If something seems almost too good to be true, then it most probably is. Legitimate property owners must let you feel secure of renting. If your gut feeling tells you something’s fishy, the most logical course of action is to kick the property in question out from your checklist.

Without a doubt, the real estate industry is prone to deception, falling unaware roomies prey to listings scams. Fraudulent listings are typically characterized by property owners going missing in action after receiving security deposits from their victims.

Are you a first time roomie? Fear not! With a critical mind, you can practice spotting red flags and warning signs in renting through the following tips:

1. Do some background check.

Activate your “Sherlock Holmes detective” mode, and summon your [responsible] stalking skills. It is an imperative to do your own extensive research about the platform, property, location, the property owners, and other data you could gather. Don’t forget to study about the real estate laws in the country. It’s your responsibility to educate yourself on your tenant rights as a roomie, and it might save you in the future — big time!

2. Meet up with the property owner in person.

Sometime phone calls and online text messages with the property owner will not suffice. Confirm the identity and intentions by scheduling an appointment with them. You may opt to bring a companion with you to serve as the witness of your discussion, and make sure that you meet at a public place that is surrounded by people. Ask for documents that verify their authenticity, such as business permits, and other proof of operation.

3. Carefully review your lease.

Before affixing your signature and as well as your parents’ or guardian’s, familiarize yourself with the rules stipulated on the contract. We cannot stress this enough: leases are binding agreements sanctioned by the law. Breaking the contract can have serious legal and financial repercussions, such as having to pay a hefty amount of fine. Never hesitate to ask for clarifications on parts of the content you find confusing, ambiguous, or disadvantageous on your side.

4. Tour the actual space.

Unlike ordering online, real estate properties cannot be returned to the seller. Having a first-hand perspective of the actual property, or specifically, the room you will be availing will let you constructively criticize its physical form. Ask the property owners questions about the aspects of the room that seem sketchy, like moldy walls, busted electric sockets, leaking bathroom pipes, and other disturbing stuff. If they can’t answer it confidently, you might want to consider backing out.

5. Ask for remarks from trusted people.

As an independent adolescent trying to make decisions for themselves, the last say is on you. But it doesn’t hurt to seek remarks from your friends and family members you genuinely trust. It would be beneficial to have varied opinions to offer you a holistic discernment of which property to rent. If accessible, reaching out to previous and current Roomies to collect testimonies and experiences is a preferred option too!

Ultimately, why subject yourself into unnecessary hassle when there is a website that guarantees verified properties? The Rentalbee website is a safe platform for roomies to conveniently hunt for coliving spaces, and directly connect to property owners for inquiries and appointment schedules. In an online world full of scams, you can be vigilant with Rentalbee!