Our region has seen an uptick in rural crimes of opportunity and other unscrupulous activity as the economy continues to be under pressure.
People lose their jobs then turn to drugs in an attempt to block out reality or they simply get desperate to find the means to buy groceries and pay for a roof over their head.
They need to come up with money somewhere so turn to stealing and other scams to make “easy bucks”.
Several weeks ago, a Realtor friend of mine received a phone call asking if the house listed for sale by her was truly available for rent?
Turns out the caller had spotted an ad on Kijiji then phoned the purported owner and was told if they gave an immediate deposit via electronic transfer, the monthly rental amount would be significantly reduced as an “early signing bonus”.
Fortunately, the caller noticed there was a MLS number in the corner of the photo and thought something was amiss.
It was. The photo had been “scraped” from the national real estate website and pasted into the ad.
Then there are the intentional attempts to deceive buyers by owners choosing to not disclose important defects.
A new wall built inside a bowed basement foundation so that it appears to be straight; at least until you take a good look from the outside.
Houses put on the market in the winter, so the snow covers deteriorating shingles.
Water wells with very slow recovery but refilled by a portable tank out of a truck.
Septic fields that are close to being sealed from years of use and can no longer drain adequately.
Periodic gray water backups into the basement from clogged sewer lines.
Seepage from spring thaw or hard rain coming through basement windows or cracks in the concrete walls.
Appliances not sold in working order; or as happened to me early in my career, swapped out for an older model after the home inspection was completed.
Natural gas furnaces installed without a service line to the house. Yes, a true story. Then there are the higher-level deceptions.
Commercial / industrial / farm property with contaminated soils.
“Traditional” property lines which significantly vary from the legal ones or those people who simply ignore the boundary altogether.
I can show you one quarter of farmland where the neighbor intentionally dumped rocks on the neighbour’s property for years.
I mean, why would you want to have rocks on your land when they can be stored offsite? The illegal drainage of surface water to create more cultivated acres.
Some people think if they can get the water to flow downhill on to the neighbour’s land by trenching, they are only assisting nature.
We have even seen landowners dig up survey pins and move them to suit their own purposes. One was in a new development in the City, by a homeowner who wanted a bigger yard.
The other was perpetrated by a cabin owner at a popular lake so there was more room for a garage he wanted to build.
By the way, don’t consider doing this; it’s seen very dimly by the Court. Very dimly.
The list of infractions is seemingly endless. And it’s not restricted to real estate. There are plenty of schemers wherever money is involved.
As a Realtor I try very hard to prevent these tricks being played on my clients using contracts with strong statements, disclosure requests, and inspections by competent third parties.
But I can’t stop what takes place in private transactions.
So, my friends, live by the old hockey standby and “keep your head up”, especially when handling the puck yourself.
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.