Scammers are all over, including the real estate industry. They are always preying on their next victim. Although there are lots of legit real estate agencies, unscrupulous traders have devised methods to scam people. If you don’t want to lose your hard-earned money and waste your time while looking for a house, this article is for you
Here are tips to avoid housing scams:
Avoid deals that sound too good to be true
As the adage goes, if the deal is too good, think twice. Scammers like to offer the best prices when it comes to renting out or selling property. You look at the price, and it seems like the deal of a lifetime. What you may not know is that you are about to get scammed. Cheap houses, as well as low rent, are hard to come by in the city. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true. If you come across such advertisements, ignore them and move on. Save yourself from the loss and heartache that comes with being scammed.
Avoid landlords who only provide their email address
Housing scammers don’t have physical offices. Otherwise, they’d get caught easily. They will typically only provide an email address, social media page, or phone number. If you ask to go to their office, they will give a ton of excuses. Before you engage in any business with a landlord, search the agency on the internet and visit their business premises. They may also ask you to transfer money to them using methods that are unfamiliar to you.
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Don’t pay for an apartment you haven’t seen
Housing scammers are always trying to sell or rent out properties that you haven’t seen. If you are not in the city where the property is located, send a friend to inspect the house before paying for it.
Try the keys before paying
There are many methods that scammers employ to get money from unsuspecting house hunters. The ultimate objective is to make their tricks as believable as possible. Some will even provide house keys. But after paying and heading out to the house, the keys will not work. By then, it is too late, and your money is gone.
Talk to neighbors
One of the best ways to ensure that you are talking to a legit housing agency is to ask neighbors if the said rental house is available. If possible, you can ask which agency rents it out. Once the information checks out, you can comfortably pay the rent.
Be aware of an agency that pressures you
Housing scammers understand that a deal can fall through at any time. Therefore, they use different tactics to pressure you so that you will pay. They may tell you to pay before someone else pays for it. Don’t fall for this trick. Take your time to assess the property.
Getting swindled by house scammers is a painful ordeal. You don’t want to fall victim to these costly scams. Take heed of the tips we have listed above to stay safe.