How Can You Tell If a Property Listing Is a Scam?

When something appears to be too good, it almost always is.

Property listing scams naturally aim to steal your money. Scammers will  try to get you to send a funds for a security deposit or move-in fee without ever seeing the apartment, and they’ll keep the money without any meaning of renting to you. Follow your instincts and walk away from a situation that doesn’t seem right or when you’re getting pressured. Knowing some signs of potential rental scams can help you avoid being taken advantage of .

The warning signs.

1. They Don’t Want to Meet You

It’s not a good sign if the person who replies to your listing says he or she is out of town or country and cannot meet you. Some scammers even lie and say they are in the military to avoid setting up a time to meet you in person. They will tell you to drive by or peak in windows and get back with them.

2. They Want You to Move in Immediately, Without Ever Seeing the Property

Even if you meet someone in person who claims to be the landlord, you should absolutely see the property before signing a lease or sending money. It’s easy for someone to say they have a property and fake an online listing, so you need to see the property in person and make sure the place is really available.

3. They Ask for Rent or a Security Deposit Before Signing a Lease

An obvious sign that the apartment you’re looking at is a scam is if the landlord, or realtor asks for rent or a security deposit before signing a lease.

4. The Price is Too Good

When you see a price that looks too good , it probably is. A property that is priced below the market in your area should be a red flag.

6. The Listing Has Typos, Poor Grammar or Excessive Punctuation

Beware of rental listings that are full or errors. Many out of the country scammers will use bad English to describe the property.

7. There Is No Screening Process

If a landlord does not require a rental application and credit check, you should consider this a red flag.

8. They Want You to Sign an Incomplete Lease

One reason why every renter needs to read through a new lease is to see if it’s complete or not. A landlord or property manager that asks you to sign an incomplete lease does not have your best interest in mind because they can change the lease whenever, and however, they want without letting you know.

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