Real estate is one of the foundations of society. Most people will buy or sell at least one property during the course of their life. People will also rent a home to put a roof over their heads. Everyone needs to be aware that the concept of real property has a highly specific legal definition. Many laws apply to the buying and selling of all forms of real property. Each of these laws must be carefully observed. Buying any form of property typically means following a series of steps. The same is true of those who wish to provide property for commercial or private rent. Laws govern all sorts of processes. A person who is planning to buy a home or rent a property from a landlord will need to fill out a series of documents that have a legal basis. The same is true of applying for a mortgage or any form of financing for the home.
The concept of real estate fraud may apply if someone makes any kind of false statement when they are buying or selling a property. When people engage in this kind of transaction, they are doing so in good faith. Each party to the transaction must be able to trust that any statements the other party makes are accurate to the best of their knowledge. One party is not allowed to make false statements such as overstating the value of the property or lying about the fact that they are own when they do not have possession legally.
Real estate fraud as a crime may happen in several different ways. It may come into play when someone asks for appraisal of the home’s value. The appraiser may not give the buyer an accurate estimate of the actual value. For example, the home seller may have actively decided to hire someone to appraise the property and have them agree to increase the home’s value in return for a sum of money. Other actions can also be considered a form of real estate fraud. In general, real estate fraud falls into two categories.
There is what is known as borrower fraud in which the applicant states assets they do not have and therefore cannot afford the property. A buyer may have made false statements about their credit rating and other assets they own. Another general type of real estate fraud is what is known as lender or professional fraud. Lender fraud typically takes the form of engaging in activities that are not allowed under law such as using the borrower’s information for personal gain. Each type of fraud is considered quite dangerous under state and national laws. All those who are involved in the process of property buying and selling in some way must make sure they are acting in good faith. They need to make sure they have done their best to provide everyone involved in the transaction with accurate information about their financial circumstances and background.
Intent is Crucial
Government officials consider any type of real estate fraud a serious allegation. Those who are charged with this form of fraud may be facing all sorts of possibly serious penalties. A real estate agent who deliberately acts against the ethics of their profession in some way may face not only fines. They may also face potential prosecution and the loss of their real estate license. The same is true of professionals in the mortgage lending business or those who are licensed by the state in order to provide appraisal services.
Those who are engaged in real estate fraud by providing inaccurate information about their backgrounds may also face similar penalties. This can make it hard for them to ever buy a home again. This is why it is imperative to work closely with a real estate fraud attorney. Keep in mind that intent in crucial. Government officials must be able to prove there was deliberate intent to engage in some form of fraud. Minor mistakes will not fall in this category and will not lead to any kind of penalty. A real estate lawyer can help offer truly expert advice to make sure clients are fully protected.
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