Not only do I work with Buyers and Sellers but I also work with Renters/Tenants and Owners/Lease Listings. A lease listing is when I market an owner's home for lease to try and find a qualifed tenant through many types of marketing including Craigslist. Here in Austin, Craiglist.org isn't as effective as it used to be in years past. In fact, now it's pretty much full of Apartment locators trying to do the ol' bait and switch. But that is not what this post is about. It's about the current influx of SCAMS on CRAIGSLIST.
For instance, this past summer alone, I know of 2 agents in our office that were targeted. One agent, we'll call him Agent A, was busy showing a client a ton of different properties in the Austin, TX area but his client, we'll call her Client A was getting frustrated with selection and prices, so she started looking on her own on Craigslist. Agent A gave a follow-up call to Client A and see how her search was going. She was so excited that she found a newer Duplex in Central Austin, built in 2010 with over 1200 sq. ft. for $900 and was going to meet with the owner to turn in money orders and their approved application. Hold up!! Agent A said this sounded too good to be true and asked his client for the address to confirm his suspicions. That same duplex was listed on the Austin MLS for $2700 a month!!! Client A was about to turn over money to some stranger and thanked Agent A for helping her almost making a huge mistake. Just goes to show that it's always good to have a Realtor on your side when looking for rental properties.
Agent B had listed a 3 bedroom/2 bath renovated home on a corner lot in Central Austin and posted an ad on Craigslist for $1600 a month. This house was located in a hot area of the Crestview neighborhood and the phone calls came rolling in. One Saturday afternoon, he got a call from an overly eager couple who wanted to see the place immediately and were very interested in putting in applications. Agent B went to meet them an hour later and gave them a tour of the house. They said they would take it and asked if they could turn in their apps with the $1000 deposit. Agent B looked puzzled, he said, the deposit is $1600 a month. The eager couple said, that is not what Craigslist said, it's said deposit was $1000 and first month's rent was $1000. That wasn't from the Ad that the agent had posted. Someone copied his pictures and detailed information but changed the price and email contact address. firstname.lastname@example.org was not the listing Realtor's email address!! Someone almost scammed all parties.
Upon further investigation, here's the response below we got from emailing a request to see that address. Remember, do your homework with a Realtor before you turn money orders over to anyone. Google the address and see what other marketing is out there. And please do not fall for the drive-by and look at the outside line. Get an Austin Realtor to get you access to the inside of the house and prove it's legit. Has this happened in your town? Thanks for reading!
Thanks for your email.. The house is still available. I decided to rent the house because we are going to spend more time here in West Africa, about 7 years.. Let me start by introducing myself.I must confess that I am very new in this landlord business..However, My name is John R Carlin. I and my wife own the house located at (**** Lazy, Austin TX ).Due to my job as a civil engineer, I works for a German company called JULIUS BERGER CONSTRUCTION LTD, and now i have been transfer to West Africa to work in a branch in West Africa.I spent less time in the States so I could not get a hold on any Realtor to handle this rent issue, although it was when I knew how long we are going to stay in Africa that I decided to rent out the house. However,the initial plan was to sale out the House. which I tried, but sometimes the agents inflates the prize and it takes longer to sell.The house include the utilities like Heat, A/C in wall/window, Hydro, cable, Garbage Disposal, Fireplace , Fridge, stove, Dishwasher, Dryer, Breakfast Bar, Dining Table and Sofa Set,Refrigerator,Canopied deck overlooking nature.,internet access e.t.c. because of this reason and more we need a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money , but want it to be clean and for you to take it as if it were yours.
The rent is: $1000
Security Deposit: $1000
For this 2BR/2BA.
Pets Allowed:Dogs and Cats.
Available :Available Now for move in.
PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
RENT APPLICATION FORM
MIDDLE NAME: _________________
LAST NAME: __________________
PHONE (____) __________
(CELL)PHONE (____) __________
(WORK)PHONE (____) __________
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
ZIP CODE: ____________
HOW LONG? ___________IF RENTING
WHY ARE YOU LEAVING? IF THIS APARTMENT IS BEING GIVEN TO YOU,
HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________
WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
IF YOU HAVE A PET,
NAME OF PET: _____________
KIND OF PETS: _____________
DO YOU SMOKE? ______________
DO YOU DRINK? ______________
DO YOU WORK LATE NIGHT? ____
HOW SOON CAN YOU SEND THE PAYMENT______________
TAKE NOTE: YOU CAN ONLY DRIVE BY AND SEE MY HOUSE FROM THE OUTSIDE AND IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN RENTING GET THE APPLICATION FORM FILLED