GRAND RAPIDS AREA RENTAL HOUSES
The demand for rental housing in the Grand Rapids area has skyrocketed in the past few years. That means it’s harder to find a rental home these days and scams are becoming increasingly popular.
Some of our readers have asked us to help them start their rental home search, so we reached out to a local company that does just that. Sarah Davies, of Lighthouse properties graciously gave us the scoop:
FIND A RENTAL BY USING A PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY
Lighthouse Property Management (www.lighthousepm.com) is one of the largest management companies in West Michigan. In business since 2003, they are a locally owned residential management company that handles 700 rental homes in Kent and Ottawa County.
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU FIND A RENTAL
There are many resources out there to locate properties for rent.
Management companies like Lighthouse have their own website which will filter into many other rental sites such as Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Craigslist.com, Hotpads.com, etc. Some private owners will post on one specific site such grhousing.com or rentals.
Unfortunately, there is not one central place to see every option available but craigslist seems to be the most common as it is well known, and also free for the one posting the property. This is also the most common place for scammers to try to take your money.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN INQUIRING ABOUT A PROPERTY
- If you get a response that says the owner is out of the country and gives instructions where to send money before you even view the home, this is a scam and all you can do is report it to craigslist for the ad to be removed.
- If you see the home listed for multiple prices and one is at a price too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers copy and paste pictures/information and change the price so you respond to their ad over the actual one. Report to craigslist.
- If you get a response asking for personal/financial information in a list form right after you inquire about the property, it is usually a scam. Lighthouse has an application that can be submitted electronically but is is a link through our business website.
- Always tour a home if possible. Pictures are not always accurate as they could be what the property looked like 10 years ago.
WHAT ABOUT THE SAFETY OF THE AREA?
We often get questions about whether an area is “safe” which is not something we can answer due to fair housing laws, and it is a matter individual perception as everyone’s definition of safe could be different.
It is up to a tenant to determine if they are comfortable with a location and we always recommend to do you due diligence and drive by an area, talk to the local police department, or do your own research. You can input an address online and see any type of crime in whatever radius you chose at:http://www.crimemapping.com
Have you found a rental home in West Michigan? How did you go about it? Any tips or tricks for those looking right now?