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7 Most Common Rent-to-Own Scams And How to Avoid Them – 2024 Guide

Buying a new house requires a lot of money. Therefore, for most people, the best choice for buying a property is to get a loan from the bank. However, it is not so easy to get a loan, especially during 2024, when there is a fear that the global economy might face another recession, maybe even bigger than those in 2009. In that matter, it is not a surprise that many people would rather choose to rent their apartment instead of buying it. Moreover, besides rent, rent to own is also a popular option. The main advantage of this method is that people who are not eligible to get a loan from the bank could buy a property.

On the other side, there are many issues related to this method of buying real estate, and you should learn more about the legal process and all important factors related to proper documentation that will help you to avoid scams. You can click here to read more about the best ways to spot rent to own fraud. Furthermore, we are going to introduce you to some of the most common rent to own scams and the best ways to avoid them.

1. Prices That are too Low


In case you notice how the price of some real estate is surprisingly low, you should think twice before contacting the owner. Scammers are using low price as a way to attract people. In most cases, they will demand an immediate deposit and rent for the first month, and claim how there are many people interested and that you don’t have much time because of the high competition.

However, if you don’t read the details in the contract and check each corner of the apartment to see if some issues affecting the price to be so low, you might end up in a situation where you are only renting the apartment without any legal rights, which is the waste of time and money.

2. Background Check

You have to know that the average price of a background check in the United States is around $50. Therefore, in case that the current owner is requesting you to pay more than that, you should examine the parts of the contract and compare them with the legal necessities. If there are many irregularities, there is a great chance that the owner is trying to scam you.

3. The Lease Isn’t Available


This is another common type of fraud. This contract is crucial for the protection of your rights to use the property while paying the rent. Therefore, you should check if the contract is valid and certified. The best way to avoid any issues with the lease is to contact the lawyer and ask for advice. There is also an issue where you think that you are paying the rent to own, while you are only playing the rent, and if you don’t notice that on time, you will end up with great expenses and a lot of time wasted.

4. Copied Listings

You should never give a deposit before signing the contract and checking the apartment. The scammers might try to use the advantage of people if they are in a hurry to rent the property. In that matter, you should never rush with the decision about which apartment to rent, and always be sure to check all of the details from the contract. Also, be aware of copied listings because that is a common type of scam where people will give a deposit to someone who only copied the listings of other landlords.

5. Fake Owner


Visiting the house or apartment is crucial before signing anything and paying the deposit. There is a chance that you might give the money to the person who is not the owner of the property at all, and you can notice that in case the person is demanding the deposit in advance, or if it is not able to show you the house in any moment. There might be a case where the real owners are on a vacation, and their friend who has the keys could show the house and try to fake the rental process only to disappear with your money in the end.

6. Suspicions Bank Accounts

There is a possibility that someone is busy and unable to show you the house you want to rent. However, if that is happening more often, you should beware that he is trying to scam you. In most cases, these people are using bank accounts from some foreign countries because it will get harder for the police to trace their activities, and you won’t be able to prove the scam. You should avoid people who are using any suspicious accounts.

7. Search for Well-Known Companies


The best way to avoid any issues with rent to own process is to choose only reliable and well-known companies with a lot of experience with the connection of landlords and clients. Also, you should read reviews and comments on forums where you can find out if previous clients had any difficulties with a particular company. Moreover, you should compare the prices of similar properties, research the available services, be sure that the address is correct, and more.

Last Words

While renting to own is a more expensive option than getting a loan, there are many benefits from this method, especially for people who are not able to get credit from the bank. However, you should learn about all the possible methods that scammers are using to steal money from people. In case you notice that someone is trying to trick you into paying the deposit and first rent in advance, even before you check the apartment, you should contact the police and company where you saw the ad for the real estate. By learning all of these methods, you can be more relaxed and sure that you will find a proper apartment without any issues.