Reverse staging is the latest in a string of short sales scams. The tragic thing about this particular fraud is that innocent houses end up getting hurt. In this scam, the idea is to get the bank to accept a very low price for the short sale. An untrustworthy real estate specialist is typically in on the scam and plans to sell the house to someone they are in cahoots with who will pose as a buyer. The bank that holds the mortgage will typically get a BPO (broker price opinion) to help determine what price is reasonable for the house. If the interior of the residence is trashed prior to the broker’s visit, this obviously makes the home look like it is worth much less. The unethical real estate specialist’s cronies can then swoop in and snatch up the distressed property for a song. They fix up the damage (which is often largely cosmetic) and resell the house for much more, pocketing the difference.

An ethical short sales specialist has lots of ways to help set a fair selling price for a home. But these strategies never include asking you to take a sledgehammer to the drywall. If an specialist tries to involve you in reverse staging, something fishy is going on. Remember that you could be liable for defrauding the bank and for intentionally inflicted property damage if you go along! Find a reliable, trustworthy representative to help you short sell your house the right way here.