Here at Teranet, we are constantly blogging about real estate and mortgage fraud because it is the biggest plague that exists in the real estate industry today. Fraud really does cost us all with more regulation, the burden to do more due diligence, and mortgage lenders being more stringent both when approving and funding mortgages for financing.
Mortgage fraud impacts every professional across the mortgage industry from real estate sales professionals, to mortgage professionals, to lenders, insurers and more. As an industry, we must collectively work together to combat real estate fraud.
You, the real estate sales professional, are the first line of defence against mortgage fraud! Often you are the deal originator because the entire sequence of transactions follows you engaging a client to buy or sell real estate.
Along the way, you’ve probably encountered real estate fraud either where you stopped it or suspected it but were not certain enough to take action.
Being a real estate fraud buster is easy and comes down to collecting and independently verifying some of your client’s information to ensure that there is nothing amiss.
After completing a preliminary interview with your client and gathering their basic information – there are 3 main things you will want to do to flag potential fraud:
· What are the parties to the transaction and what is their relationship to one another?
· Who is the legal homeowner of the property?
· How is the client financing their purchase? Where is the money coming from?
· What is the sales history of the property – previous owners and timing of transactions?
This is as simple as performing a property search using a tool that can validate all of the above in a single instance.
If something fishy comes up – it doesn’t necessarily mean your deal is dead in its tracks. It may just mean you need to ask more questions to either determine that a serious problem exists or that there is an innocent explanation for something that appears offside at an initial glance. For example – a property may have passed hands through related parties a couple of times in a short period of time, but upon further investigation the original owner was a grandparent so the property passed to an aunt and then the grandchild. On the other hand, a property changing hands a number of times in a short period of time between related parties, especially a lawyer, could signify a fraud scheme.
Your client will appreciate you for it because digging deeper shows them that you are a real estate sales professional who follows a high code of ethics and professional standards which is a big plus!
Use GeoWarehouse to conduct this due diligence and stop real estate fraud and all the resulting consequences. Visit www.geowarehouse.ca today.