Be on the lookout for vacant land scam
Dec. 7, 2022
The Utah Department of Commerce issued a press release today warning about a scam related to vacant lots and land parcels. Fraudsters are using public records to find vacant lots and then posing as sellers to list the property either on third-party websites or in some cases on MLS sites.
The Department of Commerce recommends watching for the following red flags:
- The listing involves vacant land (in rare circumstances, vacant condos)
- The seller is not in Utah, and may claim to be out of the country
- The seller will only sign documents remotely and will not have someone meet locally
- The seller won’t provide detailed information about the property. Typically, they are unable to provide information about club memberships, HOA dues, HOA transfer fees, utility charges, water rights, water shares, etc.
- The vacant land is being listed for well below market value
- The seller is in a big hurry to close
- A seller acts aggressively or aloof
When listing vacant properties and representing buyers looking for vacant land, agents should take extra precautions to make sure the seller actually owns the property:
- Research the name of the seller and check their photo ID
- Take additional steps to identify ownership of the land
- Ask specific questions about the property details
Report deceptive listings to the listing site, brokerage or Division of Real Estate at realestate.utah.gov.