If you didn’t already know, house hunting in Nairobi is an extreme sport. There’s nothing wrong with wanting the perfect house and taking time to find it, especially when you’re stuck at home. However, some people have made it a business to scam potential homeowners and walk away with their hard earned money. Now it’s a new month, you may find yourself desperately looking for a new place in Nairobi. Here are some red flags to look out for when you start house hunting.
A common trick by scammers is to make you think that other people are just about to pay the deposit on the house, and that you can beat them to it by paying first. If they keep pressuring you to pay the deposit, especially when you haven’t seen the house, just walk away and save your money. Others will insist that you send them a booking fee before they let you view the house and once you do, they disappear forever.
When house hunting online, it is natural to be drawn to all the pretty pictures, especially when the houses are within your budget. However, some people create fake listings with fake photos of houses to lure unsuspecting house hunters. Others even use photos of already occupied houses and vanish once the deposit has been paid. One way of making sure that the photo used is legit is to do a reverse image search on Google. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
If you’re having trouble accessing the property listing site or the server keeps timing out, chances are that it is not legit. Don’t click on any suspicious links or add your credit card information either as they may contain viruses. If you’re not sure about a site, try to ask around and find out if other people have used it successfully.
Be very cautious if you find yourself talking to too many people about the same house, especially when their stories don’t align.There are only three people you should be talking to when house hunting- the landlord, the caretaker and an agent if you’re using one. Each of these people should know each other and there should be a clear line of communication between them.
You should be able to see a prospective house at any time during the house hunting process, and serious landlords will make sure that there’s always someone available to show you around. If someone insists that you come to view the house only at a certain time, most of the time that usually means that the house is already occupied and the tenant is away at that time. This makes it easy for scammers to lie that it’s fully furnished and exploit that for more money.
Featured Image Courtesy: Daily Nation