The first time was just odd. The second time, scary. The third time, totally aggravating.
About a month before closing, one of my sellers who was still living in the home called me. He said he chased a landscaper out of his backyard. The landscaper told the seller that he had been hired by David, the new owner, to do some work around the pool. There were just a couple of problems. The new owner was a Juli, not a David; the house hadn't closed out of escrow yet; and my seller knew better than to allow ANYONE who hadn't been hired by him to do ANYTHING to the house or grounds. Since there was another home two doors down for sale, listed by another agent in my office, I called her thinking maybe the landscaper had the wrong address. Our signs look so much alike except for our names and phone numbers. But she said the buyer for the home she had listed was also a woman and she'd never let her seller have any work done by a buyer before closing either. So, I just put the whole thing out of my mind.
Two weeks ago, I drove onto my street. I have a listing right across from my house and I knew there weren't any showings scheduled for that morning. Yet there was a red pickup truck in the driveway, and a man planting flowers around the tree in the front yard. I parked and went over to have a chat with him. He told me that his boss sent him over to do some work for the new owner. That was really odd because the house wasn't under contract and there was no "new owner" to request this. We had a nice long conversation. He was supposed to come back the next day and put sod in the backyard, too. The backyard does need sod! But this was all still very odd. He told me that the job was scheduled through Home Advisor and that the new owner's name was David and that the work had been prepaid. Nope. Nope. Nope. He put the front yard back the way it was and went on his way. I texted him the next day to see if he had any more information on "David" but he didn't.
Then early Monday morning I got a call from a general contractor, asking me questions about the same house for sale, across the street from mine. He was very apologetic, but wanted to know if my seller had reached out to him through Home Advisor to have some interior painting done. Like the missing sod, this house could use some fresh paint! But I assured him that my seller did NOT request an estimate. He told me the whole job sounded strange - the new owner (you guessed it! David!) wanted an estimate from photographs, then the estimate would be paid, and the painter could pay the "agent" who would be there to let him in to start the job a little something. He sent me these screen captured texts:
I attempted to text David a question about the paint and texture job, got a "hello" response, but when I asked the name of the agent who would get me into the house, I never heard from him again.
The painter was very appreciative that he didn't go out of his way to provide an estimate for non-existant work and that he wasn't sucked in to this scam.
This very same house, when it was up for rent about 6 years ago, also had scammers trying to get people to send them the rental money. Fortunately the shrewd potential tenants saw my sign in the yard and called me.
It is dangerous out there! Stay alert! I have been trying to contact Home Advisor but their wait times on hold are horrendous.