How to Avoid Getting Scammed on Property
In this episode, we would like to talk about our experience with almost getting scammed on a Miami property. We are also going to share tips on how to avoid getting scammed in situations like this.
If you have no rental experience, entering the market for the first time it could become a real disaster. Having some basic knowledge about scammers and their techniques is a must for everyone looking for property. It is even more important for travel nurses.
Ways to Avoid Being Scammed on Property
There are many ways to avoid being hoodwinked on property rentals or properties that you want to buy. And it is essential that you have an idea about it. Here’s what you should know:
Verify the owner of the property
We love the convenience of having everything in one place, places like craigslist seems to be the most likely place to find a scammer. How it works is a scammer will copy and paste, a legitimate listing for a rental property, and repost it with their contact information.
They will also tell that it is at a very low price for monthly rent. And sometimes, they will even copy images with watermarks.
You want to cross-reference the listing to avoid getting scammed. If it’s a condo that has an association, call them to confirm the owner of that property unit you’re inquiring about.
You can also check the County’s Office of the Property Appraiser to make sure the owner is the same one on file. For extra measures, you can also ask for a photo ID to make sure things add up.
Avoid getting scammed by signing a written agreement
Regardless of whether you personally know the landlord or not, make sure there is a written agreement that you sign between the landlord and you.
If there are disputes or disagreements, it is difficult to work with oral agreements. Though they are legally allowed in many states, stick to written agreements in case of court.
Tip: Make sure you clearly read the agreement and agree to everything written out.
If it looks too good to be true it probably is
Look at it from a business perspective if your neighbor is renting out their property for 3000/month you wouldn’t charge someone for the same amount of space 2000/month. You would go down to about 2800 maybe even 2600.
That is because if you are dropping the price by 400/ month for the whole year you a losing 4,800 a year, why would you go down even lower if the person next to you is charging a lot more?
You need to look at other places around the property you are looking at. What does the average cost of rent actually cost? Keep in mind that it will vary from every neighborhood because location really matters.
Typically places in a major city or coastal locations cost more because of the accessibility to those things. Places outside of the city and suburbs usually cost less.
You shouldn’t feel pressured
Trust us, the first property you find that you like is not the only one you’ll enjoy. If someone ever tells you that they need the security deposit right now or after the phone call or tomorrow don’t trust them.
If the property owner has so many clients looking at their property why are they pressuring you into a deposit? The owner should win either way if you send the money or someone else does. It’s just a scheme of scarcity. You should not feel any pressure.
Ask the owner if anyone else is looking at the property. Inquire also about how many are looking into the said property, and when they plan on moving in. If they say there are a lot of people wanting to rent it and they want to move in now, it’s a scam. Why would the property owner just not give it to those people? Doesn’t make sense, right?
Avoid getting scammed if they refuse a video tour or pictures don’t add up
If the description of the property does not match up with the photos it is likely a scam. Every property owner knows how important it is to be accurate in the description and a proper way of showcasing a property.
If it says 3 bedroom 2 baths but the photos have 2 completely different looking rooms and one bathroom it would smell a little fishy. In that case, it is always good to reach out and get updated pictures or a video tour of the place.
Don’t be fooled by the owner saying he has tenants in and can’t do a video call or photos. The majority if not all short-term property leases include something that allows the owner to take photos or showcase the property. It must be given or submitted to future tenants with at least a 48 hr notice if not more.
There is absolutely no reason the owner can’t send you video images within a couple of days. We always ask for a video tour whenever we are about to rent a place. It is because that is the most accurate way of dictating the property listing. This way, you know it is legit because people can still fake images and videos.
Wire transferring money
It’s the 21st century not many people ask for wire transfers because you can’t get those refunded. Many people go through Venmo or Zelle for payments.
Many times when someone asks for a wire transfer it is to commit fraud because there is no way of you getting that money back. Ask to use a different payment method like Zelle or Venmo or even if you can pay them once you get to the property.
Getting scammed on a property is easy but avoiding them is a lot easier if you can figure out the red flags presented. Hopefully, these tips helped you so you can make better choices for your next property rental or investment.
Do you want to avoid property scammers? Check out our full episode here 👇
0:00 – Intro
0:46 – Plugs
2:14 – Episode Introduction
4:39 – 1. Verify the owner of the property
7:20 – 2. Always sign a written agreement
9:53 – 3. If it looks too good to be true it probably is
12:18 – 4. You shouldn’t feel pressured
15:10 – 5. Pictures don’t seem right or decline a video tour
19:12 – 6. Wire transferring money
19:12 – Practical Tips