Owning and Renting Property

Avoid Fraud When Buying or Selling Your Home

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Your home is likely the biggest investment you have. Whether you’re buying or selling a home, understanding the process will help you make smart financial choices and avoid legal complications. Check out these simple rules to avoid making costly mistakes:

Know how to choose a good team.

While many people buy and sell real estate on their own, if it’s not something you do every day, be sure to qualify the professionals you decide to work with. Interview several real estate agents and check references before you commit to one. Also make sure your home inspector is properly qualified and licensed to inspect property.

Another important team member is a real estate attorney, who plays a different role than an agent. While most agents are excellent representatives, they may not be aware of all the legal issues that should be considered in a real estate transaction. An attorney hired by you is there to represent your interests and ensure your rights are protected. Consider working with an attorney who will help you understand all the legal documents and exactly what legal liabilities you have accepted.

Know what lenders can and cannot do.

Understand what your financial limits are and don’t be swayed into borrowing more than you can afford to repay. Don’t let anyone persuade you to sign loan documents with missing or incorrect information such as your income, debts or length of employment.

Don’t sign anything you don’t understand.

Mortgage documents can be complicated and lengthy. Take the time to read what you’re signing. If you need help, consider reviewing the documents with a skilled real estate attorney, a trusted real estate professional or a housing counselor with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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