How to avoid housing scams in Seattle
Real estate scams in Seattle and nationwide are on the rise.
There are a lot of different types of real estate scams out there and unfortunately, with digital transactions increasing due to COVID-19 and inflation on the rise, the number of scams has increased significantly. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, there was a loss of about $350 million nationwide in 2021 due to real estate scams, which was a 64% increase from the year before. Even though scams are on the rise, you can avoid them by learning about the various types and ways to dodge them.
Different types of housing scams
Housing scams can come in various forms, from property fraud in Seattle to renter’s scams to foreclosure scams. People tend to try to take advantage of others who might be in a time crunch or stressful situation, or they prey on the seller’s hopes of making money on a house sale. Scams can happen at various points when selling your house in Seattle. They can even happen to buyers and people looking to rent a property.
Real estate fraud in Seattle
One of the most common types of real estate fraud is the falsification of property deeds. In this scam, perpetrators may steal your mail to get confidential information and copies of your signature. They then file a fake property deed with the Seattle county clerk's office and, on paper, the property has changed hands. This type of scam is hard to undo for the rightful property owner and can take a lot of time and money to reverse. If you think this has happened to you, contact the King County Clerk’s Office.
Foreclosure relief scams
When people are in stressful situations, they tend to not think clearly and may jump at the chance to receive help. Scammers hope that people under pressure won’t ask too many questions when they try a foreclosure relief scam in Seattle. They target people who are on the verge of losing their homes and promise to either work with the lender to change the loan terms, or to help the homeowner with complicated paperwork to make them a part of a government relief program. Then they ask for a large upfront fee for their services, without ever providing any assistance. They just pocket the money and disappear.
Unfortunately, this type of scam almost always ensures that the homeowner loses their house to foreclosure in the end. Many times, the homeowner is worse off because not only have they lost the lump sum of money, but they may have been advised by the scammer not to contact their lender themselves, so they haven’t been communicating with the bank on how to actually stop their foreclosure.
“Cash for houses” scams in Seattle
There are a lot of different investors and companies that offer cash for houses. Sometimes you may see signs on the side of the road or on telephone poles offering to buy your house for cash. Some of these investors may be legitimate, but some of them could be scams. It’s important to thoroughly look into any individual or company that you plan on doing business with. Some “cash for houses” scams may ask for an upfront fee or use a tactic where they send you a check for higher than the agreed-upon purchase amount and then ask for you to wire the difference back to them.
According to The Spokesman-Review, Dustin Engelken, government affairs director at Triangle Apartment Association, stated, “You certainly don’t want to make payments to somebody that you haven’t met, or which isn’t going directly to the legitimate company. You want to do some extra research.”
There are also people who try “we buy houses” scams in Seattle. Sometimes people try to piggyback off our name, so homeowners think they’re working with the reputable brand We Buy Ugly Houses®. If you contact someone from a sign on the side of the road, be sure to ask a lot of questions about their experience. Look for them online to see if they have a website, reviews, and a physical address. Those things aren’t always easy for a scammer to fake.
Sell to a company with over 25 years of experience.
At We Buy Ugly Houses, we understand that selling a house in Seattle can be a daunting process, especially with the increasing risk of real estate scams.
We don’t use pressure tactics to get you to work with us, and our guided selling process ensures that you are in control every step of the way. When you work with us, selling your house isn’t just a transaction—it’s a relationship built on trust and transparency.
We are committed to working with you to ensure a smooth and successful home-selling experience, and we take great care to provide you with personalized service.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. You can read the reviews of our customers.
If you have any questions about how to protect yourself from scams or about our process, call 866-200-6475 or fill out our contact form to have a member of our team reach out to you.