Landlord Tips: Protecting Your Listing From Fraud
With New Year’s celebrations winding down, it’s time for property management companies to start thinking about the summer turnover season. That might seem strange, but the most popular time for American renters to move is between May and August (especially when you factor in student rentals). With that timeline in mind, it then makes sense that property managers start prepping their rentals in anticipation of the summer turnover.
And do you know what comes with massive turnover? Listing fraud. Listing fraud is when scammers steal vacancy pictures/information in order to swindle as much money as possible from vulnerable renters.
As we put up more listings in preparation for the big summer move, the number of fake listings skyrocket as well. Can we as property managers completely eradicate fraud? No. But we can absolutely do our part to make it more simple for our tenants to spot trustworthy listings. Here are my top three suggestions to make it more difficult for your listing to be scammed.
Use Respected Sites To List Your Vacancies
I can’t say this enough. Where. You. Post. Matters! Using sites like Dwellsy puts renters at ease because they know that listing authentication is not just a core tenant of Dwellsy’s mission, but it’s also DIRECTLY CODED into the platform. Renters feel protected and safe enough to engage with the listings because the chance of being taken advantage of is near zero.
Watermark Images with Company Name And Contact Information
Watermarking traditionally protects online images by adding the name of the company, but I want to up the ante! Put the contact information for the leasing company directly under the watermarked name. Without this contact, it is still very easy for scammers to steal the pictures and falsely advertise them to vulnerable renters.
Add A Basic Layout With Identical Captions To Your Pictures
Now this strategy is a new addition for me as well! On top of adding clear, well-lit pictures to each listing, I’m also adding basic layouts for two reasons. The first is so tenants can accurately place each picture in the space (especially helpful if there isn’t a video walkthrough). The second is because an overwhelming red flag for tenants spotting scam listings has been a perceived disconnect between the pictures and the square footage of the home. Layouts, even simple ones, help minimize that confusion.
It is not possible to completely eradicate listing fraud online. However, these strategies should absolutely help to minimize the issue as we continue to build trust with our potential renters. What other suggestions do you have to help renters spot scam listings?
If you’re looking for more renter-relevant content, check out our other informative blog posts here.
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