Apartment Craigslist ads: How to decrypt a Craigslist posting

Apartment Craigslist ads: How to decrypt a Craigslist posting

Posted 09.14.2009 in Articles by SMonteith

Searching for apartment listings on Craigslist can be daunting: the postings can be long, non-specific, inaccurate, and sometimes simply confusing. But if you know what to look for in a Craigslist ad and what type of details are included or excluded by the poster. Below are tips and red flags to look for in Craigslist apartment listings to make sure you find the quality postings.

Craigslist is a successful classified ad website because it is inexpensive and easy to use. Anyone can place a free ad or purchase an inexpensive ad for millions of readers to view. Consequently, there’s no oversight on the apartment Craigslist postings, leading occasionally to inadvertent inaccuracies and outright scams. Nonetheless, the majority of Craigslist ads for apartments are legitimately posed by individual property owners and professional property management companies. In fact, some of those companies and individuals who make a Craigslist posting for an apartment cannot afford to place the ad elsewhere, so Craigslist can be a valuable resource to locate apartments that are not widely seen in the marketplace.

Craigslist allows users to select search parameters. In addition to being able to decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms, results may also be narrowed for price and neighborhood.

Not every Craigslist posting is created equal; In fact, some are misleading. That’s why it’s important to review all statements made in Craigslist ads. It’s more efficient to only look at apartment Craigslist advertisements that feature images. Considering how easy it is to upload a photograph, those ads that don’t include a picture may be hiding something. It is a waste of time to correspond with the advertiser, and to even view the apartment, when one quick look is enough to tell the renter that it’s not the right place.

Carefully review the headline before clicking on the ad. Then, compare the rent in the headline with that in the advertisement. It’s not unusual for unscrupulous users to quote a lower price in the headline and then a higher number within the advertisement. This discrepancy may be the result of a simple typographical error, but this information will need to be verified with the advertiser.

Some helpful advertisers will provide a Google map link or street address. This information provides valuable clues about the type of neighborhood where the apartment is located. With this information, users are able to find out about the apartment’s proximity to mass transit, shops and services. They can also research crime rates in the area or which schools are nearby.

Advertisements that are likely to be worth the renter’s time include those that list a business email address. This suggests a welcome level of professionalism when dealing with a tenant/landlord situation. The better advertisement might also include the website address for the property management company and legitimate phone numbers where leasing agents and other professionals can be reached.

A few simple precautions can help anyone avoid scams involving apartment Craigslist advertisements. Be especially wary if the landlord resides in another country. Keep in mind the old adage that if something appears to be too good to be true, then it probably is. Be suspicious when the advertisement has an image for a luxurious apartment, but quotes a very low rent. Never forward any money without seeing the apartment in person, and use caution when giving out personal information. Do not email your Social Security Number, and think twice before sharing any social media profiles with the prospective landlord.

Renters who are suspicious of a certain ad can copy a portion of the text and paste it into Google. If identical ads for several different cities pop up, then this ad is probably part of a scam.

Craigslist ads can be a valuable resource for renters. Craigslist posting for apartments that include images and contact information are usually reliable. However, it’s important to double check any discrepancies and to use caution to avoid scams. Being aware of what makes a good advertisement makes for a more efficient apartment search.

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Posts: 1
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Reporting scams on Craigslist
Reply #1 on : Mon October 15, 2012, 11:13:31
Is there a way to report scams or frauds to Craigslist and have the ads removed? Do repeat offenders of posting fraudulent ads get removed too? What does Craigslist do to weed out scams?

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