Looking for a rental apartment should be a simple thing, but it can cost you dearly if you don't know the red flags to watch out for. The next time you are apartment hunting, avoid potential complications by keeping an eye out for these red flags.
The Deal Seems Too Good to Be True
You know two-bedroom apartments in your target neighborhood range from $1200 onwards, but you have found a "gem" for half the amount? That's not a gem at all, that's a con and a scandal waiting to happen. It seems too good to be true, assume that it is not true and either run or get a professional to confirm that things are as they seem.
The Landlord Has a Money First Policy
Sure, the landlord wants to make money from their property; that's why they are putting it up for rent, but this doesn't mean money should be the only thing on their mind. Be careful when you find a landlord who wants you to wire them the money or give them cash even if you haven't seen the house or met them. Ask yourself why they are so much in a hurry. Could it be that they are afraid you may find some skeletons in their closet? It may be that they want to take your money and run before you find out what they are up to (usually not a good thing).
There is Something Fishy with the Photos
The photos and the descriptions of an apartment listing will probably be your first contact with the property you want to rent. They didn't lie when they said a picture is worth a thousand words. It is for this reason that professional realtors and serious landlords go to great lengths to stage their properties and take the best photos possible.
Therefore, if there are issues with the photos, then there is something probably wrong with the house. You should be particularly concerned if the pictures are stock photos lifted off other websites or don't match with the descriptions provided (such as the mention of mature trees that don't appear anywhere in the pictures).
The "Landlord" Isn't Really the Landlord
Lastly, you should be wary of a landlord who doesn't seem to own the property they are renting. If you aren't careful, you can end up getting a sublease from a tenant who isn't allowed to sublet their lease.
The above are just a few examples of the problems you may encounter when looking for a property to rent. They can waste your money and time if you aren't careful. Luckily, professionals realtors have enough skills to weed out such issues before they can cost you money.