Real estate hits top 10 list of consumer complaints
WASHINGTON – Aug. 2, 2012 – Real-estate-related issues, ranging from
property fraud to timeshare sales, took the ninth slot on a Top 10
compilation of consumer complaints put together by the Consumer
Federation of America (CFA) and the North American Consumer Protection
One of the biggest gripes has to do with con artists masquerading as
landlords of foreclosed property. These criminals take down foreclosure
signs, break into a home, and then list it for rent on the Web.
Unsuspecting victims pay a first-month deposit and monthly rent before
the bank realizes it’s happened.
“It’s happening to people who have been evicted and already are in a bad
situation,” says Carlos Morales of the Orange County (Fla.) Consumer
Fraud Unit. “And now that situation goes from bad to worse.”
The CFA’s Susan Grant says that real estate schemes tied to timeshares
continue to be a problem as well, primarily due to aggressive sales
“When they think about it, (consumers realize) they can’t afford (a
timeshare) but don’t always have the (state protections) to cancel,” she
explains. “Along comes timeshare resale cons that offer to help people
unload these timeshares that they can’t and don’t want.” Instead, they
take upfront fees without delivering a buyer.
Cheaper to buy than rent for two-year stays
MIAMI – Aug. 2, 2012 – While Realtors continue to find fault with Zillow
Inc.’s local home estimates, consumers made it the most visited real
estate website in July 2012. As a result – right or wrong – Zillow
influences buyer and seller behavior.
And a recent announcement from Zillow might lead more buyers to knock on
real estate agency doors: According to the site, the average national
homebuyer will save money over renting if he or she stays in a home for
only three years. And in at least four Florida cities, a homeowner only
needs to stay two years to make ownership the preferred option.
In Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa, a homebuyer needs to stay less than
one year and eight months to make ownership the best financial option;
in Orlando, he or she needs to stay less than one year and nine months.
Zillow says it analyzed the “breakeven horizon” in more than 200 metros
and 7,500 U.S. cities. All possible costs associated with buying and
renting were incorporated into the analysis, including down payment,
mortgage and rental payments, transaction costs, property taxes,
utilities, maintenance costs, tax deductions and opportunity costs,
while adjusting for inflation and forecasted home value and rental price
The Miami-Fort Lauderdale metro ranked as Zillow’s most favorable for
buying. In the San Jose metro, where home values are among the highest
in the nation, a buyer must commit to living in their home for 8.3 years
before they can expect to break even
Source: MarketWatch (08/01/12)
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