July 21, 2024

Straw Buyer in Real Estate

What is a Straw Buyer?

In the world of real estate, a straw buyer is a term used to describe an individual who purchases a property on behalf of someone else. This person acts as a front, concealing the true identity of the actual buyer. The straw buyer’s name and credit history are used to secure financing for the property, while the real buyer remains anonymous.

How Does it Work?

The process begins when the real buyer approaches the straw buyer, typically offering some form of compensation in return for their cooperation. The straw buyer is often enticed by the promise of a cut of the profits or other incentives. Once an agreement is reached, the straw buyer goes through the typical home buying process, including applying for a mortgage and signing all necessary documents.

After the purchase is complete, the real buyer takes possession of the property, while the straw buyer’s involvement typically ends. The real buyer may choose to resell the property for a profit or use it for their own purposes, all while avoiding detection.

The Risks Involved

Engaging in straw buying is not only unethical but also illegal in many jurisdictions. Both the straw buyer and the real buyer can face severe legal consequences if caught. Mortgage fraud, identity theft, and money laundering charges are just a few of the potential offenses that can arise from this deceitful practice.

Furthermore, straw buying can have a detrimental impact on the real estate market. It can artificially inflate property prices and contribute to financial instability. Lenders may also suffer significant losses if the real buyer defaults on the mortgage, leaving the straw buyer to bear the financial burden.

Preventing Straw Buying

Real estate professionals play a crucial role in preventing straw buying. By conducting thorough due diligence, verifying the identity and financial capacity of potential buyers, and reporting any suspicious activities, they can help maintain the integrity of the market.

Government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), also actively investigate and prosecute cases of straw buying. They work closely with financial institutions, real estate professionals, and other stakeholders to identify and prevent fraudulent transactions.


Straw buying in real estate is a deceptive practice that poses significant risks to both individuals and the overall market. It is essential for all parties involved to understand the legal and ethical implications and actively work towards preventing such fraudulent activities. By promoting transparency and accountability, we can help ensure a fair and secure real estate industry for everyone.