I have been a landlord for 10 years and I have never paid for advertisement. I have always used Craigslist.
Since craigslist has grown in popularity there have been rumors about the safety of dealing with strangers over Craigslist. The worst experience I’ve had so far, is a tenant whose stuff kept breaking and I was pretty sure her kids were doing it. If that’s your worst tenant story, you are in good shape.
I will admit, the scammers have increased.
Online Red Flags for Landlord to Look For
1) The #1 red flag is poor English. Poor English alone does not mean that they are scammers, just keep in mind 99% of scammers are offshore.
2) They have no questions about the property. They are eager to move in, and have no clarifying questions. They mention no specifics about your property.
3) They cannot meet with you personally. They will send a cashier’s check.
4) A beautiful model has found her dream rental, and it’s your property! She has sent a picture of herself, a little on the sexy side, and wants to move in right away.
5) I have been getting an increasing amount of inquiries such as ‘It would help if I knew where it was’ or ‘Can I get more info’. I received these from posts related to promoting websites such as this one, so the emails made no sense. They are fishing for your real email address, do not respond.
*Craigslist is very good about updating information for current scams. Before responding to anything questionable, read their current scam information. Scammers get more and more clever. The main thing I look for is there anything in the email that indicates in any way they have actually read my posting?
Tips for Online Marketing for Landlords
1) It is OK to give your number out. I post my number all the time, and have never had an issue. Scammers don’t want to SPEAK with you. I understand if this still makes you uncomfortable, just know that I have never had an issue with it.
2) Do not post a real email address. Scammers love email addresses. Use the anonymous email, and if the person sounds legit reply back with your real email address.
3) State up front your terms. If you have any criteria (credit scores, background checks) state it up front. See selecting a tenant section for more information if you are very specific about what kind of tenant you want. There are some things you can say you don’t want (you can say no students for example).
For more landlord tips click here.