Who Are You?

Prove It

Your identity – and your house – have been stolen! Without you knowing, the fraudster transferred ownership, placed a large mortgage on your dream home and left you with a nightmare.

Few realize the growing incidence of real estate fraud against what may be the most important asset we own: our home.”

What Happens

“People who have been targeted by real estate or mortgage fraud face the difficulty of reclaiming their identity. They are forced to fix their credit rating, incur significant costs and time regaining their title to defend their ownership rights, or being burdened by a mortgage they haven’t arranged. Real estate fraud in the US costs between $4 billion and $6 billion annually, with over 1300 cases being investigated by the FBI, and the incidence of real estate fraud in Canada is on the rise.”

Be warned says Terrence Belford of the Globe and Mail. ‘Booming markets bring not only higher home prices but often a significant increase in residential real-estate fraud.” Quoting Ray Leclair, Vice President of TitlePlus, “we see instances of fraud rise with booming markets, especially in major cities.”

Leclair adds that “real-estate fraud is not confined exclusively to any upsurge in prices. “It can also take place years after you have bought a home, at a time when homeowners would not expect it.”

Not In Canada Eh?

Belford notes that “while there are no hard statistics on real-estate and mortgage fraud for Canada, in the United States estimates of annual losses run between $4-billion (U.S.) and $6-billion a year. In June, 2008, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation had 42 working groups investigating 1,380 cases – and that was after the U.S. real-estate bubble burst.”

Why Don’t We Know This?

Belford points out that according to Mr. Leclair, “industry statistics suggest mortgage fraud alone results in annual losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars which in many cases results in little publicity because banks are concerned about maintaining customer confidence – they just quietly absorb the losses.”

Did Your Realtor® Advise You?

We all want to be protected from problems. Being advised that such a problem exists is a beginning. It should be part of your Realtors® ‘Have You Considered’ checklist.

The immediate solution to protecting yourself against Mortgage Fraud is Title Insurance. It is one of those costs that should appear on your list of to-does when you buy a home. Many local insurance brokers offer this protection service at a reasonable cost. Check it out! It could happen to you and the benefit by far, outways the cost.

Extended reading

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About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

When Life Moves You - contact Larry:

*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

Reader Comments:

Roland Leung Says:
June 22nd, 2010 at 11:04 am

According to Rob Chipman’s 20th stat, Sales has picked up while inventory has peaked out.

Larry, are you seeing such youself?

Plus, what’s your take on the River Green 150 units being sold out the last weekend?

Does not look too promising for anyone looking for the beginning of the drop in Van housing prices yet?

June 22nd, 2010 at 2:40 pm

@Roland
I haven’t looked at Rob’s numbers, thus I’m not certain of which areas he reports on. He’s a pro so I will accept his numbers for what ever area he is reporting.

My sense of the inventory is that it is flattening.

River Green – what can be said – nice project that kind of reminds me of all the Hong Kong homes near the old Kai Tac airport. If you like airplanes it’s a great place. It will attract certain buyers who want what it has to offer whether they choose to hold or flip. Some will lose and others in time will win. I’m not privy to who is buying but I’m sure it would make fine cocktail gossip.

seven3 Says:
June 22nd, 2010 at 2:45 pm

River Green – did the 150 unit really sell out in 1 weekend?

Or was this another one of those developments where they sold units for 2 months prior to the “official grand opening”

June 22nd, 2010 at 2:54 pm

@seven
sorry – dont’ know.

RavingBull Says:
June 22nd, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Hi Larry,

I think realtors are right, lots of listings will be taken off the market, and sellers will wait to see if they get the price they are looking for down the road.

Then, as prices continue to fall and sales continue to soften (post HST and rate hikes), panic and fear will build, and help to continue to fuel a massive price decline. It all takes time.

June 22nd, 2010 at 8:13 pm

@Raving
you speak of a massive decline. Always curious, what do you see as a reasoned figure?

RavingBull Says:
June 22nd, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Hi Larry,

Great question. I put it at 4x’s avg family incomes.

As rates rise, folks will come to their senses and realize that a debt driven asset boom was foolish and not based on fundamentals. It was easy credit and mania driven.

In the end, the chickens come home to roost.

So that puts it at a 40% drop or so, assuming some uptick in salaries over the next 30-40 months.

Yes, I expect it will get ugly. I think/hope you do well, but I do expect the ranks of your industry (and related professions) will thin out – which will be good for the true long-term pros, so in the end its not such a bad thing.

Yes, I think its getting ugly, and yes I think prices are falling. Fear is building. Can’t see what will stop it from snowballing (I could be wrong, time will tell, but it looks ugly from my vantage point).

All the best Larry.

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