December 07, 2021

Older Homeowners Experience Surge in Predatory Solicitations

As a historic housing shortage tightens the market, more homebuilders, real estate companies, and other speculators are using aggressive methods to try and persuade people to sell their homes.

Tactics include incessant phone calls and voice messages (including to homeowners’ relatives), hand-delivered postcards, and threatening mailings. More predatory buyers tend to include a free no-obligation offer as part of their strategy so they can get prospective sellers on the hook, and they also often use urgent and/or “too-good-to-be-true” language.

Experts say that elderly and low-income homeowners are common targets for these solicitations. Seniors can protect themselves by ignoring or being cautious when responding to direct solicitations, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has resources to protect older adults from fraud.

“Be very cautious if you receive an unsolicited offer to purchase your home,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., secretary-treasurer of the Alliance. “If you do plan to sell, you can protect yourself by going through the traditional process of listing your house on the market, receiving multiple offers, and then choosing the best one for you and your family.”

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