There were reports in 2010 about people who advertise rental properties that do not legally belong to them according to Homes For Sale Saint Louis experts. And it hasn’t gone away.
They advertise a house for rent online saying how beautiful this home is. They suck you in with all the amenities and ask that you request an application.
These would be owners also include a well written letter describing their plight on not being able to sell their home (which in today’s mortgage crisis is not really that far off course) and have decided to rent it instead and that you would be helping them out.
Excuses start to compile as they tell you that it is the fault of an inept real estate agent or company and they have no alternative but to rent this wonderful house.
But the clincher is you as the new renter must submit an application with the down payment and first month’s rent and then do the homeowner a big favor the removal of the “for sale” sign off the lawn.
This real estate scam is coming better stronger than ever with better forms of advertising and preying on the sympathies of those who desperately need a home.
Here are some tips to protect you and your money from rental fraud:
1. If you see an advertisement for a rental home that looks like a repetitive form letter, it may be best to avoid this ad.
2. Read the e-mail carefully and see if they answer any questions you submitted in your inquiry. If not, it probably is a form letter.
3. Once you ascertain the address of the property, type it into Google with the zip code if possible. You will definitely pull up listings on the search engines about this property such as is it listed “for sale.” Jot down the real estate agent’s phone number and call about this property for rent. If the agent says it is not, you were a target of rental fraud from an anonymous person. Report this to the agent and where you saw this property advertised for rent.
4. It is a good idea to avoid meeting the owner of the house anywhere else other than the location of the rental property.
5. The supposed homeowner should be able to meet you at the rental property location and let you in the house to view it. If not, run, don’t walk.
6. And don’t forget, never give cash or send cash to someone that is in another town as this definitely sounds like rental fraud. And never remove a “for sale” sign from the property.
Dennis Norman, a local writer for the St. Louis Real Estate News brought out a good point as to rental fraud.
Look out for: The scammer duplicates postings from legitimate real estate sites, alters them, and reposts them. Often, the scammers use the broker’s real name to create a fake e-mail address, which gives the fraud more legitimacy. When the victim sends an e-mail through the website inquiring about the home, they receive a response from someone claiming to be the owner.
Typically the story goes that the owners are doing missionary work and would like to rent out their home back in the states. Then they ask you to send them money to their current address and you never see your money again.
It is getting to the place that real estate agents or their assistants need to check the places where they advertise their properties as to avoid any future problems or angry phone calls from those who may have fallen victim to these fraudulent rental ads.
Potential renters need to do some research on a home by going to the Internet.
And remember to never let your emotions get the best of you. Yes, it may be the best home for you and your family and yes, the price may be too hard to pass up.
These tips that are recommended by St Louis mortgage brokers and real estate agents will help you avoid losing your money and valuable time.
Get a St Louis loan today. Also visit www.StLouisMortgageGroup.com for a Loan Audit. Principal Loan Reduction: Available for both homes and businesses. Call us at 314-334-0210 or 877-334-0210.