THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Looking for a home in the Woodlands?
A local realtor is warning people about several fake listings she found on Zillow.
They’re all rental listings that look like a great deal, but the homes aren’t actually on the market.
Natalia Arjona shared a warning on Facebook after a client reached out about some properties for rent.
“They sent me three listings. They were very exciting because they were $1,650 for a 4+ bedroom home,” she said.
They were, of course, too good to be true. The realtor says the listings are scams.
“Those homes were actually leased in August and September of last year and, of course, for several hundred dollars more,” said Arjona.
She says she ran a search of larger homes for lease in that price range in the Woodlands and Spring and found about 20 homes listed by the same scammers.
Some of the fake listings were properties owned by Arjona’s clients, which are not currently on the market.
She called the number listed for “Rent Houston Homes” and never got a call back.
“Rent Houston Homes” never returned KHOU’s call either.
Arjona is familiar with other scams on Zillow. In those cases, crooks try to get interested renters to send money before ever touring the home.
She recommends cross-referencing Zillow listings with HAR.com, or working with a realtor who can help vet properties.
Zillow also put together a list of tips to avoid becoming a rental scam victim:
- Remember the mantra, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
- Carefully analyze email correspondence for red flags.
- Make sure that the property you are interested in is legitimately for rent by doing an address and landlord search, check who owns the property through the county assessor’s office, or ask neighbors.
- Use a reputable source in your search for rental listings.
- Finally, if someone asks you pay rent without seeing the property and signing a lease, don’t do it.