ALABAMA A&M and AUBURN UNIVERSITIES
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contact Donna Reynolds, Extension Assistant Editor
AUBURN, JAN. 29---Before you do business with a real estate company, check it out with the Better Business Bureau. Whether you are buying or selling property, always check out the company you are dealing with to ensure you aren't being scammed.
Fraudulent real estate deals generally take two forms, says Dr. Fred Waddell, Extension family resource management specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Fraudulent brokers tell consumers they can sell property for a high return, and fraudulent sellers sell bogus property to unsuspecting consumers.
Fraudulent brokers may offer to sell you interests in timeshares or other types of properties by saying the type of property is "hot" and the company has high success rates in selling similar property at prices equal to or greater than the original price. Fraudulent brokers also misrepresent the market and the size of their lists of sales agents and potential buyers for the property, says Waddell.
Fraudulent sellers of bogus properties use similar techniques. These con artists offer "valuable" property at unbelievable low prices. The property generally is located outside the geographical area of the targeted audience. Potential buyers may be required to pay up front for deposits,processing or brokerage of the land sale. At best, consumers buy worthless property. At worst, they receive nothing in return for their money.
Seeing is believing, says Waddell. Don't buy property based on pictures or representations. Consumers should be very careful when viewing property for sale over the internet.
For more information about avoiding timeshare and real estate scams, write to the Federal Trade Commission at Washington, D.C., 20580 or call the National Fraud Information Center, toll free at (800)876-7060.