Summer is approaching and many of us are looking to rent a house with a pool especially if summer camp is canceled. With such high demand, rental prices have skyrocketed and unfortunately, there are also people looking to take advantage. That’s why we thought this Brick Underground article about How Not to Get Scammed on a Vacation Rental was particularly important to share. Fear of coronavirus as well as stress and uncertainty about the future can make you more vulnerable to rental scams. You may feel the pressure to get out of the city as soon as possible, and as a result, fail to check out a listing thoroughly. Scammers can take advantage of this sense of urgency. To avoid scams outside the city, you need to follow the same advice as you would renting short-term in NYC. Here are some important tips. Do a reverse image search
- Finding the address on a GPS map is helpful but doing some background research online can help you identify if the place pops up elsewhere on the internet.
Talk to the owner on the phone
- Not only should you talk to the person on the phone before transferring any money, you may want to FaceTime them to see them in person. Few of us are strangers to video calls these days.
If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is
- If you’re not very familiar with area you are looking to rent in, you probably don’t know the median rent. Even so, the asking rent shouldn’t be too good to be true. This is where you need to put some time in looking at other rentals to see if what you’re being offered is in the right range.
Use a listserve with some accountability
- Using a reputable listing site can add a layer of protection to your vacation plans.
Make sure you see and evaluate the lease
- Always ask for a copy of the lease if you are subletting—but be aware they can be faked. If it doesn’t look legitimate it might be a red flag.
Don’t wire money
- Avoid wiring money to a complete stranger. Sites like HomeAway and VRBO have safe payment systems (though not every host opts in), and it’s best to seek these out whenever possible. Many of us are familiar with Venmo and Zelle to transfer money to friends or colleagues but be wary if you’re being asked to use these systems for a rental payment.
Trust your gut
- If anything seems shady—proceed with caution. Do all your homework before handing over any money or financial information, and just walk away if something doesn’t seem right.
I plan on spending a few weeks out in the Hamptons with my family this summer. Central Park has been our oasis but the girls are craving a pool. Our team is anxiously awaiting the day that we can resume showing property here in NYC this summer. Of course, our number one priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy. Reach out any time with any questions.