Monday, June 13, 2011

Caution: Beware!

You're selling your home.  You've listed it with a reputable Realtor (certainly true if you used Responsible Referrals to find your agent), you've scrubbed the house down, cleaned everything that could be cleaned, repaired everything (even those corner moldings) and are now waiting for that perfect buyer.  All is good.

Early Saturday morning, you're sitting in the kitchen with a latte' and a newspaper. (Well, it IS my story!) The doorbell rings and of course, you answer.  Standing before you is a stranger presenting you with a lease.  This is not just any rental agreement, but one that's been signed, sealed and delivered to you because these strangers are planning to move in to your house!  Today!

Responsible Referrals wants you to be careful - it's another scam.  Thought out, organized and it's now ready to cause you and your new "renters" serious problems.  Do you have to move out?  No.  Does the person standing on your stoop have a place to live?  No.  They've been duped into believing that whomever they were dealing with was your legitimate representative.  After all, they answered an online advertisement that included a picture of your house along with all of the appropriate information - with two exceptions.  One, the "representative" isn't working for you and two, you are not willing to rent.

It's a sad situation for all involved, but especially for the people who find they have no place to live.  As a seller, what can you do?  I've heard it suggested that it's not a bad idea to setup a Google Alert for on your address.  Google searches the entire net and sends you email notifications every day which will inform you as your address shows up on various sites. That way, if you see something that doesn't look right, you can take steps to stop the ad from running. 

If you're a buyer, just remember something that parents have been telling children for years:  "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."  Is it logical to believe that a 4 bedroom, 3 bath, modified two-story house that is listed for sale at $300,000 would rent (especially in this market) for $900 per month? 

Everybody needs to do their homework: Buyers, sellers AND the agents working for them.


  1. Thanks Mike - interesting,what will THEY think of next? Yeh, I agree, Google Alerts are great for tracking.

  2. It's sad - and true as it happened recently in DesMoines. I would imagine Iowa is not alone. Be careful out there!