Scam Alert: Scammers are using foreclosed and for sale properties seen on other online real estate sites, and listing them on Craigslist as available for rent. Prospective renters fill out an application, and once “approved” are asked to send money via a money wiring service to rent the property only to find out later that the property is foreclosed, or not for rent at all.
Searching for a home to rent can be a stressful process. Here are 5 ways to avoid real estate scams online:
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
The houses listed in the scam were very nice houses, but listed for an unbelievable price. If a listing is too good to be true, it probably is. If you drive by and do not see a for rent or lease sign in front, ask the landlord to explain.
Never exchange money with someone you haven’t met.
Always meet the landlord face-to-face and look at the property. The scammers will use scare tactics about availability of the property to get you to act. Don’t be pressured to secure a property by wiring money.
Take a friend or family member with you.
If you are able to look at the property in person, take someone with you. The buddy system is always a good practice if you are meeting a stranger. If you cannot take someone with you, at least let someone know where you are going and who you are meeting.
If you are not in the area, hire a Looker to check out the property for you.
The WeGoLook Property Verification Report dispatches a "Looker" (agent) to the actual location of the property to be your “feet on the street.” Reports start at $69 and include photos, address verification, and data collection about condition, neighbors, damage, etc. Check out a sample report.
Never take cash or wire money for a real estate transaction.
Having a record of your real estate transaction is important not only to you, but to the landlord. Landlords are required by some states to keep the deposit separate in an escrow account. By having a hard copy check, it keeps both the landlord and the tenant in the clear when it comes to auditing.
Don’t get overwhelmed while looking for rental property again. WeGoLook is here to provide peace of mind when it comes to finding your next home. Stay safe!