Woman Puts Home On Market, Scammers Put Listing On Craigslist

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The number of home sales nationwide this year has gone up. The Alabama Center for Real Estate documented 469 home sales in Huntsville so far in 2013. Some might find the numbers encouraging. One Huntsville homeowner believes Huntsville could become a scammer’s market.’ WHNT News 19 explains how the woman’s realtor is competing with Craigslist.

Leslye Stern got married in May. She no longer wants the house she’s had since 2011. She and a realtor put the Crab Apple Road home on a website shared by realtor to sell properties.

The 1600 square foot home spent three weeks on the site before Leslye’s realtor called.

“She was asked, did you send any emails out saying you are renting your house and you have it on Craigslist. I said no. She said well, that`s a scam,” said Stern.

The realtor told Leslye the home was now listed on Craigslist and the $155,000 selling price was down to a $700 rental fee.

Both were confused. Neither thought much until unexpected visitors showed up a week ago.

“I always lock the door. For some crazy reason, I didn`t. They just came into my house. I was like, hello and they said yes, we are here to see about renting this house,” added Stern.

The newlywed felt violated.

“It created an instant lock down. I took in my lock box that night just in case someone might have had a key or something. All my blinds were shut. It creates a sense of who`s watching me,” added Stern.

Stern is a smart woman. She listened to her gut.

“A lot of times in these types of scams, what`s being advertised is pretty unrealistic,” said Belinda McCormick.

McCormick, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama, urges home buyers to call any realtor or use any realty app to validate selling information.

WHNT News 19 asked, “So, the bottom line, if a home is listed for sale on Craigslist, don’t buy it?”

“I would question it. I would ask more questions, added McCormick.

The Huntsville Area Association of Realtors suggests home-buyers:

  • You deal with a local realtor. You can verify an agent is licensed in the state of Alabama by clicking here.
  • You file a complaint if you have been a victim of an Internet crime. You can by clicking here.
  • You notify your agent immediately if your listing is appearing on any unauthorized sites.