PHOENIX - As if finding a place to live isn't stressful enough, if you're a renter, it can make you a target for thieves.
So before you set your sights on any rental homes, make sure you do your homework first.
Check the Maricopa County Assessor website to find out who has rights to the home.
Cross reference the names associated with the house, with the person you are communicating with and ask lots of questions.
And while you're on the internet do a quick Google search for the landlord's name to see what pops up.
Have a chat with the neighbors. The nosier the better. Chances are they have the low down on the history of the house and its owners. Is there a lot of turn over? Why aren't tenants staying there?
Meet the potential landlord in person at the property. Have them let you in and give you a tour of the home.
If they can't do that, it's not the property for you.
Remember once you've given cash away, it's gone. So don't pay with it. Try to pay any deposits or first month's rent by check.
That allows you time to cancel if something is not right with the deal.