It’s no secret that the UK property market is booming. Property prices are on the rise and foreigners are snatching up properties at a rapid pace. While this may be great news for sellers, it can be a bit daunting for buyers who may not be familiar with the process of buying property in UK.
When it comes to buying property, scammers are always looking for ways to take advantage of unsuspecting people. If you’re thinking of buying property in the UK, it’s important to be aware of these scams and take steps to protect yourself.
Here are some tips to help you avoid getting scammed:
- Estate agent tricks.
If you’re looking for a place to call home, it pays off in more ways than one when an estate agent is on your side. They can help with the process and give honest advice that may not be found anywhere else.
However, some agents use high-pressure sales tactics without understanding their buyer’s needs or desires which could lead them down some expensive paths (literally). Some of these sales tricks include booking more than one buyer on the same viewing, phantom offers from mysterious buyers and even using fear as an incentive.
When buying a house, it’s important to do your research and know what you can afford. You should also take the time needed for this process so you won’t be easily tempted to make an impulsive purchase.
- You have the freedom to choose a mortgage advisor.
You should be cautious of estate agents who push their in-house mortgage advisor. You are not obliged to use them and it is probably commission driven on the part of this person, so better seek independent advice from a reputable financial expert before making any decisions that will affect your success at securing property.
- Holding deposit scams on new build properties.
Fraudsters are always looking for ways to take advantage of people’s enthusiasm and anxiety about housing prices. One way this happens is through setting up as an agent working with new property development in the area, but there may be some warning signs before they get caught.
They’ll often set up a meeting in hotel lobbies or coffee shops near the scheme. Using high-pressure sales tactics, they convince eager (often first time) buyers that if you don’t act immediately then it’s too late for your chance at getting “something great”.
These scammers will ask you for a deposit before giving up their listing, but these deposits go straight into another account without being used on any actual sales. By time victims realise what happened, it’s already too late:
- Home hijacking.
Home hijacking can happen in many ways. The scammer might have moved into the property as a tenant, using false ID to fool his/her landlord and then changing their name by deed poll so that they match what is on file with local authorities for ownership of said properties.
Once sale has been completed, the buyer’s solicitor will have to register a property as new owner with the Land Registry and notify real owners. But by the time fraud is spotted, criminals are long gone.