Here are tips to help you stay safe and avoid costly rental scams.
Renting a property can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, especially when you’re concerned about getting scammed. Unfortunately, rental scams are on the rise, and it’s important to know how to protect yourself.
One of the most common rental scams involves real estate agents. Here’s how it works: A real estate agent takes a new listing and posts it on various search portals, such as Movoto.com, Zillow, and Realtor.com. Scammers then take screenshots of the images and repost them on Craigslist, Facebook, and other websites, advertising the property for rent.
Unsuspecting renters call the scammer, who may even give them a tour of the property. The renters then send money to the scammer to rent a house that they don’t own. Unfortunately, the renters are now out of their deposit money, which can sometimes be thousands of dollars, and they have no way of getting it back.
“It’s important to know how to protect yourself.”
To avoid this rental scam, it’s important to do a little research online. Look up the address of the property and see if it’s also listed for sale. If it is, that’s a giant red flag. Call the listing agent who has the for-sale listing and ask if the property is actually for rent. The agent will know 100% of the time if the property is listed for rent.
If the property is not listed for sale online, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re safe. You still want to do a little bit of due diligence. Talk to the person advertising the property and ask for references from other people who rent from them. Ask your landlord for a reference, too. Protect yourself by making sure that you don’t send any money until you’ve got a fully executed lease agreement and that you have access to that property.
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me by phone or email. I look forward to hearing from you.