First-time apartment renters often turn to Craigslist to find their new home. At first glance, this may seem like a good idea. With so many apartment listings to browse through, the right apartment might be just a few clicks away.
It appears to be easy to find your first apartment by answering a few postings and making appointments to view. But Craigslist is far from being the right place to find a new place to live. Even though most Craigslist postings are legitimate, there are numerous scams that first-time apartment renters can be susceptible to.
Here are three big reasons why Craigslist apartments aren’t always your best choice when looking for a new home.
1. Craigslist Apartment Rental Scams
There are several different types of Craigslist scams, with scammers just waiting for you to let your guard down. One of the biggest Craigslist scams is when you’re asked to fill out the rental application before you’ve even seen the apartment. The application will ask for personal information, including your banking information and social security number. Once you’ve submitted the application, the scammer disappears with enough information to steal your identity and access your bank account.
Another red flag when looking at apartments on Craigslist is auto-generated email accounts. If you respond to a posting and receive a reply, take a close look at the return email address. If it looks like it’s a bunch of numbers and letters, it’s most likely been auto-generated by someone attempting to scam you. Any communication and personal information you share with this email will make it hard, if not impossible, to trace. Many of these email addresses are used when asking you to supply the information needed for a credit check. Never supply this information in an email to anyone.
Craigslist may seem like a useful way to find an apartment rental, but dealing face to face with a rental company is a much safer and more secure way for the first-time apartment renter to find the right rental property.
2. False Advertising
Beware of Craigslist postings that don’t deliver what they’re advertising. In these scams, the great pictures that accompany the posting don’t match what’s actually in the apartment. After making the appointment to view, you may end up looking at an apartment that has no resemblance to the photos or description. These landlords often know they have an undesirable apartment to rent and need to use false advertising to bring in potential renters. Other listings describe the perfect apartment, with the ideal kitchen and view, but there are no photos to go with the listings. Even though there are legitimate postings with no pictures, consider this situation to be a scam and avoid answering the ad.
Also, some rentals have reviews from previous tenants that you can read through to see what their experience has been.
These two scenarios are good examples of why first-time apartment renters should rent with professionals. When you rent through a property management company, you’ll know exactly what the rental apartment home looks like through current photos. With some property management companies, such as Redwood, floor plans are also available.
3. Hidden Costs
Some listings on Craigslist look perfect, and the rental price is right in your budget. Even after viewing, you may still think this is the apartment you just have to live in. Then come the hidden costs. Your Craigslist rental apartment may not be the great price you once thought it was. Learn more about moving costs here.
Private rental landlords who post Craigslist apartment rentals don’t tell you about the additional costs and fees until you’re ready to sign the lease. When it’s time to sign, they let you know about the other costs, such as late fees, landscape maintenance fees, moving out cleaning fees, and more. Before you know it, the apartment you could afford has turned into one that’s way over your budget.
Renting with a property management company means you know all the costs ahead of time. With the Redwood Advantage, you’ll also be able to see what other amenities and extras come with your home rental, such as upgraded features, a private entrance, and energy-efficient apartments.
Final Words on Craigslist
First-time apartment renters benefit from the expertise and professionalism that a rental property management company can provide. You need to know that the apartment you’re renting is exactly what you’re expecting.
When you’re ready to find your next apartment home, start your search with a property management company like Redwood and leave Craigslist behind.