We wish we could say that there’s nothing to renting a condo. If you’re in the market for a new place, chances are you’ll encounter scammers. They’re not hard to find since most industries are full of people looking to take advantage of others’ hard-earned cash. In the apartment business, they take the form of landlords looking to foist a lemon on unsuspecting tenants. Horror stories abound about people paying for a great-looking condo, only to find that they got something totally different from the catalogue home they were promised.
Barry, a 45-year old resident at a Megaworld at the Fort township recounts a previous experience, “The first apartment I ever looked at was somewhere in Manila,” he says. “Ads for the place were very attractive and my friends and I were onboard. However, when we saw the condo, it was nothing like in the pictures. We ended up not pushing through with the purchase.”
Some, like Barry, are fortunate to walk away from a rental scam unscathed, but others aren’t as lucky. Some people have been known to lose a substantial amount of their savings to unscrupulous real estate agents. The best defense is being able to spot a scam for what it is. Here are some ways you can spare yourself the headache and pick the duds out from the rest of the pack.
Don’t Give Out Vital Information
Scammers will usually ask for private information like credit card and bank account details. They use these to access your funds and then vanish without a trace. You’re left zeroed out, with no idea about what just happened. Remember, if any broker asks for your financial info outright, don’t hand it over for any reason. Reputable agents will allow you to handle payment and won’t ask for access to transfer funds or related cash advances. Once they start requiring PIN numbers to make a sale, you should immediately be wary of their actual intentions.Remember, if any broker asks for your financial info outright, don’t hand it over for any reason.
Get Everything in Writing
Landlords and brokers will usually furnish you with a deed of sale or a rental contract. If a leasing deal pushes through and you don’t have a record of it, request for one immediately. Crooks will usually want to keep their dealings as off the record as possible. Any paperwork related to your transaction serves as evidence of the agreement you made with the lessor. In the event of legal proceedings, you need to present these as proof of suspicious dealings and as a means to reach settlement. Aside from your contract, you should also receive official receipts of all payments remitted to the property owner.
Read the Fine Print
Clauses and loopholes can often be hidden in the parts of a contract you don’t normally read. Make sure to go over each and every page of your apartment paperwork. If you spot anything that seems unclear or suspicious, bring the matter up immediately. Never wait until the deal is closed to analyze and talk about the rules of your agreement. At this point, there’s nothing you can do. If you don’t like how the contract reads, err on the side of caution and don’t sign anything.Never wait until the deal is closed to analyze and talk about the rules of your agreement.
Take the Tour
Don’t make the mistake of proceeding with payment without viewing the place. Make it a point to pay a visit prior to committing to anything. Once you’re there, make sure to take a thorough look at everything. Check if electrical systems are in good working order and if there is clean, free-flowing water. If the apartment comes fully-furnished make sure to check if everything is in pristine condition. Take note that it’s possible for unscrupulous landlords to blame any undetected damage on you and have ask you to shoulder repair expenses.
Real estate can have quite a few traps but as long as you’re vigilant and know which ones to watch out for, the chances of falling into one are quite slim.
Have you had an experience with a suspicious real estate deal? Share it with us in the comments!