Over the past few months I have gotten quite a few phone calls from prospective renters that found my property listing online. After having some in depth conversations with these individuals I decided to write this post to warn others about what is happening with today's rental market, especially the Greater Philadelphia Rental Market.
As mortgage guidelines become increasing stricter and more people are being forced out of their homes due to foreclosure, the rental market in most areas including Philadelphia, Montgomery County and Bucks County have been exploding. Landlords are able to be much pickier in their tenants as well as charge higher rents than in previous years. As a second part of this post, we will discuss the benefits of home ownership vs. renting and what is best for your unique situation.
The main reason of this post was to make sure that anyone looking to rent a property due, especially shopping online, does their due diligence. The phone calls I received were from very excited individuals that found my property listed for rent. They noted that they saw it on such popular rental search sites as Craigslist, Trulia and Zillow. The shocking part to me, was that the properties they were inquiring about, mostly located in Northeast Philadelphia, had NEVER been for rent nor were the owners interested in renting them. I searched the site including again, Craigslist, Zillow and Trulia and did a little research myself on properties for rent. After a few clicks, I was able to find the listings the people mentioned and sent an email to the "landlord" that was listed, stating I was interested in renting the home. In each case the same return email was sent to me. It is below:
"Thanks for your interest regarding our home for rent.Our 3 bedroom single family home is still available for rent, We are looking for a responsible,neat and God fearing person or family whom we could trust and rely on with our properties, a family that will handle our property as if it were theirs. Actually we had our home for SALE before leaving for Oklahoma but after much deliberation we were unable to sell it again other than to have it up for lease since we won't be spending more than 4 years here in Oklahoma. We lost the agent that helped us take care of our home and we haven't found a reputable agency that will help us in taking care of our home and leaving the house empty wouldn't be a good idea so we thought of leasing it out Well after we lost the agent that helped us take care of our house, he died 28th Nov 2010 and since we could not live the house empty we had to let our Church members stay there till we get back from Tulsa OK.
The main reason why the house is for rent is that I was transferred from my place of work to further my career in Tulsa, OK. I and my family will be away for good 4 years or more, We require is a responsible and God fearing family whom we will trust and rely on with our property. We would also like to know more about you and your family, your renting experience, how long you wish occupying our home and when you plan moving into our home. We also require a good and responsible family whom are very neat freaks. We want a tenant who will do what he/she agrees to do. Someone who morally chooses to do the right
thing. A person whose signature on a contract signifies a binding promise they will keep, A clean tenant has higher standards than a dirty tenant. It is a fact that clean tenant will care for your rental property better than a dirty
tenant. Isn't it? Please do drive by and see the interior and exterior part of our house from the outside,why we don't want our Church members to know that we are renting it out to you, because if we let them know they will want to let
our Church priest know and he will want us to let them start making payment or accept them as our new tenant which we are not pleased with.Hope you know where we are coming from?"
After listening to this dribble and knowing that this information was a complete lie and totally inaccurate, I decided to play along and responded back stating that I was interested in renting the unit after seeing it from the outside. Please keep in mind that my sellers were still in the Philadelphia area. These scammers were able to get an email address that matched my sellers name. The next email that I got in response explained it all. In order for me to get the rental started and to not loose the place I had to send a $900.00 deposit check to Oklahoma and they will then send me the keys to the unit. I left it at that, and responded back, with not so nice of words, however was never emailed back. Surprise, surprise!!
Basically, if you or anyone you know is looking to rent a property and is searching online please be aware that these scams are becoming much more prevalent than I have ever seen. To assure you do not get in this situation and become scammed I offer you some advice. Either drive by the property you saw listed on Craigslist, Trulia or Zillow and call the agent directly to see if the property is actually for rent. Another option would be to work with a professional Realtor to help you find a rental as you will be assured that your best interests are looked after and you will not loose $900.00 to a scammer.
Due to the prevalence of this, I have added a rental search directory on my website. All of these are legitimate rentals and can be shown to you by any Realtor. The directory includes searches for Rentals in Philadelphia, Rentals in Montgomery County and Rentals in Bucks County, Pa.
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