“A lot of times when we are out in the middle of nowhere, we see this kind of thing that is happening all the time,” said James Phelan, an owner of a real estate brokerage in Chattanooga.
“There are all these places that we are not supposed to be in.
So we’re seeing a lot of real estate prices that are going up in places that should be considered safe.”
In some cases, the people who are being targeted by the scammers are people who have been looking for a new home, Phelant said.
“They want to buy houses, they want to sell houses, and they want a big, big house,” he said.
Phelans wife, who has been helping him find homes, was recently offered a home in a different part of the state, but she was reluctant to move.
She thought that would cost her $500,000.
But, she said, she was pleasantly surprised when she saw that a buyer was willing to pay $5,000 more for her house than what she was getting in the deal.
In addition to scammers offering homes for less than the market rate, the real estate brokers are also making it difficult for people to sell their homes in the city.
“The city is very, very slow to get houses,” said Phelany.
“People are really, really discouraged to sell.
The average time that it takes for a seller to actually get their house is about four to six months.
It takes that long for the buyers to come in, get their deposit paid, and move in.”
In the last month, the average wait time for a home to be sold in Chattanooga has risen from about a week to a month, according to the Chattanooga Real Estate Association.
“If you’re in a new area, and you’re looking to buy, you’re going to have to wait a long time to find the home,” Phelanic said.
In the next year, he said, he hopes to see a decrease in the number of people who go to Chattanooga to buy homes, which he says would be good for the real-estate market.
Real estate agents are concerned that people may not know how to navigate the process to find a house.
“If you are looking to sell, you have to be very, VERY familiar with the market,” said Jason Bock, the executive director of the Real Estate Group of Chattanooga.
He said that if people can’t use Google or other online platforms to find homes in their area, they should just “be patient.”
“If we see people who know how, we’ll let them know,” he added.
If you have any information about the scams, or want to report one, contact the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-964-4818.
You can also text tips to 71746, or email the Chattanooga CrimeStoppers tip line at [email protected]