Several people called Better Call 4 this summer, after receiving phone calls and text messages from prospective buyers, asking if they’re willing to sell their homes.
In early September, the Franklin County Auditor’s Office contacted me, as it’s still happening, and causing more confusion among homeowners.
Their concerns: Are these calls legitimate, and how are the callers able to get ahold of their information?
“I don’t blame them for being concerned,” said Sue Van Woerkom, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Partners.
Van Woerkom was asked if there’s been talk within the industry about these calls and who they could be coming from.
“It can be real estate agents,” she said.
Or, Van Woerkom said, it could be so-called “investors” who search public property records to find out more information about your home, which, according to the Auditor’s Office, is causing some confusion.
In a statement, the Franklin County Auditor’s Office said:
“Many of these solicitors contact the property owner to make a cash offer for their home, and typically attempt to pressure the homeowner into selling their home for a price well below its value. Additionally, it’s common for homeowners on the receiving end of these calls to be told that the solicitor found their contact information on the county auditor’s website, which often becomes cause for confusion because the Auditor’s office does not provide a property owner’s contact information 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 out there, 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 be coming from a scammer.
“It might be someone trying to get access to your home, it might be someone trying to get access to your personal information,” Van Woerkom said. “So, you have to be very careful. It could be legitimate, but it could not be, also.”
This is why, Van Woerkom said, the homeowner needs to be on their guard.
“Columbus is one of the hottest markets in the country,” Van Woerkom said. “There are not deals to be had out there.”
Van Woerkom said a good rule of thumb is if someone is contacting you, take that as a red flag and don’t feel pressured to sell your home if that’s not something you truly want to do.