7 Tips on How to Avoid Rental Scams

rental scams
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The rental market is in the midst of a massive boom, with 3.7 million people renting a living space according to CNBC’s findings.

And while renting can be a great way to find a better home or apartment for a more affordable price, renters need to be wary of certain scams that may cost them their money, credit, and even their home.

Make your next rental decision an educated one by checking out these seven tips for avoiding rental scams.

1. Get Everything In Writing

Verbal agreements are great — among friends. But if you’re dealing with someone you’ve just met and don’t know very well, you’ll want to make sure you get everything in writing.

Particularly when you stop to consider that this is someone you’re going to be stuck dealing with for the remainder of your agreement.

Therefore, you’ll want to make sure all details are hammered down in writing, which is often legally binding. Plus, you can keep a paper trail if your deal requires legal arbitration.

2. Visit The Property Before Signing A Document

This tip might sound kind of silly to some, but the Internet makes renting easier than ever.

Theoretically, would-be renters or property owners can wake up and find a new place to live or manage before they’ve even finished their coffee.

Patience is a virtue, however, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Visit the property, preferably with the owner.

3. Look Into The Current Owner’s Background

It’s time to put on your detective hat and conduct your very own background search! In all actuality, it isn’t anything that serious, but it’s quite important nonetheless.

If you’re partnering with an owner who handles multiple properties or does this for a living, a quick Google search should help you find out more information about them.

Otherwise, check social media accounts to make sure your potential landlord is who they say they are.

4. Avoid Cash-Only Deals

If an owner suggests making a deal via cash and only cash, consider this a massive red flag and move on. Typically, “owners” who only deal in cash are actually scammers looking to make a quick buck off of a trusting individual or a vacant home.

5. Speak To The Owner In Person

Texting, emailing, or messaging is more convenient than a phone call 99% of the time. But when it comes to a possible landlord, you need to be sure they are who they say they are.

Talk to them in person and ask questions such as:

  • How long have you managed properties?
  • Is this your first time selling/renting?
  • Why are you looking to lease this property?

If they’re simply running renter scams, they’re not going to have answers to your questions and will likely change the subject at the first possible moment.

6. Demand Referrals

Along with learning more about your soon-to-be landlord’s background, seek referrals before coming to an agreement or involving finances.

If they’re reputable, they’ll have plenty of people who can back them up.

7. Trust Your Gut

At the end of the day, nothing quite beats our gut instincts. Honed by years of experience, learning, and even genetics, your base instincts can get you out of some sticky situations.

If something seems wrong about a deal or you feel uneasy about the other party, walk away. It’s better to seem a little rude than to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Rental Scams Are Getting More Complex: Be On The Lookout

Rental scams are getting more and more complex, so it’s up to you to remain vigilant. Remember that there’s no shame in walking away if you feel uncomfortable about a deal and always give a deal its due diligence before signing any written agreement.

Looking to find a great agent or have some questions about property management? Feel free to get in touch!

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