By Lisa A. Tyler
National Escrow Administrator
For many years flipping real estate was deemed a negative term. Many thought flipping properties was illegal. The negative reputation was well earned, since most mortgage fraud cases involved someone who flipped real estate to a straw buyer who would obtain a new loan to purchase the property. The straw buyer would never make a payment leaving the lender the last one standing with an unpaid loan, which was never worth the loan amount. Clearly, that kind of flipping is illegal.
In recent years, television networks have helped highlight positive investors flipping real estate through television shows featuring real estate investors who find homes in need of rehabilitation. These investors fix the properties up and then sell or flip them to legitimate, qualified homebuyers. This all happens in a few months or less — hopefully for a profit.
Unfortunately, some people want to be real estate investors, but do not want to put in the real work. They look for short cuts and have less than honest intentions. Read "FLIP or fraud?" for details about how one man attempted to build his investment portfolio by flipping real estate.
"CALLER ID spoofing" is a story detailing one of the latest trends in the diverted wire transfer scam being perpetrated against home buyers. The fraudsters are using internet applications to blind the numbers they are using to call and text home buyers, instructing them to wire their down payment funds to an account other than the settlement agent's or title company's account.
Title Officers search the records and analyze the information discovered as a result of that search. They are highly skilled professionals who are experts in searching chains of title for risks. Read "PEOPLE behind a title policy" to discover how valuable title officers are to the industry.