Beat the Homeowner Scam Blues
Woohoo! You have just unpacked your last box and are ready to start enjoying your new home. But joy can quickly turn to angst if you get burned by one or more of these types of homeowner scams:
Do you remember the number of forms, documents, contracts, and disclosures you signed at your home’s closing? It’s easy to get caught up in signing whatever gets put in front of you, especially if the form or document seems official or important.
Scam artists take advantage of homeowners too busy to research what they’re signing by sending out fake utility bills, fraudulent deeds, mortgage repayment schemes, and free gifts. Designed to steal your personal information and tap into your bank account, don’t fall for snail mail and email that sounds too good to be true. Contact your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) or Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to see if similar scams have been reported in your area and your mortgage lender to verify if information or offers are legitimate.
Having enough life, home, and health insurance to cover your home in case of an emergency or tragedy is essential. But scammers can easily pull public records of home closings and send you offers of low-cost insurance that either doesn’t cover everything or costs twice as much. If you’re not sure you have enough insurance, reach out to your current insurance provider or a legitimate insurance company in your area and ask.
Did you know that CIS also offers insurance? Visit our site for more information!
Many tax jurisdictions offer a tax break on the property taxes for the house you occupy. This simple form is available on government websites and can be filled out and filed for free. Beware of scam companies that try to charge you to fill out the form. Contact your local tax office to see if the Homestead Exemption is available in your area and ask for a link to the online form.
Home Improvement Scams
According to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, US homeowners spend more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs. With that much money on the line, it’s easy to see why scammers are so interested in setting up bogus home improvement companies and repair or maintenance projects.
During warmer months, there is often an uptick of door-to-door scams from duct work cleaning and energy audits to paving your driveway to fixing your chimney or leaky roof. Be wary of contractors who promise to work at heavily discounted rates or claim they are doing work in your neighborhood. Many times, an initial “free” inspection or quote ends with high-pressure sales tactics for unnecessary, expensive, or inferior services and products. To find a reputable contractor, go to BBB’s Accredited Business Directory at www.bbb.org/search.
Enjoy your new home but watch out for the scammers. With a little knowledge and foresight, you can keep them at bay.
CIS Home Loans is a full-service mortgage bank and has served homeowners since 1991. The personal relationships we form during the loan process are as important as the loan itself. It’s why Character, Integrity, and Service make up CIS Home Loans’ name. Contact us or call us today at 800-844-4845.