When you search for a rental property, where do you look? The majority of people look online! With the introduction of the Internet, searching for rental properties has become increasingly easier. While searching for properties online is easier than driving around many neighborhoods, it has exposed tenants to an increased possibility of fraudulent activity. The exchange of information online has allowed scammers to take advantage of those looking for rental properties. But, how do you know if an online rental ad is a scam or not? Here are a couple of “red flags” to help you avoid an online rental scam:
- Does the price seem, “too good to be true?” Does the price of the rental seem cheap compared to others in the neighborhood? Compare the rental price and quality of the property to others in the area. If they don’t match up, it is too good to be true.
- NEVER put down a deposit or offer financial information before you are allowed to see the property – if a landlord asks you for this information before either meeting them or viewing the property in person, walk away and find another rental.
- Is the owner refusing to meet you? Or, are they out of the country? If a landlord is serious about you renting their property, they will be more than happy to schedule a meeting or talk on the phone with you. Not wanting to meet you or communicate on the phone is an immediate red flag!
- Poor grammar and spelling on an online rental ad is usually a red flag. Make sure to check the ad for either of these and steer clear from the property if there are any errors.
Remember, no rental, no matter how nice it is, is worth risking your identity or financial future! How do you protect yourself from an online scam? Follow these tips:
- Be proactive! Google the address of the listing and see if there are any duplicates – if there are, choose another online rental.
- Read the reviews. Use Google to search the name of the landlord or rental company – it’s always better to know all the information upfront!
- Always see the property and meet the landlord in person.
- Research the neighborhood you want to live in and compare rental prices of other homes with the one you are considering.
- Use a property management company to help you find a rental in the area. Property managers will help you every step of the way!
Do you have any questions about rental properties in the Austin area? TALK Property Management manages several wonderful properties in the area and would love to provide you with any information you need!