What is vacant land theft? What happens to the real landowner, the title company, and the buyer when it’s over? I’ll explain today.

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What is vacant land theft? How can someone steal vacant land?

A recent case study in Las Vegas revealed a series of the latest scams, frauds, and schemes happening in the real estate industry. I would like to thank Tidemore Title for teaching me about these scams so that I can share this information with you.

Vacant land theft has happened in Las Vegas multiple times. Basically, the culprits search county records to find out-of-state owners of vacant land. Most of these owners reside in California.

Once they find the owner of the property, they do a background check on the owner and learn everything they can about them. Then, pretending to be the landowner, the culprit places an ad for the property in a local newspaper, selling the property at a very low price.

Let’s say the property is worth $400,000. They’ll market the property for $70,000. As a result, they’ll get a lot of interest in the property and receive an offer.

They will then direct the offer to a title company that might not have a very cohesive system or sold processes in place so that they can get the transaction through.

Once the culprit opens escrow, they commit a large amount of fraud or forgery. They also stay “out of town” throughout the deal. At the end of the deal, they tell the title company to send the money to a “family member’s account.” As soon as the money hits the account, they withdraw and run, sending the money elsewhere.

So, what happens to the real landowner, the title company, and the unfortunate buyer in this situation?

The good news is that this is covered by title insurance. The landowner will lose the use of the property while the transaction occurs. Eventually, the transaction will get undone and the deed will be transferred back to the rightful owners.

The buyer has to wait for their money to be refunded through title insurance.

The title company then loses the money for insuring a fraudulent sale.

Vacant land theft does cost everyone a tremendous amount of time and energy to get everything resolved.

This is not the only scam happening in the real estate industry. We’ll explore all of the ways that people are using technology to scam people in real estate.

Technology has done a lot to improve the real estate industry, but it has also opened us up to some risks that I want you all to be aware of.

I’ll go into more detail about this in my next video. In the meantime, if you have any real estate questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!