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2011-11-26 21:29:23
Real Estate 'Scam' unfolds in Utah.

Real Estate scam unfolds in Utah!

As a Salt Lake Realtor you might think I would be on guard about scams involving Real Estate purchases. I recently had the opportunity to work with such a individual. A scam artist, not a good one nor was the plan successful or original. A few weeks ago in mid October, a request came through our website www.lindasecrist.com  Not unusual, we receive many requests for help and information on homes for sale in Salt Lake City and surrounding Utah cities. The request was simple, ' I am looking to relocate to the Salt Lake City area soon. Can you send me information on homes for sale in South Jordan, Draper and Sandy, Utah? Price should be in the 300-400k range with great curb appeal'.  As a Realtor who works with Home buyer's on a regular basis I knew this soon to be Salt Lake resident had reached the right Real Estate Team. Yes, I can and would love to help you find the right home. I knew of several homes in Draper that I had shown lately, a Draper Short sale that needed a offer immediately and a new Bank Owned home in Draper. I also set up a hotsheet from our Real Estate search site with all listings from all Realtors on the Wasatch Front MLS that matched my prospective home buyer's criteria. Homes for sale in South Jordan, Draper and Sandy under 400K with great curb appeal.  I then emailed the link to the Real Estate listings webpage I had created and went back to work on other clients and home buyer's needs.

 The Real Estate red flags begin to be thrown!

The next morning I awoke to find a email with a short message. I would like to make a offer on this South Jordan home. I like the curb appeal very much. Please make the offer for 300k and send the documents in a docusign format.  I know the saying about being too good to be true. I still couldnt help but get excited and in the back of my head I was thinking it could happen, I could finish out the Real Estate year with a easy sell, a blind cash offer with a fast close date. Heck ya, it should happen to me. I have had my share of difficult Real Estate transactions this year. I am due. I have done the right things, I have been honest and fair in all my Real Estate business practices. I have volunteered  time and supplies to schools and charities, worked with the cub scouts and even donated my own blood. It could happen to me. I prepared the forms, Real Estate Purchase contract, a buyer broker agreement and a addendum to the Real Estate purchase contract. I uploaded the forms and emailed them to my new client. I also requested  proof of funds or bank statement for the cash purchase and a disclosure for home buyer due diligence. The next day I received the signed purchase agreement and contacted the seller who just so happened to be a the Real Estate listing agent as well. I explained the offer and the circumstances surrounding this client. I provided proof of funds, a bank statement showing a balance much greater than the purchase price that my buyer had sent me earlier. I expressed my concerns about a blind offer and that we really wouldn't know if this buyer was for real unless  the offer was accepted and the earnest money became due. The agent agreed and I notified my client that the offer to purchase this South Jordan home had been accepted. We now had 4 days to wire the earnest money to be held at the title company. I then received a email stating that a check had been sent via postal service. My hope starts to fade and i realize this is not a good sign. Anyways, the 4 days come and go and we extend deadlines and earnest money receipt dates for several weeks. Checks in the mail. Again, it's funny how many people I meet who are waiting for the big payday, a check to come in. My hopes for a easy pay check fade each passing day until finally I receive a call from the seller who btw is a fantastic Real Estate Agent asking me if I had googled my buyer name? I did google the name prior to ever submitting the offer and came up with a famous Japanese dancer but apparently the same buyer had been negotiating with a Real Estate Broker from Utah County under same circumstances and it hadn't worked out (READ THE ARTICLE). The good news is when I received the call the next morning that the earnest money check did show up and several red flags, the $20000 earnest money check had turned into a full purchase price plus a extra $50,000 difference in agreed upon in the Real Estate purchase contract. It almost made me laugh. This is a Real Estate scam? c'mon, how did you expect this to work?  I feel sorry for the time wasted by the seller, Real Estate agents, and title companies. The biggest concern, I think, is that somehow this individual did obtain a bank statement that showed someone else's account balance. The authorities have been notified but I seriously doubt many man hours are being spent investigating this Real Estate scam. For now, I will continue to take calls about South Jordan homes for sale and respond to emails concerning Draper Real Estate. I will always believe that it COULD  happen.. and maybe it might happen to me.  

Linda Secrist's Salt Lake City Real Estate Home Page Salt Lake City Real Estate Draper Utah Real Estate Holladay Utah Real Estate Sandy Utah Real Estate Tremonton Utah Real Estate South Jordan Utah Real Estate Salt Lake Cities Top Real Estate Agent

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