Here at The Go-To Guy we aim to ensure only legitimate posts are placed.
Yet we request all members to apply due diligence and to be aware of scammers trying to get your hard earned money into their pockets.
Protecting Yourself from Scammers in the Property Market in Potchefstroom
The rental property market in Potchefstroom is booming, with an increasing number of properties being listed for rent. Unfortunately, this also means that the likelihood of rental scams is on the rise. As a tenant, it's crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your finances from scammers who are looking to take advantage of you. In this blog, we'll discuss some tips on how to protect yourself from rental scams in the property market in Potchefstroom.
Do Your Homework
One of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself from rental scams is to do your homework. Even if a property is listed on a trusted site, scammers often use the identities of legitimate property agents and photos from other property listings to deceive you. It's important to verify an agent's employment status by calling the company they claim to work for. Additionally, research lesser-known companies to ensure they are legitimate. Listings with vague information should be avoided, as legitimate listings always have all the information you might need about the property and the various fees such as maintenance levies, special levies, etc. If the monthly rent seems too good to be true, it probably is.
A good thing to do is to go and have a look at the persons social media profiles, such as Facebook. Danger signals is a recently created a profile, a profile that has very few friends or a profile that has many friends yet no comments. Also look for other telltale signs such as a timeline that consists of no personal updates or info and only refers to other posts found on the web and reposts from other pages.
Arrange a Viewing and In-Person Meeting
Always arrange a viewing and in-person meeting with the agent or landlord before making any payments. Don't make any payments (whether it's for so-called admin or viewing fees) before seeing the actual property. Legitimate property agents don't require you to pay upfront before viewing a listing. If a property agent or landlord keeps making excuses not to meet, walk away from the deal. If you are able to meet the agent and view the property, take someone with you. This will ensure that you have an objective second opinion.
Ask for a Fidelity Fund Certificate
If you're working through a rental agent, ask them for their Fidelity Fund Certificate. If they cannot provide one, they're not a registered agent. This will ensure that you are working with a legitimate agent.
Request a Lease Agreement
Often, dodgy agents and landlords refuse to provide new tenants with a lease agreement. This is a vital document that protects both the tenant and the agent/landlord, and failure to provide one should be a big red flag. An above-board agent or landlord will allow you time to take a lease agreement home, read through it, and propose any changes before signing it. If you're not sure what exactly the lease agreement means, it's important to ask someone you trust to provide guidance. Never sign any agreement you don't fully understand, and never allow anyone to pressure you into signing an agreement.
Request to See the Utility Bill
Before signing the agreement, request to see the utility bill. This will not only show you who the property owner is but also allow you to see whether the utilities have been paid in full. If the agent or landlord is reluctant to provide this information, walk away.
In conclusion, protecting yourself from scammers in the property market in Potchefstroom requires some due diligence on your part. By taking these precautions and being aware of common rental scams, you can protect yourself from financial loss and the disappointment of losing your dream rental home. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.