Rentals in Annandale>Question Details

Themeltonfam…, Renter in Annandale, VA

I am looking at a rental and the owner claims to be abroad, how does trulia ensure the properties are not rental scams?

Asked by Themeltonfamily, Annandale, VA Sat Jun 4, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Trulia (and other sites) can't police every listing and rental, so it is up to you to do your due diligence. In general, I would say that it is VERY fishy when an owner claims to be out of the country and trying to rent a property without an agency handling it. Some red flags would be:
1. The name of the person doesn't match the owner of the property (although most now are checking that themselves and even creating email addresses that are using the owners name).
2. The 'owner' is asking you to give him/her your personal information without meeting you first. Do NOT give out your personal information to anyone until you've ensured it is legit.
3. The 'owner' is unable to schedule a showing of the rental property. Many times I've been told that they are telling people to 'just go look in the windows'.
4. The rental price is too good to be true for comparable properties.

These are just a few red flags, there are many more. As someone said, usually if something is too good to be true, it is.

Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
Forget about what Trulia might or might not be able to do, and concentrate on what YOU could do to determine whether or not your deal is legitimate. For example, you could check the public records or order a title search to determine whether or not that person really is the owner. You also have several other options for obtaining more info about the seller and/or property.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
I know this topic is old, but thought this was worth mentioning, for others who read this thread. While there is a very real threat to fraud on the internet, it has been my experience that a lot of military folks buy and subsequently rent their homes in this area. While most of them use websites such as or, it's not unheard of for them to exhaust all avenues to advertise their properties. There have been numerous occasions where I have spoken to a homeowner overseas. Like others, I would encourage anyone to research the homeowner and or property to see who's name is legally attached.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 17, 2013
This is what I though when I read the question. Could be a military, civilian, or even a defense contractor. Do your homework, you dont want to miss out on a good deal or be taken in.
Flag Sun Dec 29, 2013
If it looks, smells, or feels like a "scam" go with that, until proven otherwise. There is so much underhanded activity going on ight now that it's important to exercise common sense. One of the commonly accepted "red flags" is business activity with people from out of the area or out of the country that require you to provide a money up front or personal financial information including credit card numbers or social security information.

In many respects the internet is like the "wild west" of years ago, when laws were loosely interpreted and rarely enforced. In time we know this will change, but for now it's important to keep your guard up and be ready to defend yourself.

Good luck,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 5, 2011
It's a scam.

Yes, owners do go abroad. When they do, they find a rental agency to handle the rental for them. They don't conduct business on Craigslist and e-mail.

Contact a Realtor to find rentals listed on the MLS. Many are, though a fair number aren't. If you find one that isn't, first verify who the owner is by checking the tax records. Fairfax County has it all online. Then: Deal face-to-face with someone. It's easy enough for a scammer to find a legitimate listing (either on the MLS or not) and then "hijack" it. Happens all the time.

So, deal face-to-face with someone. Have that someone produce multiple forms of identification to verify his/her identity.It is possible, for instance, that an out-of-town owner will make arrangements with a neighbor to show the house. So you want to make sure that the person showing the house is actually who he/she claims to be. That'll weed out about 95% of the scammers.

Another point: A lot of the scammers attract their victims by offering a property at a below-market rent. In Annandale, for instance, a 4 bed/2bath single-family home might rent for $2,000. If you see an ad offering such a property for $1,500 . . . watch out.

Finally, don't rely on Trulia to do your due dilligence. Either do it yourself, or have someone you can rely on do it for you.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
I have seen this a lot. The way you can do it to check if they are the real owner is to find out from public record at town hall. or use a real estate agent. Don't worry about paying fee, worry about losing deposit and last month rent.

PS. If there anything that seem to be too good to be true, it is most likely to be a scam.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 4, 2011
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