AG warns consumers to be aware of 'We Buy Homes' scams
April 2, 2019
CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Shapiro Warns Consumers to be Aware of “We Buy Homes” Scam
Attorney General Shapiro is warning Pennsylvanians to be aware of deceptive advertising by businesses posting “We Buy Homes” signs on street corners. The signs are often a scam—looking to take advantage of Pennsylvanians suffering from debt, job loss, or other significant life changes and looking to make some fast money.
Businesses behind the “We Buy Houses” signs typically offer to purchase a consumer’s home for less than actual value, and the “Cash for Homes” scams can take two different forms. One targets those who are trying to avoid foreclosure. The buyer may promise relief from foreclosure, but will then take the deed without paying off the mortgage balance, leaving the home-seller ultimately responsible for the monthly payments and subject to foreclosure.
Another scam is when the buyer lures sellers in with promises to take the house “as is,” allowing the seller to avoid having to make repairs. However, the buyer will sometimes back away from that promise and demand certain repairs to their satisfaction before accepting a deed, leaving the seller footing the bill of the repairs after all.
“Pennsylvanians must be aware of scammers looking to take advantage of consumers looking to make money quickly to pay off debts or other expenses,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Signs offering to buy homes for cash are multiplying weekly on busy street corners, but these kinds of transactions are often scams that leave homeowners in even worse financial shape than they were before. These scammers are attempting to exploit Pennsylvanians in vulnerable financial situations, and my Bureau of Consumer Protection isn’t buying it.”
Attorney General Shapiro’s Bureau of Consumer Protection enforces the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law against unscrupulous buyers taking advantage of Pennsylvanians.
The Bureau encourages real estate consumers selling their homes to consider:
• Home Appraisal – Obtain an appraisal to know the market value of your home.
• Independent Professional Advice – Seek real estate legal advice to evaluate key terms of a “Cash for Homes” real estate contract.
If you believe you’ve been a victim of a “We Buy Homes” scam, you are encouraged to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting http://www.attorneygeneral.gov or by calling 800-441-2555 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.