Anyone who lives along the Wasatch Front is probably familiar with the well-used marketplace website KSL.com. If you have something to sell, and you ever have a hope of selling it locally, this is the website to post it on. It is user-friendly to both sellers looking to unload as well as buyers looking to accumulate.
It is mostly local, and it does not have the horrible reputation that other online sales websites have. After all, if you end up getting scammed via Craigslist, well, that’s to be expected. But KSL? Say it isn’t so. To even make such accusations could be considered borderline blasphemy. Yet, here it is.
A few days ago, a local and reputable real estate broker reported an incident that occurred on one of her listings. As part of their marketing plan, the broker had it listed on KSL, as well as various other websites. There was also a sign in the yard with agent contact information. This particular agent began to get repeated calls asking about the “rental.” This home was not for rent. It was for sale. The broker did some digging and found an advertisement on KSL listing her home for rent. The ad copied the description word for word from the listing posted on the MLS and other websites. It went on to give a contact number and name. Curious, she emailed the bogus “owner” to ask about it.
He replied with the following (get ready with the tissues, this is a real sob story):
“…Yes, the house is still available for rent… my wife and I must confess this is the first time of renting my house. However, due to the situation of my sick mother who was involved in a tragic accident, I have to move to Washington for her proper care with my mother. We will be staying in WA for at least 2 years more or less and that is why we have made up our minds to put up the house for rent to whomever that will take good care of it…” It goes on with one super long run on sentence that would make my ninth grade English teacher roll over in her grave.
He then follows up by attaching a rental application form where he asks how much the applicant could offer him right now to take the home off the market and secure the house to rent.
Generous that he would offer. Especially since this is NOT THIS DUDE’S HOME. I’m sure he would take cash, Venmo, certified funds or bank transfer. He would take it, and he would run. In fact, he did get one person to send over a $500 deposit. She was heartbroken when she found out the home was not for rent and now her deposit money for a real rental was gone.
When KSL was contacted to take the advertisement down, they didn’t respond for several days. They finally did take it down, but this guy has several others posted as well which have not been removed. This is not the first guy who has done this, and it will likely not be the last. In fact, in one of his other ads, he poses as a coordinator of the U.S. Missionary Organization. I would give him points for creativity except he got the name wrong (it is American Missionary Association) and it no longer exists. Not to mention, his spelling is atrocious, and he could use a lesson on syntax as well. He was requesting $1,825 to hold it; a couple of people send him that, and he’s essentially making a living at scamming.
Renter beware. If there is a for sale sign in the yard, it likely is not available to rent. Call the number on the sign to double check. If the professed “owner” of the property has a long, detailed series of unfortunate events, is currently on a naval ship liner at sea or is ministering to the lepers on an isolated Kalaupapa island, it is likely a scam. Don’t send money before seeing both the interior and exterior of the home or condo. If the “owner” can’t make that happen, you can bet that he or she is not the owner.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or [email protected]