Find either a rental agent or a property managent company to work with. If you need a referral, ask.
This bears repeating often - nothing in real estate is real till it is in writing. Use that fact to protect yourself and to insure that you are dealing with another who knows the rules and is offering a bona fide product.
There are many scams going on now and the rules of credit investigation have also changed.
As a property manager I will not allow any money to be spent till the prospective tenant has seen the property and given me an application. Then I will have the prospect pay for a credit check. If all that meets the criteria for the unit then it is offered and the terms of the lease and deposits are finalized. The security deposit is then given to me and the keys are delivered right before occupancy.
Really there should be little variation on this scenario.
It's the second time I find a "absolutely good deal" from guys with different names, but with standardized e-mail messages and thy both have e-mails @excite.com
I'm facing the same problem as you.
You might want to hire your own rental agent. Their fee is usually one month's rent but I feel it's worth it.
Oggi Kashi CADRE 01844627
Paragon Real Estate Group