How to protect yourself from black realtors

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Many people run the risk of falling for the bait of scammers in real estate transactions. Thousands of people suffer at the hands of black realtors in our country every year. Many of them lose their apartments, and sometimes it all ends in tragedy..

How to insure yourself against such situations? What do you need to know to recognize apartment swindlers before the sale or purchase of an apartment? We will talk about this in this article..

Who are black realtors

Sometimes “black realtors” are referred to as solo realtors who do not have the appropriate licenses to carry out real estate transactions. They usually offer a standard set of services: buying and selling apartments, renting premises, etc. They differ from “white” realtors in that they do not guarantee clients the fulfillment of their obligations. In this case, the client is not threatened with particularly large losses, and the maximum that you will lose by working with such a person is a deposit and time wasted in vain.

However, there are also such scammers who use criminal schemes in their work. For example, forgery of documents, illegal eviction of people and subsequent disposal of their property. Such criminals are united in groups with which notaries, law enforcement officials, and officials work. As a result of the criminal actions of these scammers, people suffer.

How black realtors work

In order not to fall into the clutches of criminals, you should know what schemes they use in their work. The most common techniques are:

  • illegal privatization;
  • “Elimination” of the owner of the apartment;
  • sale of real estate to several buyers at once;
  • forgery of documents;
  • withholding negative information about the acquired property from the client;
  • banal theft of money at the time of the transaction.

The main tools of black realtors: fake powers of attorney, apartment documents, stamps, passports, etc. It should be noted that both socially unprotected segments of the population and rather wealthy citizens can become victims of such fraudsters. Of course, different deception schemes apply in each case..

Forcing the owner to sell the apartment

The most common schemes for taking away housing from the poor are illegal seizure of documents, as well as coercion (sometimes with the use of outright violence) to sign a power of attorney for the sale of an apartment or a contract of sale.

How black realtors work
J. Dadley. Punishing a boatman. 1804

In this case, the victims are lonely pensioners and citizens suffering from various mental disorders. Also at risk are the unemployed, people leading an antisocial lifestyle, abuse of alcohol or drugs. Criminals choose those who have no close relatives: it is easier to take housing from them. When signing documents for the sale of an apartment, such people remain on the street.

Sale of apartments with fake documents

Another typical form of deception is the provision by black realtors as a potential seller of real estate a person who, according to the law, has no right to dispose of this property. Usually, in such cases, the apartment became the property of fraudsters using forged documents: powers of attorney, wills, court decisions, etc. Of course, such actions provide for criminal liability in connection with the presence of corpus delicti under Art. 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – fraud. However, this does not stop criminals..

Unequal exchange

Also, fraudsters are interested in citizens with large debts for utilities. At first glance, they are offered a profitable option – paying off their debts and exchanging a problem apartment for cheaper housing of a smaller area. Realtors take the difference in the cost of apartments as payment for the services rendered. In reality, scammers provide people with not just a smaller apartment, but a barn with a complete lack of living conditions. As a rule, deceived citizens cannot count on more. As a result, people actually end up on the street, and scammers manage their apartments..

Fraud with a deposit

When wealthier and more prosperous citizens become victims, the deception schemes are completely different and more complex. In this case, black realtors usually use fake documents or outright deception..

Fraud with a deposit
Peter A Cerreta. Liar Liar Liar. 2009

The most common option is to disappear with a deposit. Be careful! After inspecting the apartment for sale and the buyer’s consent to the transaction, the realtor usually requires a deposit. A standard deposit, as a rule, is a small amount (40-50 thousand rubles), which is included in the price of an apartment. If they require a more impressive deposit, several times higher than this amount, you should be wary and think about the purity of the transaction.

Conscientious realtors carry out all transactions openly and honestly. At the time of the transfer of the deposit from the buyer to the seller, a special deposit agreement is filled out in the agency, which must have the appropriate signatures and seals. Black realtors rarely sign a contract. In the best case, you will be given a receipt for the deposit for the apartment. In this case, the procedure will take a couple of minutes and can be carried out both directly in the apartment and in the car or even on the street. This is unacceptable and should make the client think about the honesty of the agent. If such a realtor completes the transaction with real estate, then there is always a possibility that the legal purity of the documents has not been verified, and in the future the buyer may have many problems with such an apartment..

Transfer of original documents to the realtor

At first glance, respectable real estate agencies also often use not entirely clean techniques. For example, in order not to miss a good client, realtors, when concluding an agreement with the seller for the provision of services, sometimes prescribe a clause in it, according to which the client, upon concluding the contract, undertakes to transfer the original documents for the apartment to the real estate company. The fact is that when the originals of documents for real estate are in a real estate office, the seller will not be able to transfer to another company and will be forced to obey all the requirements and conditions of realtors. This also applies to the cost of the apartment being sold, which can be sold much cheaper than you expected. Therefore, when signing an agreement with realtors, even with large companies, you should carefully read all the clauses of the agreement.

How to avoid becoming a victim of scammers

When making transactions with real estate, whether it be a sale or a purchase, you must very carefully choose a realtor. Sometimes, it is better to overpay for quality professional services than to give your money to scammers. The specialist understands that responsibility for the client’s real estate falls on his shoulders.

How to avoid becoming a victim of scammers
Rene Magritte. The spy. 1928

Of course, the big name of a real estate agency cannot 100% guarantee the safety of the upcoming transaction. Hence we conclude: even when contacting well-known companies, you should not forget about vigilance. It is necessary to read in detail the documents that you sign. If you are not sure and have doubts about some points, then it would not hurt to consult a professional independent lawyer.

Please note that the contract signed with the realtor must specifically indicate:

  • what services, in what time frame and in what volume, he is obliged to provide;
  • what is the realtor’s service, how much does it cost, including:
    • showing an apartment,
    • search for potential buyers,
    • search for suitable options,
    • paperwork for a transaction, etc..

At the initial stage of cooperation, it is also important to determine the circumstances of termination of the contract and penalties for the parties for violation of its terms..

When making real estate transactions, it is very important to check the history of the apartment, namely, whether minor children, disabled people, etc. are registered in it. It will not be superfluous to identify other applicants for real estate, especially if the owner is the owner by inheritance. This will help avoid future surprises. There are cases when, several years after the purchase of an apartment, other applicants for this housing appear, whose interests were infringed upon during the transaction.

Also, relatives of potential victims should be on the lookout. If you suspect that someone close to you may suffer at the hands of black realtors, you need to be insured. There are several options for this:

  1. You can register in an apartment, this will not allow criminals to carry out any real estate transactions without your consent;
  2. Prepare documents for inheritance, which, in the event of any illegal actions by third parties, will make it possible to appeal the transaction with the apartment in court.

In order not to become a potential victim of apartment scammers, it is important not to start the issue of paying off utility bills. Currently, there are opportunities for low-income citizens to receive subsidies, negotiate with utilities on debt restructuring, and much more. The main thing is not to let the problem go by itself, and there is always a way out..

Remember that nowadays almost everyone who wants to sell or buy real estate can become a victim of black realtors. The reason may be both legal ignorance and banal carelessness when signing contracts. Such an important transaction should not be trusted by little-known and unverified agencies or private realtors..

If you have already suffered from scammers, then you need to fight, but you should not despair. As a rule, the actions of black realtors always contain corpus delicti under several articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: forgery, fraud, coercion into a transaction, theft, causing property damage by deception, and much more. Therefore, you have every reason to appeal to law enforcement agencies or the court. In any case, the criminals must be punished and their rights protected. Every year, several dozen criminal cases are initiated in the country against apartment swindlers.

Also, the state decided to help citizens who lost their homes as a result of fraudulent actions. Recently, the government proposed to amend the Federal Law “On state registration of rights to real estate and transactions with it”, which provide for the payment of compensation to victims of the actions of black realtors.

The bill assumes that the state, by a court decision, will pay a loan to citizens who have lost their homes as a result of illegal actions of fraudsters. It is noted that the amount of compensation will not exceed 1 million rubles.

According to this bill, both bona fide buyers of real estate, the transaction with whom is contested in court, and owners who have lost their property due to the fault of criminals will be able to claim the payment. However, it should be noted that only those for whom the lost housing was the only one will receive compensation. If the second apartment or summer cottage is contested, then the state will not compensate for the losses.

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