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Johnnie Cram, Renter in San Jose, CA

how do i know if a listing is a scam?

Asked by Johnnie Cram, San Jose, CA Sat Jan 26, 2013

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Donald Mituzas’ answer
This is more of a problem with rentals than with sales and you don't mention which you're talking about. Rentals on craigslist seem to have more problems with properties that are not on them market, but someone came upon a picture of the house and now is renting it. These are more often homes that are being rented "by owner" even though the party advertising doesn't own the property. If it's a property for sale here on Trulia then it's probably a legit listing as owners can't list here. Just because it's legit doesn't mean an agent isn't "puffing" to make it sound more attractive than it really is.

Good luck.

Donald Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

http://www.nyhomeseller.com
http://www.elliman.com/real-estate-agent/don-mituzas/6752
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
This is more of a problem with rentals they with sales and you don't mention which you're talking about. Rentals on craigslist seem to have more problems with properties that are not on them market, but someone came upon a picture of the house and now is renting it. These are more often homes that are being rented "by owner" even though the party advertising doesn't own the property. If it's a property for sale here on Trulia then it's probably a legit listing as owners can't list here. Just because it's legit doesn't mean an agent isn't "puffing" to make it sound more attractive than it really is.

Good luck.

Donald Mituzas
Licensed Associate Broker
2008 Realtor of the Year
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

http://www.nyhomeseller.com
http://www.elliman.com/real-estate-agent/don-mituzas/6752
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Usually, if the listing has too many "too good to be true" statements, then the likelihood of the listing being a scam goes up.

Use common sense and good judgement, never pay for anything until you have it.

Josh Barnett, Realtor
Metro First Realty
Web Reference: http://www.GetSoldOKC.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
More information is needed to give you a decent answer. Rental listings are more likely to be scams than listings for homes for sale. Scams are certainly more prevalent on the Internet than if you're working with a Realtor in your area. If you're ever asked to send money to someone you've never met out of your area you can almost assuredly assume it's a scam. Never send money to anyone for real estate that you don't know.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
You don't say whether the listing you are referring to is for a property for sale or a property for rent. Rental scams are far more common. Some red flags for rentals include absentee owners, for example, if they say they were transferred out of the country for their job. If they ask you to wire money, especially out of the country, walk away, it's a scam. And, unfortunately, if they say they are missionaries or something of that nature, probably a scam. And, of course, if the price is too good to be true, it probably is a scam.

As far as sales of homes, the listings some people refer to are not really scams, but they are mis-understood. Realty Trac is a service that lists homes here and on other web sites that appear to be for sale but are not, necessarily. These are foreclosure and pre-foreclosure listings that are obtained from the county clerk's office when a bank files for foreclosure. These homes may or may not be available for purchase.

I either case the best way to protect yourselves from scams is to work with a licensed real estate agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jan 27, 2013
Well, to start with - if it sounds too good to be true - it ISN'T true!
Run in the opposite direction!
Be very wary of Craigslist ads!

Here are a few other telltale signs you're dealing with a scammer (and remember, these homes often are/were listed legitimately with an agent - and the listing was hijacked - the real photos may be used!

1. the rental price is too low as compared to comparable properties

2. the so called "owner" is out of state, or out of the area......or out on the moon, etc.........they are not available to show you the home in person (RED flag!). One told someone that the house was vacant, but they could go there and look in the windows!!!! This was a listing of mine that had already been rented but the new tenants had not yet moved in - I happened to be at the home when I saw someone peeking in the window!!! She eventually rang the bell, and told me her story - the poor gal drove over 2 hrs to "see" this home.

3. they may even go as far as coming up with some sob story - had one tell the "victim" he was disabled, in a wheelchair, and living with family down south - got all emotional, and even said things like "you were sent to me", "I know you will take good care of my home"..........careful when they use the religious (God sent you ) or emotional lures.

4. they will ask you to give them personal information...may come up with some fake "application" form..most won't ask you for a credit check, but if they do - RUN away fast and never give your personal info

5. . BIG ALERT****** if they ask you to WIRE money - usually thru Western Union......and say they will send you the keys right away.................you are being scammed!!!!!!

Hope the above warnings help you not become a victim.

You can always reach out to a local agent who can verify who the real owner is......and see if the home really is for rent.

Best wishes........
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 26, 2013
The gold standard technique is to contact the listing broker about the listing salesperson. If there's no broker or salesperson info listed, then be very careful.
Web Reference: http://www.archershomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jan 26, 2013
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