Over the last number of months, I’ve come across a number of tenants (not a ton of them) who have told me horror stories of being duped out of thousands of dollars and falling prey to a rental scam.
I genuinely feel for these people and often think to myself, how could they have fallen for this? Don’t get me wrong, these are highly educated individuals that for some reason or another have seemed to have been convinced that this is a great deal.
I’ve often met these people on the back end when they are stuck, in a jam and quickly want me to help them out of this. They may be the greatest tenants in the world, but you need to ensure you have a process and stick to that process. Don’t work on their time table, but work on yours.
So, what are some of those tricks that prospects can fall prey to and how exactly do you spot them?
Avoid deals that seem too good to be true.
If you’re mother never warned you about this when you were younger, she should’ve. If it seems too good to be true, it likely is. If someone is offering to rent you a 3000 square foot home for $1200, close the window immediately. C’mon, it’s totally a scam. No one is that bad of a business person, are they?
Look out for ads that display a sense of urgency.
Desperation often screams scam. Think about those high-pressure sales tactics when you go buy a car or a sales seminar, when they ad pressure it turns people off. If someone wants you to act now they don’t want you to think about things and want you to act quickly.
Watch for deals where the seller asks for money upfront to secure the item.
You should never, EVER send anyone money for a rental without seeing the property first, OR having signed a lease agreement. Always meet the landlord or property manager first, and never send money sight unseen, especially if the landlord is miraculously away for weeks on end. Offer to see the place when they return. That usually ends the conversation right there, if it’s a scam.
Be smart about how you pay.
Never send a landlord or property manager without a signed lease in place or some sort of lease agreement. If they want you to send money without this, run, run fast!
If you can help some of these people, absolutely, do it. Good Karma, right? However, just be mindful of the fact that YOU need to follow YOUR process, not their timetable. If they claim to be everything that they say are, a few extra steps won’t hurt you.
And if you are a prospective tenant, please, please please, don’t fall victim to these tricks above.
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