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kes, Renter in Englewood, CO

so far Trulia has had TWO scam homes up for rent. I don't trust this site anymore

Asked by kes, Englewood, CO Thu Jul 4, 2013

So far Trulia has had TWO scam homes up for rent. I don't trust this site anymore

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Trulia is a tool. Like the newspaper and other websites. We are in a very extreme real estate market. There are so many posts these days - buyers frustrated with short sales, renters desperate to find a place, home owners unable to trade up. IMHO, the underlying unifying issue is a lot of folks see sites like this one as replacing agents. Websites can't replace the experience and knowledge of Realtors. In a tough market, buyers, renters and sellers are best served finding a Realtor or property agent and trusting in them to help with a difficult process with legal ramifications. I'm sorry you feel scammed. I personally would never buy or rent a house merely based upon an ad I saw online. Yes, an agent will charge a fee, a reasonable expense to have a great home in a safe location and avoid all the scams and headaches out there. Wishing you good luck in your search and suggesting you interview some agents. [I imagine I'm going to get slammed for this post, whatever.]
3 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 5, 2013
You shouldn't trust sight, as it is wrought by predators who pounce on innocent people trying to find a home to rent. I received at least a call a month about a property I'm listing (usually under contract) that shows up as "too good to be true" rental on trulia.com.

The story is always the same. The "landlord," someone who works for a dark room somewhere other than Denver, CO, apparently had to leave their lovely home and they're just looking for a good family to rent it."

Great, but the problem is THEY DO NOT OWN the home, nor is the home even rent -- they always pick properties under contract or homes that have sold.

Craig's List and Trulia.com (don't know if Zillow has the same thing) are the biggest ripoffs ever. If you're looking for a home on line, make sure you NEVER send money to anyone unless you've met them at the property and they're shown you identification that they are the "real" owners.

With rentals in Denver being so scarce and so expensive, please be careful.

Julie Montgomery, Cherry Creek Properties, Denver, CO
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 1, 2015
Hi Kes:

Unfortunately, it is very difficult for sites like Trulia, Craigslist, etc. to police these kinds of scams. On a national basis, it would take an outrageous amount of work. Or the sites would have to charge for listings, which would mean they would have very few listings, which does not help renters like you either.

But scam artist know this and they do take advantage. Often they grab photos from "for sale" listings and recycle them as rentals, frequently at price that are too good to believe.

The main thing to always remember is to protect your own safety and finances. Your radar should always be up in these situations. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, run the other way. Don't send money via mail. Don't wire or Moneygram money. Don't give out financial information of any kind. Don't ever go alone to look at rentals. Watch out for anything suspicious (like a "for sale" sign in the yard or an "owner" who claims to be out of town and suggests you just go look through the windows).

And it does not hurt to ask a lot of questions and do some checking. Often you can confirm owners' names in county records online. Usually you can find phone numbers for neighbors online. You can call and see what they know. And, whether you are in contact with the "owner" via phone, e-mail or text, you can ask for a lot of neighborhood information. Where is the closest grocery. How far to the library. What is the elementary school. Real owners know these things.

The internet is a great invention. But it does let the crooks, scam artists and others hide and we all have to be more careful when dealing with people electronically.

Kind regards,
Ron Rovtar
Prudential Real Estate of the Rockies
(Soon to be Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices)
info@rovtar.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
same here. they had a posting that was listed as a rental. but it was for sale. then a second rental i found; 5658 W Center Ave, Lakewood, CO 80226, too good to be true, listed for 749 w/900 dep, the email reply smacked of scam. how does trulia check it's listings? i'm going to the site on the premise that they've done SOME sort of background check on accepting the rentals listings. Zillow did not list this property as available for rent. it was listed as sold in May 2012. i'm with you i can't trust what i see on trulia. i'm done with them and will discourage ANYONE from using trulia
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 27, 2013
Remember any Rental that appears to be a Great Deal is often not! Seem to always want money up front and will send you the key afterwards without seeing the unit. Generally Craigslist scams.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 4, 2013
I fully agree. A great deal of what is on Trulia, Zillow, Hotpads, Craigslist, and any other site where one can list a rental for free, and do so unmonitored, is a scam. The majority of my listings, and I have more in Highlands than anyone, are doubled as rental scams. My suggestion is to go to http://www.rentalfriends.com, and remember me when it is time to purchase!

Kindly,
Jenny Apel
Broker/Owner, Nostalgic Homes
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 4, 2013
Hi Kristy,

I am sorry to hear about your dilemma. These sites like Trulia and Craigslist have limited abilities to monitor the validity of the homes they post. You really have to be diligent and check every detail of the listing. Also you should always get an attorney to review your rental agreements before signing, and of course, before any money changes hands. Thanks for giving us a heads up on this and reminding everyone to be cautious in these matters.

Robert McGuire
Broker/Consultant
Your Castle Real Estate
http://about.me/robertmcguire33
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 4, 2013
You should NOT trust this site, especially if you're looking for a house to rent. I've had at least six of my listings (homes for sale or under contract) scammed on trulia.com and worst yet, craigslist. The scams "sound" real, but you can avoid getting ripoff off completely -- never, ever, ever, ever send money to someone you haven't met in person who can prove they own the home you're trying to rent.

Julie Montgomery, Denver, CO http://www.jmontgomery.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 4, 2013
Trulia just like any other site can have scams on it. It is your duty to do the research and verify that the properties are actually owned by the right person. Never send money up front, if it doesn't feel right then it probably isn't!!!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 4, 2013
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