Owner/Property Manager is Unavailable to Meet in Person
Automatic red flag. Why would an owner not be willing to show a property if they are trying to rent it to a trusted person? Usually, this tactic comes with many explanations why they cannot meet. Keep your guard up and proceed with caution.
Rental Properties without Real Estate Signage
While it is not required to rent a property that does not have a “For Rent” sign posted, it is unlikely that an owner would not want to promote the listing to the neighbors or people looking to live in that area. Many times, scammers will gain access to a vacant property—they are obviously not authorized to rent the home. You are about to enter into a contractual relationship with the landlord. It is okay to interview them and ask the reason why there is not a sign in the front lawn before forking over money.
If you are shopping for a rental in another part of the country, you have a target on your back. Do your research! The property is probably real and likely a rental property. Proceed with extreme caution. The listing could have been scrapped from a legitimate owner, make sure you are handing your deposit to the correct “owner.”
Inconsistent Contact/Ownership Listings
If you are looking at a phony listing, the contact information pay careful attention to the contact information. Is the property listed through a management company or an individual owner? Do your research on the county assessor’s website where you will have access to ownership information.
Paying Deposits before Home Tour
Tread lightly when placing a deposit before seeing a home in person. With long distance situations, this may be a challenge but doing your research always helps. WeGoLook can be your eyes and ears to verify the property to ensure the “owner” is trustworthy.
Requiring Wire Transfer or Money Order
Never, never, never submit funds via an untraceable payment source. If you are in fact dealing with a con-artist, you do not have the backing of your financial institution or a way to trace your funds once they have been collected. Paying with checks or credit cards keep the “landlord” traceable should the transaction go sour.
Rental Price Inconsistent with Neighborhood
Most of the 3 bedroom, 2 bath postings in the neighborhood are listed at $1200/month, but the property you are interested in is $700/month. Either the property needs a lot of work that the landlord is not being forthcoming about or someone is trying to dupe individuals looking for a deal. This is another great time to interview the landlord to discover what kind of home you are actually walking into.
Owner is out of Country
We live in a fast passed world and it is not uncommon for someone to be out of the country and someone else to show the home. What is uncommon is for the owner to be completely unavailable. There are very few places in the world where the owner would not be able to respond to you in 24 hours. Be sure you see the property and do your research if you are interested in a property with an overseas contact.
Duplicate Ad Posted Every Month
Researching the address of the property and Google images searches could save you a host of trouble. Many times, con-artists will scrape a listing and post it over and over in different areas. You can never be too sure and extensive research before the property showing could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Too Good to be True
The old saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is comes into play when you are looking at real estate listings online. Use your best judgement, enlist help, and research before handing over deposits.
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