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How to root out real estate fraud

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Inflated appraisals. Money laundering. Misuse of funds. Fake buyers. You name it, real estate has its share and more of scams and frauds. At times, fraud appears to be downright rampant, and sadly, the solutions that have been put forward so far have not made a discernable dent in the problem. What's needed now is not more of the same, but rather, a fresh approach that attacks the causes of these types of crimes. The traditional solutions to real estate's fraud problem tend to involve laws and regulations, disclosures and paperwork, checks and balances, and law enforcement and punishment for wrongdoing. These solutions aren't without merit: Laws and regulations set minimum standards of behavior. Disclosures help protect the public from misrepresentation and insider dealing. And enforcement and punishment take some bad actors out of play and force them to pay for their misdeeds. But aside from those benefits, these solutions also have proven to be largely ineffectual becaus...