If you’re shopping for a house or condo throughout San Diego, whether a Scripps Ranch condo or a foreclosure in Julian, you should arm yourself with knowledge and awareness of possible tricks and fraud.

Get your advice from a trustworthy real estate attorney or realtor, and rely on sources such as openoffer.com when seeking advice.

Make sure to ask your contacts plenty of questions. The more knowledge you have under your belt, the more successful your buy will be. Get all the details about a deal or offer, and make sure you do your homework on a company before it’s too late.

Ensure everything is in writing. You may have had a great conversation with your lender one day and formed an expectation about how a deal will go, but unless it’s in writing, that negotiation could go down the drain. Make sure you protect yourself with documentation.

Looking for deals in today’s real estate market can be a risky business. Before you shop for your new home in San Diego, beware of warning signs of fraud or other scams designed to target homebuyers. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation offers a number of tips:

Watch out for companies that ask for a fee up front to work with your lender and refinance or modify your home loan. They may take your money and provide no assistance at all. Counseling should always be free.

Beware of guarantees. Some companies promise they will prevent foreclosure or modify your loan, but it would be impossible to make these guarantees. HUD-approved agencies may counsel you on avoiding foreclosure, but your lender will ultimately make that choice.

Don’t trust a company that requests you make mortgage payments to them. Despite what some scams might lead you to believe, you should only pay home loans to your lender, and any issues should be negotiated with them.

Some companies promise “government-approved” house loan modification. Don’t trust them off hand, but do your homework and make sure they are actually working directly with your lender

Avoid companies that request your personal financial background. Before offering your sensitive finance information, make sure the company is legitimate.

Finding the perfect home is an exciting business, but make sure the house or condo you are looking at shows all the signs of a reliable deal.

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This is filed under Home Buying.

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