Property scams

How to spot and avoid property scams in Valencia



So, you’ve decided to make Valencia your home. Good choice! There are plenty of attractive housing options out there, but which ones are real? Below, we look at some common signs of online property scams.

1. Too good to be true

A common scam involves luring would-be renters or buyers with attractive offers, such as extremely low prices for the neighbourhood. Photographs may also be copied from property in other cities, or outdated property adverts. If you’re not sure, you can use Google’s image search to check if the property has appeared elsewhere on the internet.


2. My uncle has an apartment

Friends and family may genuinely have a contact with an available flat, room or house, but if a stranger tells you that “my uncle/landlord/dog has an apartment for rent” it’s probably a scam. If they tell you to contact an email address with a different name, can’t provide many details or take a long time to answer, it’s almost certainly a scam.


3. Suspicious profiles

Facebook in particular is full of fake profiles, and the social network has done little to solve the issue, with some accounts remaining active for years. How do you spot a fake? Scammers often use pictures that they believe look “professional”, with a suited man or woman sitting behind a desk. Badly taken photos where an individual’s face is partially cut out of their own profile picture are another indicator. Sometimes, the scammer forgets to change all of their images, so that some photographs display the fake persona, while older images reveal the scammer themselves. 


4. Poor reading skills

While there are sophisticated scams all over the world, most common examples are low-effort, and scammers often fail to read your advert properly, instead sending out thousands of messages a day. If you’ve posted on social media to look for an apartment, you may receive messages from scammers who clearly haven’t read your initial post. Typically, they will ask you what you’re looking for, where you want to live, what your budget is, etc., despite the information being clearly visible in your advert.


5. Fake agencies

In Spain, estate agencies are poorly-regulated. Many property adverts purport to be posted by an agent, but include grainy photos, email addresses that don’t appear to function or outdated websites. While some of these agencies may just be rather amateurish, others are potential scammers. 

In particular, there are a number of “Erasmus” organisations that claim to help students find accommodation. Despite reports of missing deposits, misleading adverts or forged contracts, these businesses continue to function. If you’re a student looking for accommodation in Valencia, be wary of any group that includes “Erasmus” in the business name. A common tactic is to contact users directly through Facebook with profiles containing the name of the organisation, often using fake images to create the illusion that a different person is working for the company. 


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Our guides are written by a passionate team of writers living in the Valencia region. 

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