In real estate, scams are all too common. And in the digital age, Mesas of Summerlin buyers and renters are even more likely to come in contact with them than in years past. Renters especially need to be on guard when looking for a home to lease. Falling victim to a home rental scam can mean losing hundreds or thousands of dollars and be left without a place to live when moving day comes. Here are some of the common red flags home rental scams will show so all renters know which listings to avoid.
The Price is Too Good to be True
No matter what the case is: whether buying a home or renting, always give the price special attention. A home that may seem like a bargain can secretly be a scammer looking to make a quick buck by drawing in someone who just wants to save money. As the saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” When looking for a home to rent, always look for a home that’s priced fairly—not too high or too low. A home priced too high is a waste of money, and a home priced too low can potentially be a scam.
The Owner Won’t Meet In Person
A good landlord will always have time for their tenants, whether they’re already signed onto a lease or just prospective. If the renter wants to meet with the property owner and the owner has excuses for why they can’t, it can be a big red flag. Scammers want to distance themselves from the scam, and that means not letting anyone see who’s behind it. A scammer will tell renters that they’re out of the country, on vacation, ill, in the military, or anything that could be realistic. Some scammers even go the extra mile and direct the renter to a fake lawyer or real estate agent to speak with on their behalf.
There’s No Screening Process
When someone is leasing a home, they want to know about their potential tenant and will screen everyone who shows serious interest. The screening process involves looking into the renter’s finances to see if they will be able to afford the home, talking to past landlords to find out if there were ever any issues, and so on. If a landlord is ready to let the renter sign a lease before looking into any of these things, it’s a big red flag. A landlord should care about the type of person they’re allowing into their home. By skipping the screening process, it can be a sign that they intend to make quick cash off a scam.
The Owner Won’t Let Renters View the Property
When buying or leasing any sort of property, it’s customary to be able to walk through the home so the buyer or renter can see it for themselves. If the property owner will only let a prospective renter see photos on a listing instead of actually walking through the home, it’s a sign that the photos were stolen from somewhere else. Scammers will often take pictures from other listings, use them as their own, and trick renters into signing a lease. When they get to the home they paid for, it’s completely different.
Scams exist everywhere, and people looking to rent a home need to be especially cautious. If something feels suspicious, there’s a good chance it is. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to real estate. Doing so can help save a lot of time and money.
Debbie Drummond is a Full Time Realtor with over ten years experience in the Las Vegas Real Estate Market. She and her team of Real Estate Pros offer the highest level of service. If you’re buying or selling a Las Vegas home, call (702)354-6900 or email Debbie@LVHomePro.com. They’ll be happy to assist you in your move.