Volatile markets create opportunities for entrepreneurial investors. Today's housing market is a good example. Subprime problems, foreclosures, sliding prices - all of these factors are generating opportunities for investors who have an eye on the long term.
On the flip side, however, the smell of money will bring unscrupulous con artists out of the woodwork and into your neighborhood. These characters prey primarily on unsophisticated new investors who are looking for a quick buck, but they can target more expereinced real estate professionals as well.
Do you know the warning signs?
Most professionals have a general idea of how the basic collusion scam works, but here it is laid out in its five basic steps. There are a lot of varriations on this general setup, but this is the basic plot:
It's not just the buyer who gets bitten, it's the whole community. Bogus appraisals and sales drive tax values up, burdeoning nieghbors. Boarded houses start popping up as properties fall into foreclosure. And it gets harder and harder for the residents of the community to sell their properties as hones buyers are driven away.