Beware! Home Advisor App SCAM

Real Estate Agent with United Real Estate TX #0552717

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 Home AdvisorANYONE 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:


Home Advisor

Home Advisor


Home Advisor 1






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.






Posted by

Lorrie Semler, REALTOR
United Real Estate Dallas

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Comments (10)

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Well another scammer on the run. Thank goodness you tracked this down. Thanks for sharing it with all of us so we are aware it could happen anywhere.

Jan 02, 2020 01:23 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Just mind-boggling how these scammers keep coming out of the woodwork, Lorrie.

Jan 02, 2020 01:39 PM
Jim Patton
Aspire Home Real Estate 209-404-0816 - Modesto, CA
Realtor - Stanislaus ,Merced, San Joaquin Counties

It seems like there is always someone ready to reach into your pocket.  I have had my listings show up on Craigslist in the past listed as for rent.  Everyone just needs to be careful, and if the deal sounds too good to be true, It probably is!

Jan 02, 2020 02:54 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

What the Heck?!?  That's weird and scary!  We have to verify, verify, verify everything these days.

Jan 03, 2020 08:45 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Wow, that's a crazy thing. I'm glad you were able to stop those three contractors but what the heck?

Jan 04, 2020 06:07 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Oh my word. I am so sick of these bottom feeders. It's really sad to see the effort many put into scams.  

Jan 04, 2020 08:49 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD I really can't figure this one out. If someone did show up to collect money to let the contractor in, they wouldn't be able to get in. Unless it was an agent working in cahoots with the scammer.

Jan 05, 2020 12:01 PM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

Lorrie, thanks for bringing this to our attention.  HomeAdvisor needs to address the situation asap or customers will take their business elsewhere.

Jan 04, 2020 10:22 AM
Chuck Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

I wonder if this could be a cyberstalking case and they are using homeadvisor to get their work done. Case in point, here in Utah one family was badgered by a cyberstalker who sent up to twenty different people per day- vendors a service persons of all varities to do work, deliver pizza and performed "personal favors". 

It took a year to find and arrest the cyberbully.

Jan 05, 2020 06:06 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Chuck Willman That is AWFUL! How did they finally catch the culprit? 

Jan 05, 2020 12:14 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Obviously this is a scam, but what is the purpose? Why is someone ordering work on vacant property? Who is benefiting? Boggles the mind. 

Jan 05, 2020 08:35 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

Mimi Foster Only one of my two listings this happened at was vacant. The other was occupied, and this being Texas, could have gotten really ugly really fast.

Jan 05, 2020 12:15 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Lorrie:

That's pretty bizarre, but then there are all types of scammers out there and we can't be too careful. Hope you can get in touch with HomeAdvisor  - they need to know, although perhaps this sort of thing is common with them.

But like Mimi Foster said, I don't quite get the purpose.


Jan 05, 2020 02:00 PM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417

The only thing I can think of is the scammer and an agent who can open the Supra lockbox are working together. The contractor shows up, pays the agent, and gets inside the house to do the estimate.

Jan 06, 2020 05:59 AM