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Avoid these common real estate scams

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I’ve gotta say, living in this era of digital transformation sure has its ups and downs – but as a Sydney property buyer, I’m finding the perks far outweigh the downsides. 

That said, if you’re not tech savvy or you are new to the world of real estate, you could be taken advantage of if you aren’t careful. But never fear, because once you know how to spot a scam, you’ll know have to avoid them when it comes time for you to buy or rent. 

According to ACCC’s Scamwatch, Aussies are losing tens of millions of dollars collectively each year to scams linked to phishing, identity theft, hacking and remote access. In the first half of 2022, the reported sum was a whopping $37.8 million loss in Australia alone. 

So let’s arm you with the knowledge you need to keep your hard earned dollars in your bank account or invested into your property – and not into the hands of a hacker. 


Two types of real estate scams

There are several types of scams to watch for these days, but I want to focus on those in the property biz. 

When it comes to real estate and property buying or selling, large amounts of money are typically transferred online, and a huge amount of personal information is shared before a property sale can go through. So let’s look at two of the more prevalent scams to look out for when you start your buying or renting journey. 


Scam #1 – Rental property rip-offs

Still renting? Be watchful of who you hand your personal details over to, because the rental market is a popular target for scammers. Forthcoming tenants are used to handing over their personal details when it comes to applying for the property they’ve had their eye on. And with the current supply demand issues renters are faced with in the rental market right now, many prospective tenants are ready and willing to hand over large sums of money to secure a property before the competition. 


Solution – How to avoid rental scams

The good news is, rental scams are generally very easy to avoid. You should always keep your sensitive information saved in a secure place on your hard drive, use a password that only you have access to, and ensure your computer is protected by software that stops hackers from nabbing your details. 

When it comes to applying for the property you’ve just inspected, ensure your personal details and documents are only uploaded via official channels such as Tenant App or sent directly to the real estate agent you met with and verified on the day of the inspection.

Also, never hand money over for a rental property without inspecting it first – regardless of the agency advertising it. 


Scam #2 – Fraudulent property listings

If a sale price sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is. While you can’t be blamed for getting excited when you spot a bargain, it’s really important to keep your wits about you and avoid handing over your personal details or money if you can’t guarantee the legitimacy of the seller. 


Solution – How to avoid fake property listings

The first step to avoiding falling for a fake listing is to always use the official and verified platforms you’re already familiar with, such as, or an Australian property buyer you’re familiar with – especially if they’ve been recommended to you by someone who has used their service to a great extent. These verified channels weed out the fake accounts and scammers, so you can rest assured you won’t get stung with any listings sourced in this way.

Another tip I highly suggest is to deal with the agent or seller in person or over the phone as much as you possibly can. Doing so not only limits the need to upload sensitive content online, but also helps you to decide whether the individual is one you want to deal with for such a big purchase. Can they answer all your questions? Are they forthcoming with information? Chatting in person is always beneficial in the long run, so keep up the conversations.  

Lastly, always cross-check the agent by researching their website, professional profile pages, and any phone numbers or email accounts you receive via correspondence. Look up the official phone number or email before responding to anything directly if it’s sent to your inbox or phone as well, to ensure your information doesn’t falling into the hands of a scammer. 


We want to arm you with the information you need to keep your finances safe during your property buying journey. By keeping to the official buying channels and engaging with one agency that invests time into meeting your needs and builds trust, you’ll be on the road to homeownership or a brand new rental in no time! 

Whatever your property needs, our Australian buyers agency Kitty & Miles is ready to assist. Give us a call on (02) 8916 6172 or email our team at today!

Want to buy your next property within your SMSF? Click here for more info on how we may assist you.

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