Protect yourself from house rental scams!
January 2, 2014
If you or someone you know is in the market to find a home to rent, you need to be very careful to avoid getting scammed. There are plenty of great places to rent through real estate professionals and individual landlords. Most of the people offering properties for rent are in it for the right reasons. It’s up to you to ensure you deal with someone who is reputable, professional and legitimate. I tell you this, as one of my rental listings was just used as bait for scammers through one of the larger, more prominent real estate marketing and information sites before it was discovered and removed. So, give this a read, or watch the video below. Or hey, watch and read!!
So, what are the tell tale signs that you might be dealing with a scammer? Here are a few.
- The listed rent is far lower than other properties in the area. Remember the saying, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Your contact with the landlord or agent will be exclusively through e-mail. Sure, most of us use e-mail, but beware if you never get to speak with a real human being. Even the busiest of agents have time to answer your questions.
- You will be directed to look at the property from the outside only. Any good property management company, licensed agent or individual landlord will be able to show you the inside of the property BEFORE you give them money. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE ANYONE MONEY TO RENT A HOME SITE UNSEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- They will want to know how much money you have available and if you’re willing or able to make payments prior to getting keys, or even seeing the inside of the home. Refer to #3.
- You will find a number of typos, grammatical errors, and odd speech patterns in their e-mails. Now, I know many of us make mistakes with grammar and typing from time to time. But, I want you to think back to the e-mails you get informing you of your long lost relative from another country that has died and left you 38 million of some foreign currency. These are often written with many of the same inflections and defects. The e-mail will be very generic, making little or no mention of the property address. You will either not be addressed, or will be addressed as “Dear Sir or Madam”.
That’s great you say, but what does one do when trying to find the right people with whom he or she can do business?
- Pay attention to the rent amounts. Get an idea of what the area rents are by checking sites like rentbits.com.
- Contact a local Property Management company or licensed real estate professional to assist you with finding a property. There are plenty of great people out there who will match renters with landlords. You deserve professional advice and representation.
- Meet the landlord or his/her designated agent to see the property inside and out BEFORE giving ANYONE money.
- Do not disclose your financial information to anyone until you’ve reached the application process.
- Trust your instincts. It’s easy to get excited about scoring a fabulous home for a small monthly payment. Ask yourself if it really sounds right. Remember, these can appear on some of the larger and trusted real estate sites, until they are found to be a scam and removed. Don’t simply trust it because it came from a large and prominent real estate marketing site.
Here is an example of how a rental scam e-mail might look. This is an actual response I received from the person(s) fraudulently advertising my client’s property, so please excuse the grammar and spelling. The facebook profile mentioned is most likely a fake. There may very well be a Mr & Mrs Wayne Duckett out there somewhere. And, they’re probably very nice people. If so, I’ll bet you that they have absolutely nothing to do with this, nor do they have any idea that it’s happening. You see, the scammers really don’t care if they damage the reputations of others. They really just want your money.
Thanks for your response and interest in our house. Our lovely home is still available for lease and we want a responsible adults/family who are neat and have what it takes to take care of our house as if it were theirs. My wife and I initially had it up for sale but had a change of mind in leasing it out ourselves because the agent that was in charge of our rental property was asking way too much of an agent fee which was making it tough for people who cannot afford the rent to stay away from renting my house.The main reason our house is up for lease is because I got transferred from my place of work to TENNESSEE, I and my family will be away for at least a couple of 6 to 7 years because of the love I have for them, I have decided not to sell our house and also assuring them that we only have few years to spend here and will be willing to lease it out to person/family who is willing to assure us of taking absolute good care of our home and pay their rent on time. I will Start by telling you more in regards about me and my family. I have a daughter named Kim(19years) who attends University of TENNESSEE studying Medicine, she has a lot going for her and she is also down to earth in all that she does to keep us happy and when she is back home on vacation, she also assist her mom in the house work to do when am at work. I work for a Highway Construction Company here in TENNESSEE and got married to a lovely wife Marie who is a member of Holy Family Cathedral Church. We will be very pleased if we can find the right/potential tenant to rent our home, a person who is a clean & responsible and does not tolerate anything that has to do with dirt. we also would like to know more about you and your family, your renting experience and how long and when you plan moving into our home. These 3 bedrooms and 2 baths home are very specious and neat.
Below is the rental property address:
200 Wayside Dr , Lawrenceville, GA 30046
Pets allowed: Yes
INCLUDED IN THE RENT: Cable , Kitchen completely equipped, Kettle – Toaster – Dishwasher – Freezer – Microwave – Oven – Dryer- Heat – Water – Washing Machine and Electric.
RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
Present Address of the applicants:
Reasons for Leaving:
How long do you intend staying:
Do you drink:
Cell & Home:
Single Or Married? (children):
Pet: If any ( ):
How much do you have at hand right now if you are asked to secure the property today:
Date of Tenancy:
Are you ready to put down any payment before you get the keys?
Hope you are okay with the price of $775/ month All utilities are inclusive with rent heat, laundry facilities, air condition, Etc. and the security deposit fee is $775… PETS ARE FULLY WELCOME! You can drive by the house at your earliest convenience to see it from the outside then get back to me asap.
We are looking forward to hear from you ASAP.
You can on contact me Via Facebook On David W Duckett
Mr.& Mrs Wayne Duckett & Family
So, do your homework. Talk to a professional. Know with whom you are dealing. Call me if you have any questions with which I may help! Take care and happy house hunting!