Here’s another installment from our friends at Rocket Lease. Rocket Lease provides online rental applications and credit checks for landlords. Read more posts like this one on their rental blog.
Searching for a new apartment can be beyond exhausting. Even with sites like Apartable that make finding a new apartment a better process, it can still be time-consuming and tiring. What makes it even more tiring (and potentially even dangerous) is when you fall victim to an apartment rental scam.
Scammers know that apartment hunters are very vulnerable. Part of the reason for this is that finding the perfect place to live is such an emotional process. This is why scammers look to attack these emotions and use them to their advantage. Taking note of the apartment rental scams discussed below will help you avoid them during your apartment search.
1. You are asked to send money before seeing an apartment. One of the most common rental scams of all, this seems to happen mostly while searching for apartments on Craigslist. You find an apartment that looks great – its photos are excellent, the information is spot-on, and everything seems legit – so you email the landlord. They ask you to send in money for an application fee before coming to see the apartment. Though this could just be a landlord being a ditz, it is usually a sign that the rental ad and the ‘landlord’ is a scam/scammer. There is no reason that you should send money for an application fee before actually having a showing.
2. The landlord seems overly eager to rent the apartment. Of course, it is perfectly natural for a landlord to want to rent out their apartments – it is how they make money – but are they being overeager? Do they waive common application fees or security deposit? Do they fail to ask you for any information that could be used for tenant screening (i.e. your credit score or employment history)? A landlord that is being pushy, one who really wants to rent an apartment to you without doing many of the things that landlords ‘should’ do, could just be looking to scam you.
3. They are asking for too much information online. It happens way more often than you’d probably realize but when responding to apartment advertisements, many people are asked for personal information by the so-called landlord. While a name and phone number is par for the course, you definitely have adequate reason to get suspicious if you are asked for your social security number or bank account number online over the email. Simply put, do not give it to them. They are almost definitely trying to scam you.
At the end of the day, avoiding apartment rental scams is all about keeping your eyes open and remaining cautious. Trust your instinct. Trust your gut. If something feels fishy, it probably is. There are plenty of other apartments out there to choose from. Oh, yeah, and consider using a service like Apartable. They all but eliminate apartment rental scams from their online listings.
This guest post was submitted by Jake at RocketLease.com
As a landlord or property manager, you know full well that finding new tenants and having them sign a lease agreement is one of the most important things that you can do. You can’t make any money without tenants, right?
But finding new tenants isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers twice. Sure, there are a lot of people out there looking for new apartment rentals but there are also a lot of landlords out there with empty units to fill. This is only part of the reason why it is so important to make your rental ads really shine.
Luckily for landlords, there are a few easy tips that can make finding new tenants easier than ever before. It won’t be a piece of cake but, then again, it won’t be a nightmare either.
Fine-Tune Your Online Presence
Having a solid online presence is everything in these days of the internet. What this means for you, a landlord, is keeping your website up-to-date, staying active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and putting out high-quality rental advertisements on various online listing sites whenever you have an opening.
Meet New People
Things get stale fast in the rental industry if you are always doing the same thing and never meet new people. Luckily, the internet has you covered once again. Websites tailored towards real estate and rental networking like Active Rain and Bigger Pockets are excellent ways to connect with others in your area. The same goes for apartment associations. If there is one in your area, sign up. Doing these two things will help you network and will probably result in at least a handful of tenant referrals or leads.
Struggling to find new tenants to fill your empty apartment rentals? Why not just ask around. If you’ve been a good landlord, then you will be surprised at just how willing your current tenants will be to refer their friends to you when they’re looking for new places to live. It is also worthwhile to ask friends, family, and acquaintances if they know anyone who is in need of a new place.
Finding new tenants for your rental units can definitely be time-consuming and tiring. However, the three easy tips discussed above will greatly speed up the process. You will find new tenants in no time at all if you utilize them.
As I’ve mentioned before in a previous guest post for the lovely Apartable blog, there are a heck of a lot of bad apartment rental ads out there. Bad rental ads aren’t just ugly – they also won’t get you any new tenants if you are a landlord. And, the thing that really gets me is that creating a good, solid apartment rental ad is really easy.
In fact, creating a totally awesome apartment rental ad is one of the easiest things that a landlord, property manager, leasing agent, or anyone else looking to fill an apartment with new tenants can do. It only takes a few minutes and it all but guarantees results. With the three tips below, you can create an apartment rental ad that really shines and fill your empty apartment unit faster.
1. Quality pictures – Don’t even think about putting together an apartment rental ad, especially an online apartment rental ad, without including a handful of pictures. Picture-less ads just won’t get results. Better yet, take high-quality pictures of your unit – use a good camera, open the windows to let light in, and make sure your unit is clean! There is nothing worse than a clutter-filled apartment photograph.
2. Enough information – Too many of the apartment rental ads I see on a consistent basis are without adequate information. Of course, you want to entice a viewer to find out more, but you don’t want them to waste your time. By giving enough information – size of unit, utilities, location, appliances, amenities, etc (and, of course, the cost of rent) – you will weed out those annoying phone calls that are solely questions and not actual tenant leads.
3. A map – In this day and age, including a map as part of your online apartment rental ad is as easy as pie. Better yet, it is one of the key things that prospective tenants look for. They want to know where the unit is and how far away from work/school/the grocery store it is. Including a map in your rental ad will definitely bring you back more leads.
So there you have it! Three tips that will make your apartment rental ad truly shine. Make sure and do these for each and every one of your ads and you will notice results in no time at all.
This is a guest post from Jake at RocketLease.com.
After moving nearly every year since I turned 18, I’ve had the opportunity of living in a wide variety of apartments, both by myself, with roommates, and now with my lovely girlfriend. In addition to renting apartments both big and small, dirt cheap and reasonably expensive, I’ve also rented in a number of big cities, most recently including Seattle and Boston.
Simply put, I have a lot of experience as far as apartment living goes and I’d like to share some of that with you guys today.
The Best Apartment
I wanted to start things off by talking about the best apartment that I ever lived in. It’s actually a bit surprising, even to me, that this was my favorite. It wasn’t the nicest, it wasn’t the most conveniently located, and it definitely wasn’t the biggest. But it was run by a family realty company and had all the charm that I was looking for at the time.
The best apartment that I ever lived in was located in a city just outside of Boston. It was a small studio apartment that I was living in with my girlfriend. What I liked the most about this apartment was that the landlords were just so nice and understanding. They responded super promptly to maintenance requests, weren’t sticklers about getting rent on the 1st (though if it was past the 5th they got worried), and kept the place in all around great condition. Better yet, the apartment was located close to a bus line to the city, had a window with a great view of a small forested area, and all of the other tenants were quiet and very friendly.
The Worst Apartment
On the other end of things is the worst apartment I have ever lived in. Once again, there wasn’t anything supremely terrible about it, rather the circumstances of my living there were just a little iffy.
The worst apartment that I ever lived in was located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. For one thing, it was way too expensive for how small it was (but that’s what you get living in the city, I guess). The two things that really made my time there suck, however, were a) the landlord and b) my roommate. I desperately needed a roommate and decided to move in with a relatively new friend. Needless to say, things turned out bad as he had guests staying on our couch constantly, played his music way too loud, and ended up not paying his share of the rent for three months in a row. Our landlord, while he did redeem himself by being a good sport about my paying my roommate’s rent a little late each month, did little to help fix maintenance issues that were all too apparent in our apartment.
How I Make Sure That My Apartments Are Awesome Now
Luckily, and not to sound like a whiner, my best apartment experience, worst apartment experience, and all those others in between have taught me a lot about renting. Today, I am confident that I will never rent an apartment I dislike again.
The way I make sure that my apartments are awesome is simple. First of all, I screen my prospective landlord. Instead of just resigning myself to the idea that a landlord is a landlord, I now search for their name and their rental business online, try to get a feel for their personality in person, and ask for landlord references before signing a lease. I do these things to make sure that I am renting from a landlord that is responsible, courteous, and a good person all around.
Secondly, I make sure that I’m not in a rush while I am apartment hunting. The main cause of my worst apartment experience was that I was desperate. Instead of choosing a roommate that I knew I was compatible with, I was rushed into choosing a nearly random dude. Having at least two months before I need to move in, and enough cash to cover first month’s rent, last month’s rent, and a security deposit, helps give me the peace of mind I need to find an apartment I truly like rather than just any one that will do.
What about you? Feel free to share your best and worst apartment experiences in the comments below or send us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you.
Reading Apartable’s Broker Babble blog post really got me thinking: there really are a lot of bad rental ads out there.
From ads that just sound generic to ads that sound awesome but leave out important information, it is surprisingly seldom that you come across a solid rental ad that is interesting and provides all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
While I’m not going to list actual examples of terrible rental ads, I will discuss three of the things that most perturb me about many of the rental ads on online listing sites today. If you’re a renter, you’ve no doubt noticed many of these before. If you’re a property manager or landlord (or soon to be either), then these might be some tips worth jotting down!
What is the most important single factor that renters are interested in when looking for new apartments? Location, of course!
If your rental ad fails to mention the location of the apartment, then how will anyone know where the heck it is? People base their renting decisions in large part on how close the units are to their work, if any bus lines are nearby, and what the overall feel of the neighborhood is like. By simply remembering to include your apartment’s neighborhood or, better yet, including a map, you will greatly increase the amount of rental leads that you receive.
No Rent Price/Confusing Rent Price
After location, the amount of rent is the factor that most renters probably look to first to make decisions on new units. You can’t rent an apartment that is out of your price range.
Since this is so true, it is surprising to me that such a large number of rental ads fail to give the price of the unit. Surely, this should be of large concern? Especially since many listing sites, like Craigslist, actually require that rental price be included in the title of the ad.
Even worse than a rental advertisement without rent listed is one that has one price stated in the title and then a totally different one in the ad’s body. What’s up with this? Though it might be a simple mistake on the part of the landlord or property manager, such a discrepancy definitely screams scam to most people. And it only takes a few seconds to look over a rental ad before posting it anyway.
I actually prefer rental advertisements with no photos over those with terrible photos. At least a photo-less rental advertisement doesn’t scare you away. With that said, you should make sure that your advertisement does, in fact, contain photos (as they are one of the easiest ways to attract new leads), but you should also make sure that these photos are of high-quality.
And speaking of rental listing photos – what’s up with all of these wacked out pictures? It seems pretty straightforward that most renters would prefer to see a shot of the building as a whole and individual shots of each room. However, I see rental advertisements that only contain pictures of say, the apartment’s deck and bathroom sink, and totally forego all other shots on a daily basis. Doesn’t make much sense to me.
So there you have it – the three things that I think make up the worst rental ads around. Luckily, they usually happen independently of each other, though I have seen all three combined to create a truly terrible rental ad many times before.
What do you think? Is there anything else that really makes you wonder about some of the online rental advertisements that are floating around? What is the worst rental ad that you have ever seen?
This guest post was written by our friends at RocketLease.com. Rocket Lease provides online rental applications for landlords, property managers, leasing agents, and other folks in the rental business. Users are also able to run credit and background checks on all applicants.
Roommates Pushing 40 -
Think your roommate situation is getting old? Just imagine living with the same 3 guys for almost twenty years!
Open APIs in Property Management? -
Entrata, which turns out to be part of Property Solutions, recently launched with an industry-first pitch of openness and API. I’m very curious to see just how open it is. If they live up to the claim, I speculate that it could help them win over a big chunk of the smaller property management company market. Solutions like Yardi sound truly awful to work with, and you can forget about any sort of integration. They don’t even answer the phone.
After moving almost every year since I moved to college, I think I’ve got a pretty firm handle on what’s important when finding looking for an apartment. Every time I start looking (or friends, for that matter), I’m taken aback by how much drivel you have to sift through in order to find useful information. Consider the following question:
Where can I live that’s within 15 minutes walking distance to my office at Union Square?
Here are my options for finding an answer:
Now I have to go through every post one by one and determine if the information, vague as it often is, is enticing enough to actually call or email the poster and inquire further. Repeat this hundreds of times and it becomes tedious and extremely time consuming. There are some sites that help you by sticking said posts on a map, which is already infinitely more useful than the above. But, there’s still the problem of the underlying data being too vague, inaccurate or just plain scammy. Plus, plotting “Midtown” on a map just isn’t that useful to someone who has been in New York for more than 20 minutes.
The old real estate addage is “location, location, location,” so why don’t any rental sites actually let you search by location effectively? Quite puzzling. Instead, I’m presented with headlines like this, which tell me nothing about location, much less anything else:
Date: 2011-11-23, 5:44AM EST
Reply to: see below [Errors when replying to ads?]
While there have been numerous attempts to make the process easier, it’s still fascinating that the most useful tools like HousingMaps and Nestio still rely on the same unreliable data that powers Craigslist.
Once you move out of an insane rental market like New York, your options might be simpler, however. Any search for “chicago apartments” or similar will likely turn up results from rent.com, apartments.com and the like, which over the past decade or so have proven themselves to be masters of search engine marketing, both paid and organic. This becomes obvious from the moment you land, as you’re greeted with keyword-stuffed pages with thousdands of internal links and generic marketing descriptions that could simultaneously be apropriate for every single apartment complex in the world, and none at all. Consider the following example:
Del Prado: One of Hyde Parks’ oldest, largest and most fashionable 1920’s apartment hotels has been restored and reinvented as state-of-the-art apartments with open floorplans, high-end finishes and view of the entire city. With a lavish grand lobby that spotlights the original Beaux Arts and Art Deco architectural details, these modern luxury apartment are encased within the classic elegance of the by-gone era. Rich in history and character, to experience Del Prado is to explore a new frontier of modern living.
I don’t want to “explore a new frontier of modern living.” I just want a clean, quiet place that’s reasonably priced and convenient to where I need to be.
In short, just tell me: where, how much, and when. And show me with pictures.
After months of preparing for our launch in New York, Boston, and Chicago we launched on June 2nd with over 100,000 real apartments for rent. Our noise did not go unheard, with Mashable picking up on our buzz and covering us in their BizzSpark series. Read it here.
Have you ever gotten the feeling that every property ad sounds exactly the same? That it could be describing just about any apartment in the world , but yet, none at all?
Well, in case you ever wanted to write your own ad, or if you’re studying to be a real estate agent, then you’ll love our new broker babble generator.