With the endless amounts of information on the internet, it is becoming very easy for people to swoop in and scam you on every corner – Vacation rentals are no different. Steal a few photos from a condo, build a quick one page listing and set your own phone number up is all it takes. To avoid being scammed when booking your vacation rental online, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help you decipher a real property management company or owner from a fraud.
- A legitimate property management company will have a full website and will be able to provide you with more than one link. Its easy for a scammer to set up a free ad or website link, but most won’t take the time to set up multiples to share.
- Ask for a phone call, and be ready with legitimate questions for the owner. Not only things about the condo specifically, but also the location and other area questions – such as amenities like pool access, walk in shower or tub, bunk beds or pull outs, but also restaurants in walking distance, things to do for fun in the area, or even how many units the complex itself has.
- Were you presented with a contract when you tried to book? Most scammers won’t take the time to fill out a contract or even have all the proper details to do so. All for a quick buck, details like this are usually overlooked as they hope you as the renter, won’t notice. A good reminder that contracts should protect BOTH parties, which is why they exist.
- Are you feeling the deal is too good to be true? Maybe the price range is low, they offer amazing amenities, allow pets and smoking all in one and now you’re starting to feel like there is nothing they’ll say no to? Scammers want to sell you on the property right away, even if it means lying on every turn. Be careful, ask questions, and use your common sense when booking!
At the end of the day, a true owner won’t “give away” their condo for a low fee – Most would rather it sit empty instead. There is a lot of risk every time they open their doors and invite a family in, which is why the cost is set where it is. Bottom line: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!