Let’s start with some good news: Florida real estate is booming right now!
And now for the bad: So are real estate scams.
In this article, we’ll be taking a short but practical look at some of the most common real estate scams — and how you can avoid them, of course.
- Florida Real Estate Scams: the Stats
- Red Flag # 1: An Insanely Low Price
- Red Flag # 2: No Reviews
- Red Flag # 3: Cash-Only Requests
- Red Flag # 4: A Poorly Written Listing
- Red Flag # 5: No Personal Interaction
- How to Protect Yourself
Florida Real Estate Scams: The Stats
According to a 2018 study, over 5 million renters have had personal experience with rental scams. Just over 30% of these renters have personally lost over one thousand dollars! In Florida, real estate scams can affect both locals and out-of-state visitors.
Scams are especially prevalent on sites like Craigslist, and while some of them are obvious, others are surprisingly subtle. Scammers often use fake listings to lure in potential renters, who they then convince to provide a ‘deposit’ or bank account info.
Red Flag # 1: An Insanely Low Price
You know what they say: If a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of rentals that seem to have impossibly low rental fees. These rentals could be listed by scammers who just want to steal your interest away from legitimate listings. To be on the safe side, compare any listing you’re interested in with other listings in the area.
Red Flag # 2: No Reviews
If you’re renting through a property management company, it’s always a good idea to do some research first. Stay away from companies that have poor reviews — or worse yet, no reviews whatsoever. It could be that the company you’re dealing with isn’t a real company at all, and just an individual trying to pull off scams.
Red Flag # 3: Cash-Only Requests
Have you found the right rental property? Congrats!
…just make sure the property’s owner accepts more than cash-only transactions. Scammers will often require their ‘rental deposits’ in cash because it allows for anonymity and makes illegal payments untraceable. Still other scammers may ask you to pay in cryptocurrency. Long story short, listings that only take cash are a huge red flag. Professional property managers will tend to prefer checks.
Red Flag # 4: A Poorly Written Listing
If the property listing you’re reading online is poorly written, look out. Many scammers are internationally based and have less than perfect English. Grainy or strangely cropped phots can also be a red flag. Property photos that have company branding on them, on the other hand, are usually a sign that you’re dealing with someone legitimate.
Red Flag # 5: No Personal Interaction
Most scammers try to avoid personal interaction at all costs. If a supposed property manager keeps making excuses about why they can’t meet you — many scammers will simply claim that they’re traveling — then proceed with extreme caution. Legitimate property managers will be more than happy to meet in person and facilitate the deal.
How to protect yourself
Thankfully, there’s a simple way to protect yourself from Florida real estate scams: get some help from the professionals! Our team at Icon Realty has:
- Competitive pricing
- A 13-year proven track record
- Firsthand knowledge of the area
- 100% stress-free property management
- Fast turnaround times + reduced vacancies
- Complete maintenance services — protect your investment
Schedule your free consultation today by visiting our contact page or calling (321) 297-8960. We’d be more than happy to hear about your property rental needs.
To your peace of mind — scam-free living included,
Icon Property Management