Buying houses and properties is increasingly becoming a scary endeavour in Bulawayo as many prospective buyers continue to be duped.
The police and the Estate Agents Council have put up public notices to warn people to be vigilant when looking for propery to buy, while the council has listed a number of agents which it said were not registered to operate.
In an advert flighted on our sister paper, Chronicle during the week, the Estate Agents Council listed seven companies operating illegally.
a�?Please be advised that the following companies are not registered and as such are not suppose to trade. Any member of the public doing business with them is doing so at their own risk,a�? read the advert.
The seven companies listed are Batlet Properties, Clowie Properties, Fox and Carney, Hopewins Real Estate, Property Barons, Property Hopes and Ten Yards Real Estate.
To avoid falling prey to fraudulent property sellers, prospective property buyers should consider the following information which is on the notice board of ZRP Fraud Squad Section:
a�?Verify legitimacy of the company through the Registrar of Companies, conduct a Deed Search to verify the authenticity of the Deed, enlist the services of a professionally registered estate agent that is registered with Estate Agents Council of Zimbabwe, check if agent has a valid compensation certificate for that particular year, never check details in the flash of a second. Take your time and be satisfied with the true identity of the owner of the property, ask to meet the owner of the property if the agent is selling on behalf of someone. In many instances, this will make them feel uncomfortable; take that as a hint that they might be trying to steal from you.
a�?Be wary of purchasing property which is far below market value. Undervalue is a red flag of fraud or a clear indication that the seller intends to quickly dispose of the property while the victim feels that he or she has been lucky. Be wary of small adverts in the classifieds with low-priced properties coupled with the absence of landlines.
Check for a track record of the real estate agent. If the company is marred with previous reports of criminal activities and malpractices, move away.a�?