Fellow Snowbirds; the allure of a miserable winter spent in a warmer climate is so very appealing, isn’t it? We know. We succumbed. Go ahead. Be a Snowbird. Spend some time in the south during winter. Exercise some caution when renting though. There are some scamming renters – Snowbirds beware!
Aside from referrals from friends and colleagues which is a very good way to find a Snowbird haven, how does someone in the north find a Snowbird haven in the south?
Some folks become members of Snowbird groups on line, which is a great way to learn and share Snowbird experiences. Unfortunately, some crooked people have taken to using social networking to take advantage of the unwary or inexperienced Snowbird wanna-be.
In the photo above (no, it’s not really for rent) the picture of this property may be appealing to you. What you don’t see above are photos of all rooms, no link to a rental site with no identification of the renter and the request to PM for details, all are signs of a potential scam rental. How does one know if the renter actually didn’t just drive by and take a photo to offer the place for rent, or find another rental on line, copy the photo and whatever information they can scrape from the legitimate listing, and offer it up for rent themselves?
Is a rental listing on a social network looking too good to be true? If so, it probably is. That doesn’t mean it’s a scam rental for sure, but caution should increase substantially should you find what appears to be an ideal Snowbird rental that is just a bit too good.
Things to look for to try to determine if a rental posting on internet social networking is sketchy:
- few or a limited photo of a property on a listing
- no address for property or renter
- no link provided to a website providing full and public details of the property for rent and information about the renter
- the offering party has no long term membership on the social network where the listing is being viewed
- there are no references included or offered
- the request for immediate sending of funds
- the I.D. of the poster is obscured / unknown
- the renter is not located near the property, or says they are out of the country
- for some reason the renter cannot go to the property with you to show you the home
Things you can do to prevent being a victim of Scamming Renters:
- the best thing, of course, is if the property is known and details can be checked by friends or family – often we’ll try to rent in a park that friends may already be in – ask them to do some checking on the property for you
- if the property is in a park, contact the park office for the name of the owner of the rental property being considered
- if a person with a property to rent asks for a private PM, ask why they won’t just add it as a comment on their post
- get full details of the online renter, including asking for and getting photo I.D. via email (make sure the photo I.D. is the same name as the renter) as well as an address, an email address of the renter and their phone number – then wait a bit and call that number to be sure the same person answers
- consider renting a hotel for a week or so in the area you are looking to rent or buy for an extended stay to check out properties
- visit the rental home and knock on a neighbor’s door to ask about the person/family that owns the property to ensure that they are the renter
- enter the renter’s name in a browser search engine which will often return of reports about the person being a scammer
- and don’t send money until you are 100% sure that the offer is genuine as well as not wiring money ever
Yes, this is a lot of work. Is this work worth the hundreds or thousands of dollars you might send… and lose to a rental scammer targeting Snowbirds? Yup, we think so.
The safest method of renting a Snowbird refuge aside from renting from a family member or friend is…
There some rental agencies on line that are commercial in nature, meaning they have an infrastructure, people with whom you can communicate, and rental contracts for folks listing their properties for rent that impart a certain level of respectability and safety when considering renting one of the properties shown there.
If you opt for that route, ask them what your guarantees are, and if there is an issue, is your money safe?
A browse for ‘find winter snowbird rentals’ will return dozens of options. Narrowing of the search return can be easy as putting the area into the browser.
Best of luck in your renting journey. If you’ve had good, bad or horrible luck renting and you wish to share it with others, do leave a comment. Thanks.
Research for this page and some of the information was obtained from pages by the following. Our thanks for the guidance.