resetting my brain in Vermont
September 18, 2020 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Thinking about taking a sublet in Burlington, Vermont for October. The best options seem to be on Craigslist, which of course sets off alarm bells. I'm currently in California and will have to secure the sublet before I arrive. Any ideas on how I can make sure these places aren't scams?

Airbnb is probably a safer option, but I'm having trouble finding suitable places there. And heck, I'm open to other midsized cities in New England, if you have recommendations. Requirements: a little bit of charm, a walkable neighborhood with car rental options, wifi, and that the whole state isn't on fire.
posted by roger ackroyd to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
FYI: you might have to quarantine when you get to Vermont.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's a helpful reminder. Even if I have to stay indoors for 14 days, it might be worth it just to see some different walls.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2020

I think you could ask someone to give you a video tour of the apartment, and you should have a reasonably good chance of telling if it's legit (the vast majority of scammers wouldn't be able to give you a tour at all, since they've probably just copied someone else's listing). You might also try looking on Trusted Housesitters, though there aren't that many listings now because of the pandemic. You could also try posting in Craigslist's housing swap section if you're willing to let someone stay in your place.
posted by pinochiette at 10:23 AM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

Honestly after spending a week or so browsing Craigslist regularly for the area you’re interested in, you’ll probably be able to identify scams pretty easily. Most of them aren’t subtle. Red flags are a too-good-to-be true price, photos that look like a real estate website, marketing-speak in the description, and asking you to contact them via email then sending a form-letter reply asking you for a bunch of personal information. Oh and the classic “I’m not in the country right now due to a family emergency, but if you send me the rent via Western Union I will FedEx you the keys.”

Since you’re looking for sublets, look for one that seems like a real person subletting rather than some management company offering furnished short-term stays in a luxury apartment — those are more likely to be scams.
posted by mekily at 10:36 AM on September 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Wish I could help with a site visit, but unfortunately that's not possible right now. I do see using the google earth KML file that there are 3-4 MeFites in the general Burlington, VT area. Maybe reach out to one of them?

I don't use Craigslist often, but I have had much better experiences with them here in Vermont than elsewhere.

And you will need to quarantine.
posted by terrapin at 11:23 AM on September 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm in Burlington. Message me if I can help - I don't have a ton of time but will try to help if I can.
posted by papayaninja at 6:47 PM on September 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

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