Best Ways to Avoid Rental Scams While Looking for a New Apartment

Keys and handsIn these difficult economic times, you would do just about anything to find an inexpensive rental in the beautiful state of California. After all, who wouldn’t like to get the keys to a gorgeous, spacious beachfront property with a pool and a sleek minibar for only a few hundreds of dollars per month? Unfortunately, those who decide to conduct a home hunt on their own are often exposed to considerable risks. Here are only two types of scams that could disrupt the financial balance of inexperienced tenants who aren’t guided by a team of professional apartment finders:

1. Ripoffs. Crooks won’t hesitate to make you pay upfront for a property that doesn’t even exist on the map or for a rental that is actually unavailable. Most of these phony landlords will solicit a first payment via email or phone before even agreeing to show you the property that you wish to rent.

2. Identify Theft. Identity theft is a serious concern that you should take into consideration if you have decided to screen landlords and rentals on your own. In some cases, villains who are behind bogus ads will ask you to submit your application for a “routine background check”. They will also ask you to disclose your social security number, credit card account or bank account. This is all the info that they would need to open accounts in your name and/or steal your hard-earned cash.

Ways to Avoid Scams

Getting scammed is definitely one of the worst things that can happen to you, especially when you are desperately looking for a new roof over your head. Here’s what you can do to prevent fraudulent charges on your card and rip-offs.

1. Learn How to Identify and Interpret Red Flags. Are you dealing with a landlord that is always out of town and can’t give you a tour of his property? Are you targeting a lavishing home that carries a suspiciously small price tag? These are only a few warning signs that should put you on the run.

2. Do a Background Check.Landlords screen their tenants all the time, so why wouldn’t you apply the same strategy to find out more about your potential lessor?  You can run a background check for a landlord or a real estate agent using several free online tools. Also, you could use Google Maps to profit from a close-up view and determine whether or not the property in question really exists. Last but not least, you could type the address of the property into your favorite search engines to make sure that it’s actually a residential property for rent with a solid online presence. Deceitful ads are usually placed on scammer-run websites and introduce properties that don’t exist or have nothing to do with the landlord in question.

3. Rely on the Services of a Reputable Apartment Finder. You can stay safe by simply counting on professional services brought to you by a large, respectable apartment finder. Wouldn’t you rather find the perfect place for you rapidly, easily and stress-free? Apartment Hunterz is specialized in representing respectable independent property owners, as well as trustworthy managers of condos, townhouses, houses, duplexes and apartments. Instead of wandering in the dark, simplify your rental hunt by talking to the real pros in this sector.


Sep 2014

How to Make Sure You Get the Apartment You Want

couple at their new empty apartmentYou have finally found that perfect apartment, but if you don’t have all of your ducks in a row, you could miss out on actually getting the perfect apartment. Just because you have found one you like doesn’t mean it’s yours. In fact, that’s far from reality. There are other applicants just as interested, the place could have some mechanical issues or there might be a gross neighbor next door you don’t know about. So, before you assume you got it, make sure you take the right steps to getting it.

If You Like It, Ask for an Application Immediately

You’ve walked through and you’re ready to get that apartment, but make sure you get an application. Most applications come with fees, which can range from $10 to $50 depending on the apartment building. Don’t be pressured into filling out an application by the landlord though — sometimes they tell you there is someone else applying just to speed up the process and fill the vacancy.

Fill Out the Application Right

The application is long, and you might not have the time to do it, but don’t skip anything on that application. You need to get your application in and approved before someone else does. Because, landlords only care about who is ready to pay and move in right now — not who needs to get their stuff together first. Fill it out entirely and supply any other information required. You may want to check with the landlord about credit requirements before even applying — most will tell you their minimum credit score for applicants.

Read the Rental Agreement

Just because you’re approved doesn’t mean you have the apartment — nothing is finalized until the lease is signed and you have keys in your hand. You need to read the rental agreement thoroughly, because it is a binding contract. Read things about how maintenance is handled, your security deposit, special charges that can be added to your rent, etc. Then, before you sign, inspect the apartment. While they are supposed to tell you about what is wrong with the apartment, not all landlords are known for their honesty. A few things to check before signing:

  • Do the toilets flush?
  • Do all of the lights work?
  • Does the refrigerator and stove work?
  • Does the door lock tightly?
  • Is there mold present anywhere in the building?
  • Do you see flaking paint?

Write down anything you see and make sure the landlord knows about it. While you might lose an apartment because you require the landlord to fix something before you sign a lease, be thankful. Because you wouldn’t have wanted to live in an apartment where the landlord wasn’t honest or willing to do routine repairs.

May 2014