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Rental Scams In Charlotte

January 22nd, 2014 Listed Under: Real Estate

Beware! Beware of  “Home for Rent” Rental Scamhouse questions, don't be fooled

It all starts with a rental ad and price just so good, so so good.  A few think too good to be true.  And they are right. I’ve spoken to people who claim they saw the ad on Trulia or on Craig’s List.

In the past few weeks we have have no fewer than 10 telephone calls asking if a popular south Charlotte listing in zip code 28277  is for rent. The first caller said they were e-mailing with someone ( who claimed to share the same last name of the Seller) they found on Trulia.  I could never find that ad, but the caller claimed it was advertised for $700/mo rent, when it would most likely have rented for $1400/mo, IF it was for rent. The problem of course is that the house was never for rent, and never has been.  It was  the first of 7 or 8 calls I’ve had in the last 10 days.

Yesterday,  we had simultaneous calls on different lines, “Is this home for rent?” we were asked. Two different potential renters doing their homework.   In each case the answer was no. Both were asked to wire money and get a key.  So they somehow found our phone number and called us, checking it out.  That is the good news.

The rents are very low, so the potential renter is excited when they call. Most  are calling us to help determine if the claim is true. My worry is for those who don’t call because the folks I talked to were asked to send money.

Three Clues It is a Scam

1. The rent is just too low. There are exceptions here, I once got a fabulous one year rental at 70% of market. But 50% off? No

2.  They want you to send money in advance of seeing the inside.

3. For some reason they can’t show the property. Here is where they get creative. Three years ago in Memphis, my daughter was told by one that “they had had an emergency over seas, couldn’t get back to the states, so they asked their “brother to find a good renter, and rent it cheap.”  Sounds plausible doesn’t it?

Of course  the person on the other end of the line has a variety of reasons why they are not available to show the house in person, but “it is such a good “deal” why not take it sight unseen?”  Just send the money and they will send you the key. Right. Don’ t do that! 

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is… and verify all claims. The folks we talked to were the lucky ones, they drove by the listing, called us, and we told them to walk away.

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The way it works is like this. The scammers find a home for sale, and then post this house for rent. Sometimes they are clever enough to create an email that looks like the owners email.  But no matter what they say, if they can’t show you the house, you can’t send any money. Make sense?   tm

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Terry McDonald
I'm the owner/team leader of The McDonald Group at Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered real estate brokers here in Charlotte NC. A transplanted Washinghtonian, my family and I came from the NYC area in 1993.
Terry McDonald
Terry McDonald

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The McDonald Group
Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered
8604 Cliff Cameron Dr ST 110
Charlotte NC 28269
704-390-6221 Cell
704-393-0048 Office
Licensed in NC & SC
USAA Certified
ERA Luxury Home Certified

Charlotte Communities Online

Terry McDonald [email protected]   704-351-1519

Bobby McDonald [email protected] 704-351-1519