Margaret Rome's Blog

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Ever Dealt With A Con Man

 

Have you ever had a con man as a buyer? 

Years ago, I had a buyer who wrote an offer on a vacant exciting home close to our Baltimore Harbor.  He was so smooth, he was so confident and he was a charmer.  It was going to be a quick settlement and I was waiting for his proof of funds before submitting the full price offer. 

Did I mention he was smooth?

This charmer made contact with the other agent and was convincing that he had a great investment just for her. He got real 'friendly' with that listing agent with assurance he was buying. 

She was somehow smitten and gave him the keys to this property... not only before settlement but before it was ratified, which never happened.

He, along with some friends, moved in, had some wild parties and did some serious damage.  

Have you dealt with a con man?

Would you like to share your story?

 

 

con man 

 

'Con' is short for confidence.

'A con man gains trust and confidence and then is able to cheat the victim.'

 

Know your buyers!

Do your research!

Be Careful!

 

Margaret Rome

 

 

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Broker-Owner HomeRome Realty 

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Author of Real Estate the Rome Way

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Comments

Wow! What a story and what a mess. Thankfully, I have not had to deal with any con people.

Posted by Mary Ellen Holleran (Holleran Real Estate) about 2 months ago

Good evening Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland ,

I have to say in the 27 years I've had my license I haven't encountered a con man. I'm sure we are seeing more of it now than ever..you have quite a story!!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 2 months ago

Hi Margaret- I haven't but how did they get him out, or did they? It's good that you shared this so that others will be aware of this. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 2 months ago

Mary Ellen Holleran Hope you never do but I do hope you are able to identify a con man. Trust your instincts.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Yes I did - also a smooth talker that lied through his teeth. Conned me, the attorney, the sellers, everyone involved. Then disappeared.

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) about 2 months ago

Yikes, Margaret. That’s quite a story. Can’t say I have had an experience like that, thankfully. I had a buyer from Canada some years ago who tried some shenanigans but we figured it out quickly. Another good example of why you do not want to hand out keys to the buyer before closing.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 2 months ago

Dorie Dillard   You have been fortunate and ... astute enough to recognize one before it was too late! 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Kathy Streib They were able to get them out once it was discovered...it was a vacant property. Not sure they were able to collect on the damages.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Margaret Goss Hopefully it only happened once. Are you willing to share your story?

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Jeff Dowler, CRS You were smart and aware enough to know and recognize those shenanigans.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

I'd say I probably have. 

Had a listing, the seller was formerly licensed. Used the listing and 6 months of my time to market the home and additional property just to get a specific agent in to show the property. Once that agent did, my broker was fired and they closed the deal. 

The seller is now onto the next best thing and if karma is true, it will take of my situation.

Posted by J.R. Schloemer, CRS (Kentucky Select Properties) about 2 months ago

I recently closed a transaction with a local agent that sure lead us all around the mulberry Bush and down the garden path but when threatened with legal action and a complaint to the commission he finally settled.

Posted by June Piper-Brandon, Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time (Remax New Beginnings ) about 2 months ago

Anytime keys are provided before close of escrow, I shudder a bit.  The most frightening con story I am aware of, is one that happened years ago to another agent in my office.  I had a really good spectator seat.  A buyer represented by another brokerage wanted to use a vintage car for earnest money deposit.  The buyer also needed to move in prior to close of escrow.  Rather than counter or reject the offer, the seller against the advice of their agent felt some desperation to sell, and agreed to the offer.  It all went down hill after that.  The contingencies to the sale, acted as major stumbling blocks to a sale which was supposed to be "as-is."  The buyer was obviously a con man.  Oh, and that car that was used as deposit. The buyer wasn't even on the title.  I was so glad to be only a witness to it all, and not a participant!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) about 2 months ago

Good morning, Margaret... all I can say is WOW! I've not run into a con man (or woman) in 25 years of being a broker... not even close. Then again, I can smell people like that from a mile away.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC) about 2 months ago

Myrl Jeffcoat Your story would make a great blog. Happy you were not involved.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Nina Hollander Those con men/women have a very different smell. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

 

June Piper-Brandon Maybe you can write about that transaction...changing the name to protect the not so innocent. Like your new photo. Good to see you in the Rain.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Holy smokes that's some story Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland . Can't believe that agent gave him the keys.....beyond stupid!  I can't think of any con story in the moment, if I do I'll be back.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) about 2 months ago

Good grief, Margaret.  I'd be interested to know what the consequences were for the agent that gave him the keys.  I hope they were, at the very least, held responsible for the damages. 

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) about 2 months ago

Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker She thought she had a quick "get rich" deal...meeting with the buyer/con man.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Carol Williams You see,.they tried to blame me since I brought him to the property. Luckily, I never had access to the keys. Not sure what happened after I had a phone conversation with her broker...not too sure if she is still in the business. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

If she is still in business, she shouldn't be!

Posted by Carol Williams, "Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services" (U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business.) about 2 months ago

Hi Margaret,  Wow!  what a story!  I've had some doozies too but my instincts are sharper now but I may be dealing with one right now.  Will know for sure in just a little while. I hope I am wrong!!!!!

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) about 2 months ago

Ricki Eichler McCallum Sharp instincts is what we thrive on. Like how you have your radar tuned it. Let us know what happens. Sounds like the making of future blog!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

I will definitely let you know how it goes. Sometimes. we have to take a chance but it is nerve wrecking until we find out.

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) about 2 months ago

Ricki Eichler McCallum But it certainly makes for interesting conversations.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Margaret, that is for sure and maybe we can help someone else not be fooled.

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, - Your Coastal Bend Home Source (CastNet Realty) about 2 months ago

Only once.  A guy came in and wanted to buy a home for cash.  He provided proof of funds.  His two buddies always went with us on showings.  We made an offer and headed toward closing.  What I didn't know was that his 'buddies" kept telling him he needed to send money to the title company and lender.  Long story short, they stole all his cash and he was left broke. 

Posted by Jeanne Gregory, The most important home I sell is YOURS! (RE/MAX Southwest) about 2 months ago

Ricki Eichler McCallum And that is the reason for writing...to educate others. Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Jeanne Gregory 

 Wow...what a story.

Sounds like his ''buddies'' were also ''the lender and the title company?"

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Thankfully I have not been conned but have talked to many whose stories just didn't add up. I remember one early in my career where the buyer wanted a landing strip for his airplane and had a million to spend. Very few spend that much in Clarksville and he didn't either. Other agents in my office told me to beware that it wasn't real so I was cautious.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) about 2 months ago

Now that’s a con story for sure! I’ve had a few circling around but luckily they all fit the same mold. They talk big, want attention and are usually full of themselves.
They come in all kinds of disguises but easily spotted.

Posted by Teri Pacitto, Real Estate, Your Style...Your Home...My Specialty (Compass) about 2 months ago

Debbie Reynolds Being cautious and aware keep us from being taking in by a con. We have all heard  stories that just don't add up. 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Teri Pacitto Easily spotted if you are aware and cautious. Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

I have met a few over the years and can usually figure them out very quickly.  The worst I ever dealt with was a “flipper” who convinced me to invest with him - he bought the houses and I would finance the repairs and we would split the profits.  Sad thing is he flipped the house and left me with approximately 40k in credit card debt I can’t possibly pay.  He is extremely smooth and I am finding more and more people he has scammed.  Being a single one income person I am literally sick over the entire mess as he has not put me in such a bad position I have no choice but to file bankruptcy and I am physically ill over it.  Cryin

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) about 2 months ago

Lots of people out there looking to live off others. Such a shame we cannot trust people more.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) about 2 months ago

Sharon Tara We have to be so careful not to get scammed but also not let it affect how we treat others. There are a few bad apples everywhere. Trust but verify.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Yes - and we never did quite figure out the con. Two guys came to town and began making offers on fixers - anything with a low, low price. After they were accepted, they woud disappear, then come back with a story.

They did "close" on one property - a seller carry contract. They wrote a personal check for the down payment, so the closer held off on closing and distributing the funds for several days. She didn't learn that the check bounced until 2 or 3 days after she had closed out the file.

All we can think is that they were taking the accepted offers back to the Seattle area and getting money from investors - which of course they never spent on the houses.

Posted by Marte Cliff, your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 2 months ago

Margaret, wow, my jaw is dropped thinking of what the other agent did. If it sounds too good to be true...I find most of the con's claim to have cash and then when proof of funds are requested they get angry I won't just run out and show them places. If my gut is telling me something is off I trust it, too risky not too!

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group) about 2 months ago

Marte Cliff This post has opened a whole new meaning on scam. I am receiving calls of how our own industry is being scammed. The problem: the con men are smooth, going after single, divorced and widows. Getting close with them, borrowing money, paying it back right away and then getting them for large sums. These are smart women who have been taken...first romantically..then for large financial losses. Too embarrassed to report so these con artists continue to do the same over and over.  Just wondering how can we help?!

 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Amanda S. Davidson The story in this post is relatively simple in comparrison to my comment #40

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

 

Here is my follow up post

 Amanda S. Davidson 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 2 months ago

Margaret, I am concerned when I see agents that are so hungry for a deal they drop their guard and do not take proper precautions. Thanks for sharing this valuable experience, I hope it will help us all to be on the alert.

Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL Real Estate GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) about 2 months ago

We have scammers come into the market place whenever it crashes. I've been through 4 cycles and they always show up. Many are the 100% financing guys who try to take loans "subject to" have the Seller generate cash out of the deal by refinancing a 2nd on the property so they can credit back the Buyer for alledged carpet repair, etc. Scammers. We had someone put into our MLS a property which the agent was buying as a "short-sale". He was "flipping" a possible purchase of his short-sale in progress! Never happened. 

Posted by Mike Kelly,CRS,CIPS, "One of Sonoma County's Natural Resources" (The MJKelly Team) about 2 months ago

Hello Margaret and yes Vegas Bob has dealt with Con Men before and maybe someday I will share a story with you.

Your post has been featured to the group:

LATE NIGHT - EARLY MORNING AT ACTIVERAIN

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Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) about 1 month ago

Never experienced a real con man... unless you include car salesmen!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) about 1 month ago

Apparently charm got that man everything!  Haven't had any serious charmer/con men just the random stuff we all see.  That's a valuable lesson for anyone though.  Never give out keys until a deed records!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) about 1 month ago

Robert Vegas Bob Swetz I will be looking forward to your sharing the stories...please don't wait too long.

Thanks for the feature  in your special group.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 1 month ago

Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC And that a good thing. You have been very aware and have not been taken advantage. Congrats!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 1 month ago

Jan Green A charmer he was. This guy could look you straight in the eye and tell you a lie...not even a flinch. I think this agent, if she is still in the business, learned her lesson!

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 1 month ago

Unfortunately, con men and women prey on their victim's desperation to secure something, usually of value and their inability to walk away from the deal. John Wiley, #43 ratifies this phenomenon, so, before paralysis, investigate and validate not only the prudence of the offer or transaction but the producer.  Wisdom comes from lessons learned from our journey of our life. 

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 1 month ago

Kimo Jarrett Oh so true! 

'Wisdom comes from lessons learned from our journey of our life.' 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 1 month ago

OMG that is one bad agent to hand over the keys.  We get a lot of those types in Hawaii... they come and go... they get spat out pretty fast actually.

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) about 1 month ago

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 I could see how that could happen in Hawaii.  We all have to be aware and on guard.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 1 month ago

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