Prosecutors Warn Elderly Residents of Scammers Underpaying for Homes

August 31, 2018 Updated: August 31, 2018

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is warning elderly residents to be wary of people who offer to buy their home for much less than it is worth to take advantage of those who may not know their home’s value.

Senior citizens have reported receiving mailers that offer to purchase their home, even when their house is not listed on the market, according to prosecutors.

Scammers may offer to purchase the home without involving real estate agents or investigators, promising the homeowner that they’ll make more money by not paying a commission, prosecutors said.

Though the offer might seem tempting, prosecutors said elderly residents shouldn’t be pressured into taking these offers, especially without having a place to live when the house is sold.

According to prosecutors, scammers target “unsophisticated homeowners” and elderly residents because they don’t know the true value of their home. The criminals then flip the houses and sell them for a much higher price.

Homeowners should also be aware that the rental and housing markets may be more expensive than they think, and it could be difficult to find a place to live after selling one’s house. Residents should also consider the tax consequences of selling off a large investment, according to the district attorney’s office.

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by a housing scam can call the district attorney’s real estate fraud hotline at (408) 792-2879 or the elder abuse hotline at (855) 323-5337.

By Supriya Yelimeli.