Investing in real estate in Ghana can be a lucrative endeavour, but it’s not without its risks. Among those risks are real estate scams that can cost investors and buyers their hard-earned money. At Floorspace Realty, we’re committed to not only helping you find the perfect property but also ensuring you do so safely and securely. In this blog post, we’ll shed light on common real estate scams in Ghana and provide valuable insights on how to avoid falling victim to them. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to navigate the Ghanaian real estate market with confidence.
Spotting Real Estate Scams:
- Phantom Listings:
Scammers may advertise properties that don’t exist or aren’t available for sale or rent. These phantom listings are often accompanied by attractive prices to lure in unsuspecting buyers or tenants.
How to Spot Them: Always be cautious of listings with prices significantly lower than market rates. Verify the property’s availability by contacting reputable real estate agents or property management companies.
2. Fake Agents and Developers:
Fraudsters may pose as real estate agents or developers, claiming to represent legitimate properties. They may request upfront fees for viewing properties or securing deals.
How to Spot Them: Verify the credentials of agents or developers by checking their licenses and affiliations with recognized real estate associations. Avoid making any upfront payments until you’re certain of their legitimacy.
3. Title Deed Fraud:
Some scammers may present fake or forged title deeds to make a property appear legitimate. Buyers or investors may only discover the fraud when it’s too late.
How to Spot Them: Engage the services of a reputable lawyer or surveyor to thoroughly verify the authenticity of title deeds before proceeding with any transaction.
4. Pressure Sales Tactics:
Scammers may use high-pressure tactics to rush you into making a decision without giving you time to conduct due diligence. They may insist that a deal is too good to pass up.
How to Spot Them: Take your time to research and inspect the property. Be cautious of anyone rushing you into a deal and always seek professional advice before making a decision.
5. Rental Scams:
It involves fraudsters advertising properties for rent, collecting deposits, and disappearing. Always visit the property and confirm ownership before making any payments.
How to Spot Them: Take your time, visit the property at a different time, and ask around before making any financial commitment.
How To Avoid Real Estate Scams In Ghana
Now that we’ve identified common scams, here are key steps to help you avoid falling victim:
Verify Property Ownership:
Insist on seeing the original land title and conduct a title search with the Lands Commission to confirm ownership. Additionally, consider taking a copy of the seller’s ID card to compare with search results for added security.
Engage the services of a licensed surveyor to pick the actual coordinates of the land. This survey can provide you with accurate information about the property’s boundaries and location. Once you have the survey report, conduct a thorough search at the Lands Commission to verify the authenticity of the land against the information provided in the title documents. This extra step adds a layer of protection and ensures that you’re dealing with a genuine property.
This additional step of engaging a surveyor and verifying the land coordinates can provide you with valuable information and further safeguard your real estate investment.
Use Reputable Real Estate Agents:
Work with well-established and reputable real estate agencies like Floorspace Realty. Ask for references.
Visit the Property in Person:
Never finalize a deal without visiting the property. This ensures that it exists and matches the description.
Do a Background Check:
Research the property and the seller or agent online. Look for reviews and any reported scams associated with them.
Avoid making hasty decisions. Take your time to assess the property, negotiate, and conduct due diligence.
Never Pay Upfront Fees:
Be cautious about any request for upfront fees or deposits before a transaction is completed. Payments should align with the progress of the deal.
Use Escrow Services:
Consider using escrow services for property transactions. This ensures that your funds are held securely until all conditions are met.
Seek Legal Advice:
Consult with a real estate lawyer to review contracts and ensure that your interests are protected.
Trust Your Instincts:
If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and walk away from the deal. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep records of all communication, contracts, payments, and property visits. This documentation can be crucial if a dispute arises.
Real estate in Ghana offers tremendous opportunities, but it’s essential to navigate the market with caution. Scammers are always devising new schemes to prey on unsuspecting investors and buyers. By staying informed and following the tips outlined in this blog, you can protect yourself from falling victim to real estate scams.
At Floorspace Realty, our commitment is not only to provide you with valuable information but also to offer trustworthy real estate services that prioritize your safety and satisfaction. We invite you to reach out to us for all your real estate needs in Ghana. Your peace of mind and success in the real estate market are our top priorities. Remember, thorough due diligence is your best defence against real estate scams in Ghana.