Buyers Beware

by Nick Molnar on January 24, 2007

After linking to a recent story on mortgage fraud in South Bend, I discussed the issue with several people in the housing industry. Minutes after talking about it over lunch, my office received a phone call from a California based investor inquiring about a $10,000 South Bend house he found on E-bay. After ten minutes of frank discussion, the gentlemen realized it was neither the investment he hoped nor what it had been hyped to be.

This prompted me to investigate South Bend investment properties online, and I found many on Craig’s List. I replied to several ads requesting more information and have heard back from one poster. The ad is headlined $8100 PERFECT STARTER HOME OR RENTAL INCOME, and includes basic information and a photo of a house in South Bend. The response was:

Thank you for your interest in our property listings. We have several houses on the market, so please follow the link below to the house that you are most interested in. Thanks!

The links he mentioned were in fact a single image linked to an E-bay auction of a house in Michigan. As I write this, however it redirects to an auction of a different house in Pennsylvania. There is also a new scam alert on Craig’s List which refers to the property I originally inquired about.

If you are interested in real estate investments, be very cautious of these scenarios. Real estate differs from may investments because it is rarely hassle free. Whether you are buying to rent or sell, you should realize their will be unexpected problems to deal with. If you are not in the same state as your property the difficulties grow quickly. If you insist on putting your money into real estate without seeing it first, consider investing in a REIT or enlist a Realtor you trust. It’s probably also wise to follow the old saying: If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!

If you need an honest assessment of investments in South Bend, contact me:

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