There’s a classic Tex Avery cartoon, “The House of Tomorrow,” where at one point the tax collector is coming to the rather expensive-looking home. Presto! At the push of a button, the home is turned into a shabby wreck and Our Heroes are spared paying their share of taxes.

Seems like some home owners have seen “The House of Tomorrow” and may have taken the wrong lesson from it. They engage in a relatively new system of fraud called “reverse staging.”

Per Realtor magazine’s Speaking of Real Estate:

In these cases, owners trash their house to knock down the property value. A buyer with whom the owner is colluding then comes in with a low-ball offer, buys it and fixes it back up, then flips it for its real market value.

The article has some other examples of short-sale fraud. Good reading, and worth keeping an eye out.