Craigslist... How do you know if your talking to the actual owner?

7 Replies

I found a good deal listed on Craigslist however after I looked at the house I compared the name on the email to the name listed as the owner on the assessors website and they did not match.  My question is, how do determine if a home is a scam on Craigslist without having title work done?  I would buy this house for the $5k if the person listing it has enough ownership rights to sell it but I dont want to invest the $180 in having a title search done to see if this guy owns it or not.  Any feedback?

Just ask the person you have been talking to.  If he is going to assign the contract of course he should show it to you because that is what you are buying  from him, the contract.  Even if he is intending to double close, You could say you want evidence he has an interest in the property and again you want to see his contract. 

Personally I would just ask if he is wholesaling the deal and not worry about it. i doubt a scammer would put up a you tube video with his face on it if he was a scammer.

Nice video @Nicholas Miller  . My 9 year old just walked in and said "you're not gonna buy that house, too, are you dad?!"  Ha.  That was you in the video, right?  I agree with what @Ned Carey  said, minus it not being a scam because a scammer wouldn't show his face in (his own) video! Maybe the squatter is posing as the owner?  Pls share what they say when you ask if they are wholesaling it!  

It could be that the owner has passed away and he is the executor of estate? Wholesale? Friend helping a computer illiterate friend? I wouldn't pay him till after title comes back clean. 

Ryan Dossey, Real Estate Agent in IN (#RB15001099)
800-347-9296

Definitely ask, but DD is important.  Consider $180 cost of doing business if you're really interested..

I guess I didn't elaborate enough about the concerns.  Seller did not want to meet at the house, padlock cut off, it looked like a squatter lived in the house and the name on the email was for someone other than the person listed on title. 

The video is something I do so if a house doesn't look like something I want I can wholesale without a lot of effort (a new process I started four months ago but it has been effective) however this house was something I would be interested in but not enough to invest in the money into a title search.

Has anyone else ever attempted to buy a property from someone and found the seller is not a legitimate owner on CL?  I have bought homes from PA's a number of times but the fact that they are PA's has always been presented upfront not after the initial walk through...  Padlock cut, I have never had a seller not want to meet me at a house before and other than government (commissioner sales) I have never kicked up squatters before (they were not squatting but I am 99% sure there was a squatter living in there).

If you agree to purchase and sign a contract the next step is closing.  If it is done through a title company then they will require a title search and require the owner to sign to deliver title.  In this situation I would not offer earnest money so if it is a scam, they wont take the money and run like Steve Miller band would say..