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  1. #1

    Default This was a real first (and a case of good timing)

    Yesterday afternoon's inspection was on a cute little 3BR house on a slab. Completely renovated (properly done, with permits and everything), and looked in pretty good shape. I'm going around with the client while her agent was off trying to reach the seller's agent to ask a question (and the house was in a cellular dead spot), when there's a knock at the door. At the door is a man and his girlfriend, who asked, "Are you the leasing agent?" "Um, no, I'm the home inspector, and this is my client, who has is purchasing this home."
    "What?" the lady says. "Well, we just signed a lease on this place this morning and were coming by to take a look at it."
    My client started to panic a little, and there was a little tense back-and-forthing. The couple produced the lease, and the name of the owner was correct. But something was hinky... According to my clients, the property owner lives in Maryland. This couple's paperwork stated she lived in Dallas, TX. They were told they would get the keys overnighted to them upon receipt of their deposit.
    *Ding*Ding*Ding* go the alarm bells in my head. "Did you find this rental on Craigslist?" I asked. Yes, they did.
    I warned them that this could very well be a scam. The buyer's agent had returned by this time and they compared paperwork; the signatures on the two documents were nothing alike. "But the owner's name is right," my client said. "That's part of the public record," I answered. "Anyone can look it up." The agent agreed with me; he said it tends to happen more with properties that have been vacant for a long time (this one was empty for 2 years).
    The couple was skeptical, but they left and I continued the inspection. When we were wrapping up the report review, the agent got a message from the would-be renters. They had investigated and, indeed, it was a scam. They had decided to come see the property before sending the deposit money, and if we had not been there doing the inspection, they would have lost quite a bit of money.
    So in the end, everything worked out just fine, due to extremely fortunate timing.

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    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: This was a real first (and a case of good timing)

    Neat story, and have heard of this happening.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: This was a real first (and a case of good timing)

    One of the agents I work with sometimes told me a similar story which is basically a slick way to take this scam even a step further:

    Cash buyer is in town for a short time and must see a certain property at a certain time (her listing). On site he/she tells the agent to please not say much to the people coming by since they are friends who want to see the house but have just been through a traumatic experience and don't want much contact (or, fill your favorite story as to why to keep a distance).

    A couple weeks later she gets a call asking if she knows where they can get the keys for their new rental that they put down a couple thousand on. Of course, the would be renters have to be pretty clueless to not ask why the house has a "for sale" sign in the front yard but it's a pretty slick setup that unfortunately might work.

    Agents really are sitting ducks a lot of times. Another agent just told me a story of a couple coming into her open house are while one distracted her the other found her purse which was hidden in a cabinet and they were off. Before she even knew her purse was gone the police called because they found it (minus the credit cards and anything else of quick value) in a parking lot.

    It never ceases to amaze me how crafty dirt bags a can be. Imagine if they put that effort towards something good how successful they could be.


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