March 2018 Newsletter
Avoiding Fraud: Key Practices in Real Estate
By Suzanne De Vita
Whether by compromised data, cracked passwords or phishing, real estate is a target for cyber criminals . More and more, homebuyers and sellers-and the practitioners who serve them-are reporting theft via wire fraud, in which criminals access emails, learn of a pending transaction, and then message phony wiring instructions to victims. Bogus DocuSign emails, emails with illegitimate referrals and ransomware are also on the rise. Being a victim of wire fraud can be devastating – the funds are almost always irretrievable once sent. And aside from making off with money, criminals can filch personally identifiable information, or PII, through any or a combination of schemes.
So how can you protect yourself when buying a home?
Spring into Lawn and Garden Care
If cooler weather has you longing for sunny days outdoors, take heart. Once spring rolls around, you can safely begin the annual cleanup to prepare your yard for months of warm-weather enjoyment. Start with the lawn. Look for bald spots where grass has grown sparsely and needs reseeding, or uneven areas that may need to be filled and leveled. Use a thatching rake to remove dead roots and grass. Break up the soil in bare spots to create an environment that will be hospitable to new seed. Add lawn soil to level the surface. Then you’re ready to over-seed or spot seed, depending on your lawn’s needs.
Your garden and flower beds are next. Begin by clearing away any debris like leaves and other matter that piled up during months of neglect. Gently turn the soil and work in fresh fertilizer. Before your plants and flowers are in full-growth mode is the ideal time to make repairs. Check edging for any damage, replace rotted woodwork and complete any other maintenance tasks. The warmer months may still seem far away, but getting some of your lawn and garden care underway now can make those warmer, sunny days feel closer in no time.
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