You don’t want to pay a down payment for that dream home or vacation, only to realize a complete stranger has your money, and the property doesn’t actually exist. This nightmare happens very often in the Caribbean. Here are some vital tips to help avoid being a victim of real estate scams.
- Know if you’re dealing with an agent or an owner: If you’re working with an individual owner, get their personal address and phone number. Check the White Pages to see if they really exist. Also, Google search their name and email for further confirmation.
- Pay deep attention to conversations. Does their name or email address change each time? Does their email address contain multiple numerals or is suspicious? How quickly do they respond to your messages?
- Get references. A bank manager is an excellent reference, who can confirm the owners identity and possibly ownership of the property or accommodation. Also, request phone numbers of any property associations, condo management offices or homeowners’ associations they are affiliated with.
- Do not use a money transfer service, avoid western union/moneygram and similar services.
- Think before you commit. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If the property you’re considering is priced much lower than others in the area, that’s a red flag. Often scammers will steal photos of other properties and use them in advertising. If it seems unreal that the lavish, oceanfront villa with every amenity under the sun is available for half the price of other properties; walk away .
Did you know Claja Classifieds is now available to the Caribbean & United States? Add our Free Caribbean Classifieds and Free United States Classifieds to your real estate and vacation property search!