Many people (our clients included) love to search for homes on Zillow. As the Top Zillow Team in the entire Greater Southern Houston area, we work with many of you from Zillow on a daily basis. Zillow is a great portal but there are some things you, as the real estate consumer, need to look out for. Zillow prides itself on allowing anyone to post listings on its portal. The primary purpose being to allow FSBO listings. However, lack of verification of ownership has left the door open for scammers.
So what do you do?
Well the easiest answer is only use authoritative sites that come from the MLS such as Search.RealtyByMonica.com (we may be a little biased here but we can guarantee no scams).
However, if you like using Zillow to search for homes such as FSBOs (which we also can help you with if the owner is willing to work with a realtor) then make sure you know what to look for:
For Rent Listings on the For Sale section
Typically these have a normal address followed by “For Rent” or a unit number (but the property is a home not a townhome or condo). For example you may see “1234 Street For Rent”, “1234 Street For Rent #0”, or “1234 Street #19”. Often these are homes that are actually for sale on the MLS and not for rent at all. Also, they can also be for rent on the MLS but at a much higher price.
For Sale Listings not for sale or incorrect price
These are harder to spot but always seem a little hard to believe. Often, they will be 4 bedroom homes, at least 2500 sq. ft., and always be on sale for an even $100,000 or $150,000. They will always be a FSBO and often in the description will say “$1000 a month all utilities included” or “lease to own”. Homes of that size in the greater Clear Lake and Pearland areas do not go for those prices. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. These are often for sale in the MLS (or recently expired) at a higher price. Ask us and we can make sure it is legitimate. We can even help you as your buyer’s representative in the process.
Don’t be taken and seek out the advice of a Realtor®
Remember, these scammers are almost always have out-of-area phone numbers and are always “out of town” at the present time so you have to electronically send payment. If there is any question, reach out to the Monica Foster Team and we will verify the property’s status and help you with anything you need.