This is just another in a long list of reasons to ONLY work with a licensed Real Estate Agent.
I have been getting emails from people about this, articles from other parts of the country and lately a few calls at the office. Tonight it hit home. I listed a lovely home in a beach area of Milford this week. The owner just called me and said that someone drove by after I left the open house and asked the neighbor if the house was for rent. The neighbor said no it’s for sale why? “We saw it for rent on Craigs List”.
Now, I know some agents put their listings on Craigs List; I do not and I don’t see any reason to. We have so many avenues to advertise a listing and quite frankly there are far too many scammers out there. It’s a hit and run type of thing. They list it for a couple days if they get a bite they take it and then delete it. I just looked and it is no longer there. I have a bad feeling someone is out some money. Does it happen on some other sites too? Of course; that’s why I always say, use a licensed real estate agent.
Here is how it works. Ad says “Lovely 3BR home for rent with views of beach; within walking distance. Available weeks _________ and ___________. Call (out of state owner) at 555-555-5555 to reserve.” When you talk to them they tell you to send them a bank check for the week, month, whatever. I mean, they don’t know who you are, how do they know your check will be good. They then tell you, after they receive, they will call you to let you know where to pick up the keys. I bet their brother or other family member lives on the same street; you’re out cash and a place to hang your hat.
This doesn’t just happen with vacation rentals. Long term rentals too and I can understand how you can be rooked into these things. Some people, in this economy especially, are having a hard time getting a landlord to give them a chance, especially if you have lost a home, are unemployed or just building your life back up. It’s very tempting to fall for someone that sounds so understanding over the phone. DON’T DO IT!! Oh, and don’t fall for, “I’m renting it for my mother, my cousin who is serving in Iraq, blah blah blah.” It needs to be done in person, see the place, proof of ownership and/or power of attorney for the owner.
There is a very easy way to check out and see if someone is legit too. Go to the town hall and look up the tax record, see who owns the property. It takes about a minute and could save you a lot of money, time and disappointment. But, the best way to do this……..USE A LICENSED REALTOR. If we have done our job, we already know all this. You can rest assured that the rental you are paying for will be the place you lay your head at night.