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Online Rental Scam Using Craigslist - Never Send Money Overseas!

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

This rental scam has been going on for several years now, but it has been brought to my attention by several prospective tenants in recent weeks so it is worth covering again.  Dishonest people from overseas, mainly in African countries, are listing properties for rent on Craigslist and some other rental websites.  The rental amounts are usually far below the going rate and renters in our area and across the country are falling for this scam hook, line and sinker.  Our area is especially prone to this scam, since a lot of folks are coming in from out of town and many are willing to rent sight unseen from the pictures. 

The way the scam works is the thieves use actual properties for rent and create new online ads for the same house with more favorable terms.  Like a beautiful Virginia Beach rental home with 4 bedrooms for $1,800 a month, $1,800 security deposit and the owner will not accept pets.  The new scam ad runs for the same house will say something like the rent is $1,250, no security deposit required and pets are OK.  Sounds like a great deal aye!

Unsuspecting renters are basically duped into sending rent and security deposit by Western Union, but the person on the receiving end are not the actual owners.  Local area real estate companies have even had renters show up and ask for the keys, just to find out they were victims of a scam and their money is gone forever and now they have no home either. 

Basic Rules for Renting:

1. Any reputable Property Manager will require an application and application fee to verify who you are before renting to you.

2. Verify the Property Manager and the house are really for rent before sending in your money.  If it offer is too good to be true, it probably is.  So beware of incredible offers to rent cheap. 

​3. Google the full address of the house including the city and state too.  You should be able to find any Realtor listings for the same house. 

4. Many agents use a cell phone number, but ask for the office phone number to double check.  Call the office and asked to be transferred to the agent. 

5.  If you live out of town, ask a friend or co-worker to take a look at the house and meet with the agent to actually look inside the house.

​6. Mostly importantly never ever send your hard earned money by Western Union or any other service overseas to rent a home.  There are plenty of great local rentals in our area to deal with.

 

Hampton Roads NARPM Election Announcement

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

It was announced to membership meeting today that I was elected Vice President of the Hampton Roads chapter of the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM) for 2010.

You can find out more about NARPM on their website at  www.NARPM.org

17 Things Owners Need To Do To Get Their Home Ready For Property Management

by Jorge Gonzalez, ABR, CRS, GRI

A common question Virginia Beach area homeowners ask is what do they need to do to get ready for property management.  Here is a list of things that should be helpful to most owners. The important thing is to create a baseline to work from, so when your tenant leaves they know what is to be expected of them.  

1. Whole house, attic, garage & shed clean and free of all personal property. Anything left behind may not be there when you return.

2. All doors, window facings and baseboards cleaned and touched up as needed.

3. Blinds and ceiling fans clean and in good working order.

4. Ensure all light bulbs, switches and fixtures are in good working order.

5. All appliances, vents & filters clean and in good working order. 

6. Kitchen & Baths need to sparkle. Sinks and tubs have to have working stoppers and properly caulked where needed.

7. Have carpets professionally cleaned.

8. Have dryer vent, fireplace & chimney professionally inspected and cleaned.

9. Install "heavy duty" door stops behind each door.

10. Heating & A/C system serviced and new filter(s) installed.

11. Provide current code and instructions for security system.

12. Each floor is required to have working smoke detector with fresh batteries.  Carbon monoxide detector (gas homes) and halon fire extinguishers recommended, but not required by Virginia law.

13. Garage door opener & remote(s) need to be in good working order and have fresh batteries. Provide current code and instructions for using exterior key pad.

14. Have grass freshly cut, all flower beds clean & weeded and install fresh mulch. Provide name & number of who will cut grass until rented if necessary.

15. Provide 4 keys for each unique lock. If more than 2 unique locks, have locksmith re-key locks to one matching key. Please verify all keys work, including new keys!

16. Repair wall holes and touch-up and/or paint where needed.

17. Provide good notes and instructions for unique things about your home that can help the tenant and your property manager in the future.

I hope you found this list of items helpful.  If you have any questions or need a referral to hire someone to help perform any of these tasks to prepare your home for property management, please feel free to give me a call.  Jorge Gonzalez, RE/MAX Allegiance 757-287-3400.

 

 

RE/MAX #1 Real Estate Franchise

by

RE/MAX is the United State’s # 1 real estate franchise and the nation’s # 44 franchise overall - according to Entrepreneur magazine’s 30th Annual Franchise 500 survey.

The survey appears on the magazine’s Web site and in its January 2009 issue.

Subway bested McDonald’s to capture the top position overall. Behind # 2 McDonald’s came Liberty Tax Service at # 3.

Among real estate franchises, RE/MAX ranks No. 1 for the ninth time in the past nine years. The closest competitor - Keller Williams - came in at a distant # 71.

RE/MAX ranks # 10 overall in the Low-Cost Franchises category. It finished # 1 last year.

Additionally, RE/MAX tops all real estate competitors at # 38 on the Global Franchises list.

RE/MAX has a long, successful history in the survey. It ranked # 10 overall a year ago, # 11 in 2007, # 8 in 2006, and # 10 in 2005.

All companies in the rankings are judged by the same criteria, the most important being financial strength and stability, size and growth rate. Also considered: number of years in business, length of time franchising, start-up costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and financing options.

The factors are plugged into a Franchise 500 formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4

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Jorge Gonzalez primarily provides Real Estate and Property Management services for rental properties for the following areas of Hampton Roads:

Virginia Beach Real Estate For Sale and Virginia Beach Property Manager (Largest City In Hampton Roads)
Chesapeake Real Estate For Sale and Chesapeake Property Manager
Norfolk Real Estate For Sale
Suffolk Real Estate For Sale