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A safer way to find rentals than Craigslist

A safer way to find rentals than Craigslist

Are you looking for a quick way to find a rental property in your area? Instead of scouring through classified ads and searching online, did you know that you can simply use that one social media site that you're probably using every day?

Yep, I'm talking about Facebook. In a bid to compete with online classified services like Craiglist, Facebook launched housing rentals on its Marketplace section as well.

If you can recall, Facebook Marketplace was launched last year and was seen as a direct competitor to other online shopping sites like eBay and Craigslist.

Apartment listings were always available on Facebook Marketplace but a new feature allows rental seekers to filter apartments via criteria like location, price, number of bedrooms and square footage.

To further bolster its rental listings, Facebook has partnered with online housing rental listing sites like Zumper and Apartment List and pulls listings from them, as well. Other rental listings are also posted by brokers, real estate agents and property managers.

With this expansion, Facebook hopes that new services like Marketplace and Rentals will encourage users to stay on the social media site as long as possible. If you can recall, Facebook keeps on adding utilities and features like food ordering, money requests and payments, establishment reviews and travel plan tools.

How to search for the perfect apartment on Facebook Marketplace

To visit Facebook Marketplace, just tap on the Marketplace icon on your Facebook app (shaped like a house) then scroll through the top icons until you see "Rentals" (shaped like a house) then tap on it.

This will show you all the available rental listings around your location with an accompanying picture of the property.

You can also filter the listings via distance and price. If a particular rental property catches your eye, just tap on it and Facebook will take you to its actual posting and it will give you an option to "Ask for Availability." This will allow you to message the property owner directly.

How do you avoid getting scammed?

Similar to other online rental marketplaces, you should always keep your eye out for scams and fraudulent listings.

If the supposed property owners are not being specific or are overly vague with their answers regarding your questions about the rental property, then it might be a fake listing. Always demand a physical check of the property before you even think of committing.

The way a property owner wants to be paid can also tip you off if they're trying to rip you off. Never agree on using a third-party payment service that holds your money until all parties are satisfied. These services often "guarantee" that you'll get your money or can dispute a charge in case of fraud. Unfortunately, the majority of these third-party services are run by scammers.

Also, watch out for property owners who demand payment as soon as possible. If they ask for the first few months and the deposit immediately, beware!

Check the landlord's Facebook profile too. If it lacks details and there's hardly anyone on the profile's friends list, then watch out!

Now, this might be an obvious red flag but it's still an effective way of scamming people. If a rental deal is too good to be true, then it probably is. If you see a rental property that's way below its market price, then there could be something else that's going on.

Overall, as with any online listings and transactions, trust your instincts and use your common sense, don't trust anyone readily and pay attention to red flags that may arise.

One way to stop Facebook from tracking you

Sick and tired of how Facebook seems to know everything you do online? Click here to learn about various ways to stop it from tracking you.

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