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Practical Tips for Renters Amid America's Escalating Housing Crisis and Scams

The real estate agent who focuses on multifamily housing suggests looking beyond sites like Zillow or for rent.
Cover Image Source: Real estate agent offers Zillow alternatives | ironbones | TikTok
Cover Image Source: Real estate agent offers Zillow alternatives | ironbones | TikTok

America's rent crisis is getting worse by the day. Between 2001 and 2020, the median rent grew by more than 21%. The rent crisis is proving to be catastrophic for households with income less than $45,000, as per The New Republic. It comes as no shock then that people are constantly looking for a place that fits their budget. TikTok user Lowell, known on the platform as @ironbones, has gone viral after giving users advice on how to do just that.

In the video, Lowell says he is a real estate agent who focuses on multifamily housing and suggests looking beyond sites like Zillow or for rent. "That’s going to be where you’ll find all of the corporate-owned apartment complexes," he says. "Usually what they’ve done is either they built it themselves, so their costs are already high, or they purchased it from someone else, so their costs are high, and rents are going to be much higher because they’re trying to make their investment back."

ironbones | TikTok
ironbones | TikTok

Instead, Lowell offers three alternative platforms for those looking to rent a place. For starters, he asked people to take a look at the newspaper classifieds. He also suggests his viewers to get a list of available rentals from their local Chamber of Commerce and the last place that Lowell recommended was Craigslist though he urged people to be wary of scams on the platform. He says that all these options are better because home seekers will be able to meet a real person rather than a major corporation.

"Those are going to be you dealing with a person who usually inherited a house, they’re renting it out, or someone renting out like a spare bedroom, so it’ll be a little bit cheaper when you’re dealing with a real person," he adds.

In another follow-up video, Lowell then talks about how he missed the Facebook Marketplace which he says is another fantastic place to find places to rent that are "cheaper than a corporate-owned housing complex."

Professor Slappy | TikTok
Professor Slappy | TikTok

As mentioned earlier, Lowell again asked everybody to watch out for scams. The main thing to remember is not to pay an application fee, especially if you haven’t seen the property in person. "Usually that’s the scam," he says. "Some people were asking about how to make sure that the owner owns the property…There are a lot of ways you can do it. They’re all more or less labor-intensive," he continues. "The best way is, if the person can let you in and show you the property, likely they own it. Most scammers don’t go to that level."

IamSquizzy |  TikTok
IamSquizzy | TikTok

Many took to his videos to thank him for the tips and recommendations, with one user writing, "You won my respect when you gave the bjs for rent advice, a+ sir." Another user wrote, "I mean, sometimes in this economy you gotta do what you gotta do."

Others talked about how the suggested platform worked for them, with user @fire_on_raves, saying "Craigslist is where I found an 800 guest house."

For more such content, you can follow @ironbones on TikTok.