SOURCE: Vantage Resort Realty

Vantage Resort Realty

September 22, 2011 12:32 ET

Vacationers Are at Risk of Rental Fraud: Vantage Resort Realty Suggests These Precautions to Avoid Scammers

OCEAN CITY, MD--(Marketwire - Sep 22, 2011) - With summer now in full swing, many people are trying to find the perfect place to spend their vacation. Rental properties are a popular option; becoming easier to search for and reserve online with just one click of the mouse.

However, like all online shoppers, those searching for rental properties are at risk of becoming the victims of Internet scams. Due to the anonymity of online communication, many vacationers are being fooled into paying for a rental property that either doesn't exist or hasn't been represented accurately by individuals posing as 'property owners.'

According to Brooke Pfautz, of Vantage Resort Realty in Ocean City, MD, people are being too trusting of those they meet online.

"It surprises me how much research people will do when they are about to purchase an $800-$1,000 computer. However, when they are ready to drop $2,000 to $4,000 on a vacation rental, they are willing to deal with a complete stranger that they found online." -B. Pfautz

The good news is that there are several things the public can do to protect against vacation 'scams.' Vacationers can locate the rental property they're searching for and avoid anyone who is seeking to 'rip them off' by using caution and following the advice listed below:

  • Check Credentials: Check the credentials of the rental company in question. Visit the state's real estate commission website to verify that it is a licensed real estate company, and obtain the company's Better Business Bureau rating online at www.BBB.org. Furthermore, verify that it is a member of the Real Estate industry's leading trade association -- the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), by visiting www.VRMA.com.
  • Pay with Credit Card: Use a credit card to pay for your visit. Never pay with a money order or by wiring money.
  • Know Going Rates: Be familiar with the going rates for rentals, and be leery of prices that seem too low.
  • Educate Yourself: Read as many online reviews as possible and/or ask for references from individuals who have previously rented the property.
  • Research: Investigate the property address to make sure it exists. This can be done by performing a search on websites such as; Google and MapQuest, one is able to see the exact location of the property on a satellite map. If possible, visit the property in person.
  • Photos: View as many photos of the property as possible. Be sure there are interior, as well as exterior shots.
  • Ask Questions: Have a conversation with the individual or rental agency and ask lots of specific questions. If the property representative is who they say they are, they won't mind answering questions and will know detailed information about the property and its location.
  • Use Discretion: Use reputable websites that screen their properties, and stay away from free websites (i.e. Craigslist). In addition, finding that the rental is listed on multiple websites adds to the legitimacy of the property, and is a good sign.
  • Contract: Be sure to read and sign a written rental contract, also known as a lodging agreement. A good contract will look out for your interests, as well as the property owner's. It should specify details about deposits, cancellation, and check-in/check-out procedures.

While the majority of vacation properties are legitimate, it is still necessary to stay informed and be vigilant to avoid being scammed!

"Make sure you do your due diligence and only deal with licensed Real Estate Agents who work for a reputable real estate company. They are required to follow the Realtor Code of Conduct and state real estate laws." - B. Pfautz

If you'd like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview with D. Brooke Pfautz, please call 800.555.4099 x 120 or email him at Brooke@VantageOC.com.

Vantage Resort Realty is a premier, full-service real estate brokerage headquartered in Ocean City, MD. From oceanfront condominiums to investment properties, Vantage is available to assist you in your efforts. Clients receive unparalleled benefits and competitive rates ensuring a fulfilling vacation experience. Some of these benefits include; 5-star guest perks, guaranteed rental income, home owner's protection, and much more. Vantage's Rental Program will take the risk out of rental properties. Vacation more, worry less. Visit www.VantageOceanCity.com for more information.

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    D. Brooke Pfautz
    Vantage Resort Realty
    Phone: 800.555.4099 x 120
    Email: Email Contact