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How to Avoid Rental Property Scams
Single family homes are among the popular types of properties that can be found for rent. The credit issues that some men and women have right now have increased demand for rental homes. Because rentals require a basic application, these are much easier to obtain than a third party mortgage to purchase a home. There are unfortunately rental scams in the housing market. This list of helpful advice could teach a person how to avoid rental property scams ongoing in the U.S.
How to Spot Rental Property Scams Online
There are some red flags that an experienced renter can find when searching the Internet for homes to rent. There is a clear difference between professionals and non-professionals in the housing industry. While not all red flags mean that a scam is apparent, knowing the warning signs can help someone avoid being scammed online.
1. Homeowner requires money upfront
2. No offline contact
3. Property is not available for a walk through
4. Price is too low
Upfront Deposits Could Be a Scam
One of the main goals of any scam is to find ways to get access to a person’s money as fast as possible. Most con artists ask for cash or wire transfers instead of a check, money order or other form of payment that is traceable. While it is normal to submit a rental or security deposit, what is not normal is sending cash before any paperwork is processed and validated.
Property Owner Has No Physical Location
A lot of scammers in the housing industry setup a voicemail box to handle a large amount of messages from would-be buyers or people who’ve been conned. A clear sign that a scam is apparent is the lack of a physical location for a property owner or appointed representative. It is quite common to converse by email although other forms of contact should be available with or without a request.
Property is Not Available for Viewing
Meeting in person with a property owner at the property site is a good way to start any rental relationship. Nearly all professional real estate deals include a walk through at no obligation to get a feel for the property that will be rented. A common scam is to deny entry to the property. Property owners could make excuses about traveling, not being available or having other priorities. A person who wants to legitimately rent a home will always make time to show it in person.
Fair Market Rent is Too Low
Knowing the dollar amount needed to rent a property is important. Price is one of the driving factors for any renter. A price listed for a property that appears too low could be a red flag. Some scam artists intentionally publicize cheap property to get a larger number of people interested. Fair market rent can be found by comparing homes in an area or by asking a real estate agent. Legitimate companies will be able to provide price information as well as comparable prices in nearby neighborhoods when asked.