Several people called Better Call 4 this summer, after receiving phone calls and texts from potential buyers, asking if they were ready to sell their homes.
In early September, the Franklin County auditor’s office contacted me as this still happens and causes even more confusion among owners.
Their concerns: Are these calls legitimate and how do callers get their information?
“I don’t blame them for being worried,” said Sue Van Woerkom, real estate agent at Keller Williams Capital Partners.
Van Woerkom was asked if there had been any discussions within the industry about these calls and who they might be coming from.
“It can be real estate agents,” she said.
Or, Van Woerkom said, it could be so-called “investors” looking for public property documents to find more information about your home, which the auditor’s office says is causing some confusion.
In a statement, the Franklin County Auditor’s Office said:
“Many of these lawyers contact the owner to make him a cash offer for his house and usually try to pressure the owner to sell his house for a price well below its value. Additionally, it is common for homeowners receiving these calls to be informed that the attorney found their contact details on the county auditor’s website, which is often confusing as the auditor’s office does not provide contact information for a landlord unless their property is registered with the office as a rental.
So how do these callers get your phone number? Van Woerkom said, it’s for sale.
“There are programs, as agents or as an investor, shall we say, you can spend money and buy cell phone numbers,” she said.
Van Woerkom warned that the calls could also come from a con artist.
“It could be someone trying to access your home, it could be someone trying to access your personal information,” Van Woerkom said. “So you have to be very careful. It could be legitimate, but it couldn’t be either. “
That is why, said Van Woerkom, the owner must be on his guard.
“Columbus is one of the hottest markets in the country,” Van Woerkom said. “There are no deals to be made there.”
Van Woerkom said a good rule of thumb is if someone contacts you take it as a red flag and don’t feel pressured to sell your house if it’s not something you really want to do.