5 Ways to Tell That House for Rent is a Craigslist Scam

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

I suspect that sometimes prospective tenants feel a bit flustered when they call this Sacramento Realtor to inquire about a home for rent in Sacramento, because I make them listen to my commercial, which is they could probably buy a home for less per month than they will pay to rent it. Rents are super high in Sacramento, and finding homes to rent is difficult. With our low interest rates bouncing around under 4%, many investors are finding properties will cash flow. If they cash flow, it's because the rents are higher than the PITI mortgage payments.

As a Sacramento Realtor, I do not handle rentals in Sacramento. I work only on homes for sale. But callers find my information embeded in rental scams on Craigslist. You can read more about it in my personal blog today at this link: How to Tell if That Sacramento House is a Craigslist Rental Scam.

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.

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Tags:
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craigslist rental scams
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Ambassador
1,039,167
Andrea Swiedler
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Elizabeth, I have had a few listings of mine show up on Craig's List. Even had one scammed and put on Trula. Now that was a surprise when it happened. You are right, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. 

Always the caller is told the owner can't show them the house, go peek in the windows. Yeah, that is a good tip off too.

We were just discussing this at our board meeting this morning. I do prepare my sellers for the possibility it could happen, and I really have no control over it happening. 

Embedding your name in the listing photos is a good idea, however I can't do that with our MLS. 

Great information. Agents in CT do handle rentals, in NY and MA it is done a bit differently than here, I always find that fascinating. 

Great post!

Nov 15, 2016 01:27 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Andrea Swiedler We can't embed our names in our MLS, either, but you do have the ability to edit your listings or place your listings manually on other websites. That's where I do it. For some reason, Sacramento seems a virtual hotbed for Craigslist rental scams.

Agents call me and ask if I'm worried because my listing is on Craigslist as a rental scam but soon as it is removed, another pops up. I can't control what scammers do. But victims can get more involved.

Nov 15, 2016 01:30 AM #2
Rainmaker
2,827,931
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Good morning, Elizabeth -- yes - you have clearly identified the ways scammers use Craigslist for their nefarious activities.  Beyond hitting report, it really is out of our hands but this post and others signal that this practice continues to be a problem for those hopeful of finding riches in the ditches.  

Nov 15, 2016 01:57 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Michael Jacobs Ha, ha, riches in the ditches. That's a good way to put it. The thing is they tend to scam a lot of people, and relatively intelligent people can easily get sucked in.

Nov 15, 2016 02:03 AM #4
Rainmaker
607,803
Kathy Stoltman
Rockwood Realty - Ventura, CA
Ventura County Real Estate Consultant 805-746-1793

Elizabeth, great article, folks just really need to remember if it is too good to be true it most likely is a scam.

Nov 15, 2016 06:57 AM #5
Ambassador
2,435,329
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.AtHomesCharlotte.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Happens to me all the time too Elizabeth. The word has been put out about this but people still fall prey to it. I really feel sorry for those people who send in a security deposit and/or the first months rent only to find out they've been scammed when they call me. 

Nov 15, 2016 09:44 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Kathy Stoltman Down deep I sense most of them know it which is why they call. But there is that little voice inside saying, maybe, maybe, giving them hope.

Nov 15, 2016 10:31 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Debe Maxwell I try not to talk down to these people, too, because they're hurting enough. They need to find a place to rent, and they're obviously having a rough time of it.

Nov 15, 2016 10:32 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,110,276
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Those are good tips for avoiding rental home Craigslist scams, Elizabeth! 

Nov 15, 2016 11:07 AM #9
Rainmaker
661,636
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

One of my listings was hijacked once and what a nightmare that was! I wasted hours going through websites (I had no idea there were so many besides Craigslist on which scammers post fake listings) reporting it until they eventually gave up. The low, low price and some sob story why they can't meet the prospective tenant and need rent mailed to them right away are 2 of the telltale signs. 

Nov 15, 2016 12:11 PM #10
Rainmaker
2,635,110
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Elizabeth interesting points, here in Los Angeles we do rentals too since they could be from the low end of $2500 to the high end of $200k  per month... and we prescribe to the  theory "every dollar is a dollar" great information about scammers...Endre

Nov 15, 2016 02:16 PM #11
Ambassador
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Because agents out here handle rental listings, seeing the home listed twice, but for two different amounts (the lower being on Craigslist) is what should tip off tenants in VA.

Nov 16, 2016 04:09 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Myrl Jeffcoat I get at least 2 or 3 calls every week about my listings being swiped by crooks on Craigslist. That's just crazy. And I wonder about the poor people who do not call and what happened to them.

Nov 16, 2016 05:38 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Andrea Bedard Trying to track down the websites and removing that stuff yourself is a huge time waster, I have discovered. It's better to just let it ride out until they either go to jail or glob on to some other agent's listing.

Nov 16, 2016 05:39 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Endre Barath, Jr. Well, I am unaware of any high end rentals that agents handle here in Sacramento. It is so cheap to buy, there is really no need to rent. People can buy a second home pretty easily and a million bucks goes a long way.

Nov 16, 2016 05:40 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,960,801
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents
Lyon Real Estate - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

Chris Ann Cleland I get calls from tenants who think the seller just wants to rent the home in case he can't sell it. And every so often I will have a seller say she wants to remove her home from the market and rent it but it's rare.

Nov 16, 2016 05:42 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,673,491
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents , I guess that's the price you pay when you are in a large metropolitan area.  We don't have much of that here in these smaller towns.  Now watch, tomorrow we will get bombarded with them and prove me wrong.  Have a nice weekend.

Nov 17, 2016 11:32 AM #17
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