Diamond Shield Management Korea 5 Tips to Avoid Rental Property Scams
Rentals scams are nothing new. These cunning schemes are as old as property rental itself. Many people fear these scams, and for good reasons. Paying a deposit and not renting the property is a significant loss. Besides money, you also feel morally injured.
Moreover, in the digital era, these scams have multiplied. It is easier to trick people online. From fake property rental listings to phony rental agencies, examples are plentiful. No one likes to feel cheated. So, how can you avoid costly and painful property scams? Here are five tips to help you stay safe.
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Don’t Rent a Property You Haven’t Seen Yet
The golden rule when renting is to see the property before. It is a common and logical step to ensuring your money goes in the right place. Inspecting a property first helps you spot problems. It also enables you to understand if the site is right for you. Looking at photos on the internet helps too. However, photos can’t or aren’t always meant to capture all the property’s characteristics. Therefore, it makes sense to visit it before paying a deposit.
Nonetheless, many things have changed over the past two years. Due to the pandemic, viewing properties became more complicated. So, some people were satisfied with what they saw in photos online. They agreed to sign a lease and pay a deposit without visiting the property first. This caused problems further down the line. The houses were below their expectations. In the worst-case scenario, there was no rental property at all. People paid for a house that never existed in that area. But they only realized that when they went there to pick up the key.
Do Your Research First
Moving to a new city or neighborhood is not easy. You might be in a hurry to get there fast. However, this should not prevent you from studying the area. Nothing is more frustrating than paying high rent for a year because of poor prior research. After you move, you might learn that rent in the area actually costs less. With a bit of research and patience, you can avoid this. Take your time to look at different rental properties. Also, visit them if possible. This way, you’ll get a feel of the neighborhood.
Moreover, if you use an agent, ask for more recommendations. Agencies have plenty of properties in their portfolio. Don’t settle for the first property you see. Inspect more. Then, if the first is the best, you’ll be making a well-researched choice. Moreover, before renting, check out the property’s status. Your agent should also help with this. For example, if the house is in foreclosure, you should know about it.
Ask for a Written Lease
Nowadays, it’s easy to draft a contract and sign it. You can even do this electronically. So, there is no more excuse not to have one. Always ask for a written agreement to ensure you have proof of lease. Giving the agency or landlord money before that is risky. Don’t rely only on people’s word. You never know who you’re dealing with. The correct order is to sign a lease contract first and then pay a deposit or commission. Moreover, make sure you also get a copy of the signed contract. Sometimes, landlords only ask tenants to send a signed contract by email. But they never send the contract back with their due signature. Insist that you receive the contract. Only pay the deposit afterward.
Tenant – Landlord Tips
Always Meet the Landlord in Person if Possible
Scammers are usually reluctant to meet their victims. Therefore, insist on meeting the landlord in person to avoid a property rental scam. This will cast away many doubts. Moreover, it will put your mind at ease. You want to know in whose pocket your monthly rent goes.
Also, be skeptical if the landlord avoids the encounter. They should be interested in meeting you too. In the end, they leave their house in your hands. Moreover, be skeptical if they don’t ask anything. Most landlords carry out a credit check. They want to know if you’re able to pay rent. And they generally want to know more about you.
Don’t Give Cash
Even if the landlord or agent insists, avoid paying in cash. This increases the risk of fraud, especially if you don’t get an invoice. Scammers’ trademark is untraceable payments. Ask to pay your deposit and first rent with a bank card. Thus you will have payment proof. If the landlord offers alternatives such as pre-paid cards, Western Union transfers, or cryptocurrency, be wary. You might be dealing with a scam.
There are many tenant scams out there. But you can easily avoid most of them with a cautious approach. Do your research before renting a property. Always visit the unit before paying. Use traditional payment methods. And don’t give any money before signing a contract.
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