencesOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, or call the Marketing Office at 0999 886 4262 / 0917 582 5167.

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