Vacant Lot Fraud and Non Owner Occupied Sales on the Rise in Nevada

In the past few months there has been an alarming increase of Vacant Land fraud in Nevada, including owners and renters falling victim to someone listing their property without their knowledge.   It begins with a phone call from an individual, who usually is from another state, and is in some sort of distress. Either they are in hospital or there has been a death in the family, and they need to sell their property quickly and below market value.

Some of the red flags to look out for are:

  • Seller purports to be in another state or country
  • Seller is in a rush to close and is willing to sell for a price that seems undervalued
  • Seller seems unconcerned with withholding or closing fees and is only interested in
    receiving net proceeds as quickly as possible
  • Seller only communicates with the agent and other parties involved by email
  • Seller provides a reason for limited contact such as working as an “offshore engineer” or
    suffering from a serious medical condition
  • Email from the seller contains typographical errors or boilerplate language
  • The email address is suspect (a domain in a foreign country)
  • Seller claims questionable need to use a power of attorney and the agent under the
    power of attorney has never met the seller
  • Seller ID appears suspect with use of cut and pasted photos or is devoid of security
  • Signatures of seller and/or notary are suspect
  • Seller is not currently located at the address listed in the county tax records
  • Documents provided by the seller are notarized in a location other than the seller’s
    purported location
  • Wiring instructions are to a bank in yet another location

It is wise to register your property with the Assessor of your State.   You can now sign up for Email Notifications if a document is recorded on your property using the Recorder’s Office . The Assessor’s office in Washoe County just released a new Recording Notification Service.

If you are a Real Estate agent it has been recommended through the American Land Title Association that real estate professionals independently search for the identity and a recent picture of the seller, request an in-person or virtual meeting to see a government issued identification, never allow sellers to arrange their own notary closing and be on alert with a seller accepting an offer price below
market value in exchange for the buyer paying cash and closing quickly.

Sadly it has now become necessary to take theses actions to protect your real estate in Nevada.


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