Apartment Search: Make Sure the Realtor Is a True Realtor

I moved on my own many times and sometimes I faced very weird situations. I would like to tell you one of my stories, when here, in the Czech Republic, I dealt with a fake real estate agent. How did that happen?

As my colleague at Foreigners, I have lived in different countries, too. I used to live in Germany, when I was a teenager, after graduating school I moved to the Czech Republic. Now I am living in Prague, but I also used to live in Poděbrady (a town pretty near to Prague) and Olomouc, where I was studying at Palacký University. And a few years ago, I also participated in the Erasmus program so I could spend one semester in the United Kingdom. This means that I used to live in 10 different apartments, and know very well what the moving process means. 

It Was Tougher without Social Media

Since the beginning of my relocation journey, I was struggling with the websites, where I could look for an apartment. Needed to say that it was seven years ago when social media wasn’t such a powerful tool as it is now. But we are lucky right now that we can find any information very quickly and easily.  However, it is necessary to pay attention to what kind of information you find, you should have confidence in the source and the author. On Facebook nowadays, there is plenty of advertising, where people themselves and real estate companies present their accommodation offers. So if you want to feel safe and be sure you are dealing with a trustworthy business with a solid background of clients and reliable services, you can go for Foreigners, for example.

When moving, one may face unexpected situations

Fake Real Estate Agent

I had a lot of different problems with searching for an apartment in Prague. But the worst part was when I found an advertisement, in which one Ukrainian woman was promoting an apartment for rent. First, it was totally cool. I was feeling comfortable that we could speak Russian to each other, as I am from Russia. So I called her and asked for an appointment as I wanted to see the apartment, obviously. 

First, she canceled the appointment a couple of times, but she was super nice, always told me she will let the owner know that I am a great customer and she has to choose me. It sounded weird because we didn’t know each other. But I didn’t pay attention to it at that moment and didn’t understand it.

Finally, when the day of the meeting came, another woman arrived; not the one I had been previously in touch with so I was surprised as nobody said that to me. She showed me the apartment and the owner was also there. I liked the apartment, but it was the only one on my list where I had to pay the realtor. Consequently, I said this to the owner in Czech, and the realtor was shocked as she didn’t expect me to speak fluent Czech. Meanwhile, the owner of the flat told me: “Paying to the realtor, what realtor? Isn’t she your aunt?”

Choose your real estate agent carefully!

How Did It End?

The story behind this fraud was that the Ukrainian woman found an advertisement on bezrealitky.cz, and said that she was looking for an apartment for her niece. Therefore, they don’t have any official company. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one, who they tried to trick. They got money from people and didn’t pay taxes. The owner of the flat gave me her number so we could arrange another appointment just for the two of us. But that wasn’t all, the “realtor” started to fight with me to extort money from me, saying that she found the flat, so I have to pay her. She didn’t even realize that they were doing something illegal. Luckily, I am not a shy kind of person and knew what to answer to this impudent woman, and thank God, I didn’t give my money to her.

Learn from My Mistake 

What did I want to say in this story? Yes, of course, it is very important to check so many things when you are moving to a new place, such as your contract, payments for utilities, and many others. But it is also necessary to be sure that you deal with professionals. That’s why we at Foreigners are here for you, to help you find a great place to live. We will provide you a complex service of relocation.

We are open even now during the coronavirus pandemic since the real estate agents are exempt from the current restriction as an essential business – therefore visits to the apartments are possible, of course in a face mask and for the necessary time only or we can do video tours for you. Just choose your dream apartment and let us know about it!

Source of photo: unsplash.com

Yulia Ivanova

"As I am also an expat in the Czech Republic so I know and understand well how hard it is to adapt to a new environment. Therefore, I am here for you to share my experience, and I do my best to help you.

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