Updated: February 10, 2023
It’s time to go apartment hunting but you don’t know where to start. Craigslist can be a great tool if you know how to use it safely for your apartment-hunting needs. You never know what unique apartments you and your roommates will find with a bit of digging.
Is It Safe to Rent an Apartment off of Craigslist?
You can find just about anything on Craigslist, but you may ask yourself, is it safe to find your next apartment or condo off Craigslist compared to one of the apartment websites? Renters want to know that they are on top of all the best potential apartments, and if you limit yourself by not looking on Craigslist, you might miss out on a great place to stay. Craigslist can be a place for honest local people, real estate agents, and rental companies to advertise their available listings, but it also can attract scammers. The good news is that if you look for red flags in apartment and condo advertisements, you can work to protect yourself from falling victim to some common rental scams.
Top Apartment Hunting Hacks
There are a few things that you can do to help make your Craigslist apartment search more manageable. You’ll want to start by narrowing your search, such as where in New York City you’d like your apartment to be located. Picking a particular neighborhood can help you pinpoint a smaller geographic area to look for ads. You can set up a Craigslist notification to inform you when new ads are posted that match the details of your search. You’ll also want to do your homework about the building. You’ll want to find out if there are any building violations, problems, or recent crimes in the area.
How to Avoid Scams and Fake Rentals on Craigslist
Checking out Craigslist apartments can be an excellent way to find hidden rental gems or great deals, but there are also a lot of scammers out there, so how can you be sure to skip the scams? Scammers do certain things to trick people into giving them a deposit and sometimes even the first month’s and last month’s rent for fake apartments that either they don’t own or never existed. Some rental red flags for Craigslist scammers include:
- Extremely low monthly rent that’s too good to be true
- Advertisements with no pictures
- The property manager isn’t willing or “able” to meet you in person
- Avoid the middleman scam where the owners are conveniently unavailable
- You never get to view the apartment
- The property manager only wants to communicate by email and won’t give out a phone number
- They want you to give them sensitive personal information or money upfront
- Asking for money to be wired to them
- Anything else that seems too good to be true probably means it’s a scam
Protecting yourself from scams often requires you to do a little research. If something sounds too good to be true or you can’t find any information on the person offering the rental property, it’s probably a scam. Doing your homework can prevent you from losing money for a fake rental.
Did you find the perfect apartment or condo on Craigslist but it doesn’t have the same storage as your old place? That’s okay. SelfStorage.com can help you to determine the best storage unit for your needs.