Searching online is the best way to find a new property or at least start the process. If you take a few seconds to search in your area, you’ll see there are hundreds of listings on dozens of websites.
The problem with searching online is that you don’t have any direct contact initially with the agent or the landlord who is renting out the property. That lack of contact could lead you to a scam if you’re not careful.
Scams are easy to avoid, however. Today, we’re sharing five simple tips that can help you move forward in your search for rental property without being scammed.
Tip 1: Do a Second Search
This may seem odd, but most legitimate companies have their available properties posted in more than one place. They should have it on their company website and external sites. So if you see a listing that you like, search for the property again. When you find it, compare the details and see if they match. If they don’t match or you can’t find an additional listing on a company’s website, ask a few questions before moving forward.
Tip 2: Don’t Send Money
You never want to send any money to a landlord or agent before you see the property. No reputable company or landlord will ask you for a security deposit in advance. Make sure you meet with someone first and see the inside of the property.
Tip 3: Don’t Wait for Keys
No company is going to send you keys to a property without meeting with you or having you see the home. If someone offers to send you keys in exchange for money, it’s probably a scam. We have heard plenty of horror stories about people who sign a lease and send a security deposit, but they are still waiting for keys to the property.
Tip 4: If It’s Too Good To Be True…It Probably Is
When a listing sounds too good to be true, trust that instinct. Everyone would love to rent a four bedroom, two bathroom renovated home in downtown Chapel Hill for $1,000 a month. But, if you see similar listings in that area for $2,000 or $3,000 per month, you’ll need to dig a little deeper. The perfect home that’s so cheap is probably a scam.
Tip 5: Report What You See
This is not as much of a tip as it is a plea.
If you do see a listing out there that seems a little dicey, let the property management company or landlord know. We want to do our part in helping to get rid of scams so your housing search is easier and a bit more fun.
This information will help you avoid online scams. If you have any questions or concerns about online housing scams or you need help with Carrboro or Chapel Hill property management, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Mill House Properties.