Now is the time when holidaymakers start scouring the internet for properties to rent during the festive season. Last minute planning often fueled by desperation and online scammers exploit this need.
As the internet is usually the go-to platform for holiday rentals, anonymous communication is often a prerequisite, which can make any of us feel uneasy. It is important to understand that you need to be alert and rely on your instincts when parting with personal information and money. Some horror stories have emerged in recent times - most often related to people paying deposits blindly.
Here are a few tips:
Logic goes a long way. When something is too good to be true, it usually is. Be skeptical of advertisements where the rental quoted is a lot lower than the average for the area in which you are interested. Do a quick market analysis of similar homes to gauge the regional standard.
When communication is vague and your direct responses are going unanswered and are being replied with rhetoric, be weary. An extension of this scam is the "homeowner" that has a million excuses why they can't have someone meet them face to face, especially because they know you're usually still out of town. Their excuses range from always running late, or on business trips or in meetings. The next step is often a request to pay a deposit, albeit at times a smaller one, in good faith to "secure" the property. Do not pay until you're absolutely sure.
A picture speaks a thousand words. If the photos you're being sent vary dramatically in size and quality warning bells should go off. Many potential scammers download stock photos off the internet and use these as bait to attract potential holidaymakers. Request images from different angles and request new photos, with modern technology this is usually rather easy to achieve.
Digital history. Do a quick search online on the rental property's previous adverts. You can either search the contact numbers or address of the property to find out if this home is rented out on an annual basis. Obviously not a sole reflection on the validity of the home but just another factor to consider.
The majority of holiday rentals advertised contain accurate information from a trustworthy source and there is a good chance you'll have a very pleasant experience. This article is in no way aimed at dissuading you from contacting homeowners direct but for both the homeowner and the holidaymaker it is always the best option to make use of a highly reputable estate agency. This way both parties are secure and the transaction is managed professionally.
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer
She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 6 months ago, at the age of 21. The cancer continued to spread and she now needs to go through the next phase of treatment. The treatment thus far has drained their medical funds. This is why Dykes van Heerden attorneys decided to hold a fundraising event in the form of a corporate triathlon challenge.
It was very impressive to see a multitude of real estate role players unite to fight for this cause. "This story touched every single one us. The human spirit got us all together. It was not about the scoreboard this time but rather for something that is much bigger than that – a life of an inspiring and special young woman who is fighting for her life," said Lisa Boniface, Conveyancing Attorney at Dykes, van Heerden.
The event, held on 21 June in Durban, consisted of a 5km run on Durban promenade, a mile swim at Kings Park pool and a 30km bicycle ride starting at Bike & Bean. The official results were; Harcourts in first place, Seeff in second and Pam Golding third. Although, very little emphasis was put on the result but rather the cause.
Harcourts South Africa CEO Richard Gray was proud to be in attendance and see the real estate community come together the way they did. "It was truly an inspiring spectacle. To see everyone in this industry join hands to fight a worthy cause and assist this young woman with the greatest battle of her life was humbling. Jan and his family are so special, and to see the joy on Jeané's face throughout the day inspired us all even more."
Jan Myburgh certainly is a stalwart in real estate and it was amazing to see the industry he has devoted his life to, assist him and his family during these times. "Many people in the real estate game have been touched in one way or another by Jan Myburgh. He has either been a life/business coach or mentor, a manager, a trainer, an MC, a friend, or a partner. He has been an inspiration to us all and therefore we were happy to assist in the Myburgh family's time of need," concluded Boniface. #BlueForYou