It's all a set-up, deny everything!
I'm trying to determine if this thing I found on craigslist
is a scam. I see this listing for a house in a very desirable
part of Fort Greene. There isn't much information, so I call
the attached number to ask what the address is. I get voicemail,
but some guy calls me back hours later. He immediately begins
asking me all these questions about my occupation, income, and
other info that seemed really unnecessary. He explained that
his realty company will only show its properties to people they
have preapproved themselves. I told him all I wanted to know
was the address of the house so I could take a look at it first
before bothering to pursue anything. But he kept changing the
subject back to this all-important preapproval thing. I didn't
want to give him any more info over the phone so I thought I'd
call his bluff and asked to make an appointment.
said sure, and told me to come in tomorrow to their office
... in the Empire State Building. He then mentioned something
to the effect of "Just wait in the reception area and
I'll come out and get you." Hmmmm.
So we've got a realty company (with the rousing name "NY
Universal Realty LLC"), who won't let me see any of the
supposedly wonderful properties without submitting to a mortgage
preapproval first. To do this, I'm supposed to go to the Empire
State Building to be met in the lobby by some representative
of the company. None of this sounds remotely suspicious, right?
While I can understand realtors not wanting to bother with
people who can't afford their houses, I have never heard of
a company that wants to go through all the trouble of a preapproval
just to let people see their properties. If it was simply
prequalification, I might believe them. But preapproval is
a more complex process in which a person's specific income
and other personal info are gleaned to to determine exactly
how much they can borrow. It is usually done by mortgage brokers
and lenders. Unless this realty company is also a lender,
I don't see what good any of this would do, beyond giving
them a bunch of my personal information. However, they didn't
tell me to bring any W-2 forms or pay stubs, and I didn't
remind them. I went to the Empire State Building's site
and looked up their name in the business directory but found
nothing even close to NY Universal Realty LLC in the list.
Something sketchy is going on here, but what? I'm so intrigued
by the ineptitude of these guys that I'm actually thinking
about going to the appointment, if only to see what they try
to pull. Will they try to get my credit card number? Will
they kidnap me and drive me around town, forcing me to empty
my account at various ATMs? Or are accomplices waiting to
break into my house the moment I leave for the ESB?
UPDATE: I didn't go to the appointment,
but they also never called me back to confirm the appointment
like they said they would. I contacted the ESB and they say
they have no tenant by that name. They were definitely up
to something, but what? I fear I may never get closure on
this real estate anecdote.
Posted By Jimmy Legs