With the rise in vacant homes, unscrupulous people are taking advantage of the lengthy vacancies by either squatting in the residences or worse, renting out properties they do not own. With that in mind, protect yourself by doing as much as you can when you rent or if you have a property that is vacant. I have listed many things you can do to protect yourself, whether you are a renter or an owner. This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you quite a few options to research before you rent a residence or leave one vacant.
- Use a licensed real estate agent (check with the Real Estate Division for the State of Nevada is 702-486-4033). As a renter or buyer, you are not paying for their services and their job is to be sure you are dealing with the correct people when renting or purchasing a home.
- Watch out for great prices!
- Avoid catchphrases: “Snatch it up while you can”; “dozens of people have responded”; etc.
- Watch out for “friends” or “relatives” renting out apartments or homes for sick or out of town friends or relatives.
- Do not deal with anyone just over the phone or by computer (i.e. internet or email)
- Use online searches such as (a) property records (b) use a search engine (such as “google”) to search the property address AND the name of the person you are dealing with.
- Talk to Neighbors!
- Get a copy of the landlords identification (or person trying to rent you place)
- Check their name with the real estate division for the state.
- Legitimate landlords usually require applications and screen for background checks.
- Do not wire money or pay by internet.
- Check with bank to find out if in foreclosure
- Check with www.clarkcountynv.gov/assessor and www.clarkcountynv.gov/recorder . The recorder will also show if the property is in foreclosure because a notice of default or notice of sale has to be recorded.
- Hire a legitimate property management company (they are licensed with the Real Estate Division for the State of Nevada) to take care of the property while it is vacant. Give them the responsibility of making sure it remains that way, or is appropriately rented or sold.
- Enlist or even pay a neighbor to watch the property and report to you the condition regularly.
- Hire a private security service to watch the property.
- Check your own property at least twice a week. Randomly. Do not be regular on checking, in the event someone is watching the property.
- Notify the HOA that the property is vacant and is to remain that way, unless and until you notify them differently.
- Notify HOA security that the property is vacant and is to remain that way, unless and until you notify them differently.