Identity Verification of Renters and Home Buyers

Ashley H

Finding the right tenant or homebuyer can be an incredibly challenging task. But it isn’t always because suitable applicants are in short supply. Spotting lies in paperwork and uncovering identity fraud has become a regular part of the process.

Fraud in Property Applications

While there are over 115,000 listed houses across Australia, competition between applicants is strong. And it seems that telling white lies in paperwork to make a buyer look better is becoming more common. In a 2017 study conducted by UBS bank, only 67% of customers with a mortgage stated the details they provided were ‘completely factual and accurate’. One quarter of the respondents said they were ‘mostly factual and accurate’ and 8% said ‘partially’. Even with no incentive to tell the truth, the respondents were open and revealed troubling information for both banks and real estate companies.

And it’s not just home sellers facing the effect of fraud. Rental property owners need to check applications and corroborate information to make sure that someone’s telling the truth. The ideal applicants:

  • Are truthful on their application
  • Have the financial capacity to pay rent
  • Have the intention fulfil contract terms.

But in some cases, a simple lie could break any of those points. For example, if a property owner doesn’t know how to verify references properly, they could be tricked into talking to a fake landlord or employer. This can give unsatisfactory applicants an unfair advantage and put properties at risk.

Real Estate Scams

Beyond lying on applications, more property scams are popping up and sellers are being targeted. The Australian Government’s Scamwatch mentions multiple scams happening today. These include:

  • Scammers asking for help to pay agent fees or travel costs, then promise reimbursement
  • Sending cheques larger than the sale price, then asking for repayment of the excess
  • (For buyers) posting fake ads online and asking for direct payment.

As long as agents and sellers properly authenticate buyers and are wary of inflated cheques, they can avoid being hit by scams. And with modern forms of identity verification like biometrics, the real estate industry is cracking down on criminal activities.

Stronger ID Checks For Tenants and Home Buyers

With multi-factor verification services, property managers and real estate agencies can take more control during the application process. From address verification documents to passports and IDs, businesses can check their customers to make informed decisions.

For property managers who look after multiple rental sites, confirming applicant identities quickly is an essential part of business. The advantages of biometric authentication guarantee a fast and proper ID verification that’s secure. Even an online identity fraud check is an easy process.

Focusing on seamless processes also creates a better experience for tenants and buyers. With less roadblocks and a shorter time spent on document verification, high-quality applicants can be accepted quicker, increasing the odds of a sale or signing of a contract.

With the right identity document verification service, even real estate agencies who deal with international buyers can rest easy. By using a smartphone to take a picture, agencies can perform identity card verification of their off-shore prospective buyer and check if their application is genuine.

Fraud in real estate is putting a huge strain on the industry. From fraudulent documents like employment letters to false credit reports, checking customer details is just a part of the business. Biometrics and online ID checks help agencies do it faster and more effectively.