Are you starting to look for rent to own houses in Baltimore?
Rent to own homes (also called lease option or lease purchase) have become a popular way of getting into a house when your financial situation limits your ability to buy right away.
You may have heard of scams that have left lots of honest people out thousands of dollars instead of in a home. Some recent tenant deposit taking schemes, mainly from predators using websites like Craigslist (which is a very legitimate website to find great rent to own houses), have made it into the news and has many would be rent to own tenant buyers nervous about whether or not the house they’re looking at is also a “scam.”
Rent to Own Home Scams in Baltimore – How to Avoid Scams That Are Out There
There has been an increase in scams that are out to fleece either potential tenants or homeowners. There are scammers who take advantage of popular property buying and selling websites to scam potential tenants, especially foreigners. They create counterfeit websites of the popular sites and put up enticing advertisements. Once a person falls for them, a series of email communication flows and the tenant makes a deposit. Once the deposit money is sent to the scammer, it’s nearly impossible to track down.
The biggest scam that is out there for potential renters or rent to own buyers is described below.
Taking Deposits On A House They Don’t Own… Then Disappearing Into The Night
Some scammers are getting really smart about how they intend to part you with your hard earned money. The biggest one today involves a scammer finding vacant properties whose owners live out of the area. They proceed to break into the house, take pictures, and upload those pictures and a “for rent” or “rent to own” listing on websites like Craigslist.
The listing looks legitimate. When looking at a property like this, you might even meet the scammer face to face. The scammer will tell you there are other people looking to rent the house as well so you better put a deposit on it today and many people will.
What you don’t know is that that scammer had a whole slew of other potential renters visit the same house that day and put a deposit on the house as well. The scammer then takes the deposit checks and disappears.
In some cases, the scammer will advise you to put in a deposit on the house quickly because there are others interested…before you even see the house in person.
How To Avoid Rent to Own Scams – Some Quick Tips
Now that you know there are scammers out there, how do you avoid being a victim to a scam?
First, verify that the person or company that you’re dealing with is legitimate.
Our company, Baltimore Wholesale Property, is registered with the state of MD which you can verify online. You can also find our company listed on many online business directories where it’ll show all of our contact information. If you’re working with an individual (a person, not a company) when you see the “owner” of a property, don’t be afraid to ask to see their drivers license for proof of their name and address and write down their license plate number of their car.
Tip #1: Verify the identity and contact info of the person or company marketing the property.
Tip #2: Never give a cash deposit and never hand a deposit check over without a contract.
Tip #3: Don’t ever feel pressured to put a deposit down “today!” Trust your gut.
Tip #4: Search the address of the property online and see if you can find the name of the owner on record. If that doesn’t match up with the person you’re working with, ask that person for proof of their identity and ability to rent the house to you.
Tip #5: As a last resort, just leave. There will always be more houses.
A quick rundown for you…
- When visiting the property, ask the identity of the agent.
- Avoid buying agents that are not yet established.
- Carry out due diligence on landlords websites to be sure they are genuine.
- Avoid making upfront payments until you are certain the agents or landlords are genuine.
- Treat prospective clients whose emails are written in broken English with suspicion. You may search them in google to find out whether they have been listed as scammers or not.
- Seek the advice of experts or the experienced in the property market.
- When making payments, ensure you have a lawyer involved.
It is up to you to be diligent enough to avoid being scammed. Don’t rush into sealing deals before giving them a second thought. Hopefully these tips will help you avoid rent to own home scams in Baltimore and arm you with a new sense of confidence when you’re out there looking for your next house!
Looking for a reputable rent to own house in Baltimore? See our available properties below!
We at Baltimore Wholesale Property are one of the Baltimore MD area’s leading rent to own house experts.
If you have any questions about the rent to own process or just want to see if renting to own a house is right for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to us by giving us a call at (443) 863-9808 or email us on our Contact Page.
Plus, see the Baltimore rent to own houses we have available and get on our Early Alert Email List to see new rent to own houses as they become available.