MLIVE/Grand Rapids Press FULL ARTICLE:
For landlords, Grand Rapids is the nation’s best market for doing business, according to a survey by All Property Management , a Seattle-based online network of property management services. It’s the second year in a row where Grand Rapids has scored the highest among 75 metropolitan areas surveyed by APM.
“Grand Rapids remained the top score in the country due to its strong jobs growth, strong rental prices and continued escalation in home prices,” according to the survey, which ranked the markets by six factors.
The top ranking was no surprise to Russ VandenToorn, owner of United Properties. His Grand Rapids firm manages some 350 rental properties for properties owners from nine different countries.
VandenToorn said the growth of the health care industry on the “Medical Mile” and the area’s growing college student population is driving the popularity of the market. “If it wasn’t for the Medical Mile, our industry would not be what it is in Grand Rapids today,” he said…
Be wary when a rental listing looks too good to be true, it probably is. A scam has been actively circulating in which legitimate “for lease” or “for sale” listings are hijacked, then re-listed with fraudulent contact information and a very low asking price.
Here’s an example of a currently hijacked listing. It was listed yesterday (12/18/13) for $750/month, which is considerably below market rate. LifeCycle contacted the actual listing agent and confirmed the listing has been used without permission. In these cases, perpetrators take advantage of the urgency of prospective lessees. Someone meets you at the home, makes up a story about why they can’t let you in (keybox isnt working), collects a security deposit, then the consumer never sees them again.
In this case, all of the photos used have a “SWMRIC” stamp, which means they were taken from a listing posted on the web site of the local Real Estate association. A legitimate rental listing would commonly use original photos and wouldn’t have this stamp (although circumstances do exist in which this could automatically happen for a legitimate listing).
This is a common scam that has been going on for a long time, and it is hard for authorities to stop. If you have any questions about a listing that is too good to be true, contact a professional real estate agent or property manager for verification. Ask for identification from the lessor, and verify the info provided is correct.
When this kind of scam is discovered, complaints should be filed with Michigan’s Attorney General.