If you are looking to rent a home from someone you don’t know, you need to be very careful these days. Potential tenants need to be VERY careful and they need to research their landlord like never before. First, to make sure they won’t be foreclosed on during their rental term. Not only do you have to move but you may lose your deposit. Second, that the landlord actually OWNS the property, that they aren’t some scammer who just took over some vacant property. Here are my tips for how to minimize your risk.
Meet the landlord in person at the property and ask them to bring their mortgage statement. Look at the payment amount. If it is substantially more than you will be paying in rent, that’s a red flag. Next see if you can tell if it’s a fixed-rate loan or an ARM (it won’t always tell you on the statement). If you can’t tell, ask the landlord. Next, look at the “next due” and if it’s MORE than one payment, that means they are behind and that’s a MAJOR red flag! Next ask them to pull out their driver’s license and make sure it matches the name on the statement. If they can’t or won’t do any of the above, think twice about renting it! Now, if you are dealing with a real estate agent or property manager you know and trust, and they tell you they’ve verified all the above that will give you a higher level of confidence. But it still wouldn’t hurt to have them search the County records for any foreclosure notices, or do it yourself! Leases signed after certain steps in the foreclosure process can be deemed invalid by the foreclosing lender.
Be especially careful of rentals on CraigsList, especially when the landlord says they got transferred out of the country suddenly and are renting the home for less than market rent, but you never meet them in person. Scammers would rather not use a property management company to list their home for lease because it’s one more person that might discover the fraud.
If you have questions on this or any other real estate topic, call me at (925) 240-MOVE (6683). To search the MLS for free and view virtual tours of homes for sale, go to: www.SharpHomesOnline.com. Sharp Realty