REALTOR® Warning About Texted Offers to Buy Homes

By Brent Ruffner | Daily Independent

Owning a home in the Valley often means getting a pesky, annoying text message from an unknown someone wanting to buy it.

A top official from the Arizona Association of Realtors® has, too.

“I receive them myself,” said Arizona Realtors® President-Elect Gary Nelson.

While the practice may skirt a gray area as to whether it’s legal, in some cases those who take advantage of the buyer’s offer run the risk of losing a lot of money.

Nelson said the best thing to do is to be careful. Those text messages likely don’t come from licensed Realtors®.

Instead, the people are “typically individuals” looking to buy low and sell high, he said.

In one instance, Nelson said he knew of a property owner who sold his home after getting a similar text message. The new owner had said the tenant, who was renting, could stay.

A week later, the property was sold again — leaving the tenant without a place to live. The tenant had rented the same property for 16 years.

The original owner sold the property for much less than what the home was worth. “He gave away $125,000 without even knowing,” Nelson said.

He has also been “slydialed”, a process where the caller gets directly connected to another person’s voicemail — so the caller doesn’t have to talk with anyone on the other end.

“I don’t know how they get my phone number” added Nelson, “but they do.”

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office said those looking to buy homes can mail advertisements as long as they don’t violate the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

Katie Conner, spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said individuals likely get homeowner information because those documents are public record.

Sending a simple text message about a particular home might not fall under any illegal wrongdoing. But Conner said homeowners can still protect themselves from unwanted text messages and offered some quick tips:

  • Never click on any links or use a phone number provided in an unsolicited or unknown text message.
  • If you continue to receive the same text message from an unsolicited phone number, reply “STOP” or block the phone number.
  • Never provide sensitive personal or financial information to an unsolicited or unknown phone number or email.

If you believe you’ve been a victim of consumer fraud, you can file a formal complaint.

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