When you are renting out a property, you have to watch out for scam artists. Unfortunately, there are opportunists who use nefarious means to steal your money with unscrupulous methods. We’re going to discuss five ways you can avoid being a victim of a rental scam.
- One way that scammers work the system is by pulling copies of your photos from different posted websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, or Apartments.com. A smart way to outmaneuver them is by watermarking your photos. This way your information remains relevant and deters the criminal.
- Be sure to include proper signage at the property, whether it’s via your property management company, a way to contact you, or the real estate agent you’re working with. If the potential renter gets on site and sees this information, it will then alert them to a proper number to call. Your scammer most likely only pulled information from online and hasn’t checked it out in person, so it’s a quick way to make sure any potential tenant sees who is the true contact for the property.
- Either have your property manager, or if you’re local, do property inspections. Has somebody moved in due to a scam and a key in a lockbox? Is there information onsite that redirects renters to call a number that’s not accurate? Showing up in person gives you peace of mind that everything is okay on site.
- Protect your lockbox code number. If people had to go into your home for inspections or repairs, change the number when they’ve finished, or make sure to get their license # to know that they are who they say they are. Do not give it out to random strangers and think that information is safe. There are ways around this, such as software that gives a thirty-minute window for a code. The potential tenant has to supply a driver’s license for ID and a valid credit card for a self-show property.
- Monitor online ads. Check to see if there are homes for rent in your neighborhood and check them to make sure they are not duplicated ads for your residence. Monitor your address and keep an eye on them, because it doesn’t take long for scammers to create an ad by swiping your images and information. One red flag is if somebody calls and claims they saw the same property cheaper on Craigslist, and can they still get that deal, even though you have it listed higher on Zillow or another site.
Don’t forget to go back and read our article about looking for red flags on advertisements, so you can avoid being scammed. If you found this information helpful, be sure to share it with others. Also, visit us on YouTube, today, where you can pick up more helpful tips.