This issue’s question has a wide variety of answers, so our panel of experts—Brad Shoults, co-owner of RE/MAX Southern Real Estate; and Jerry Sullivan, Monica Mares and Presley Sullivan of Century 21 Blue Marlin Real Estate—zeroed in on what they felt were specific issues they have experienced.
Shoults has been a licensed Real Estate Broker in Florida and Alabama for over 22 years and is a member of the RE/MAX Hall of Fame. Sullivan has been involved in commercial and residential real estate for over 14 years, including management, construction and ownership of a successful real estate company here on the Emerald Coast.
Beachcomber readers are encouraged to submit real estate questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
USING LOCAL PROFESSIONALS BRINGS PEACE OF MIND
By Brad Shoults, Broker/Owner
RE/MAX Southern Realty
A lot of times you’ll hear people reference a property management company as a PM. What that really stands for is peace of mind. When you book a vacation home or condo with a property management company, you have peace of mind that you’re working with a trusted agency.
First of all, you know it’s a registered business. You’re not transferring funds to an unknown Internet vendor, which means you avoid the potential for scams.
Plus, you’re clear on the details of the vacation rental. With an experienced property management company like Southern Rentals & Real Estate, you get to see detailed photos and even 3D virtual tours of the property, along with a complete description and a list of amenities and nearby attractions before you book.
Once you arrive at your vacation property, local agents are on call 24/7 to assist you. If you need a dinner recommendation, they can tell you the best places to go because it’s where they eat. If you want to know where the least crowded beaches are, they can point out the lesser-known strips of shoreline.
And, of course, if an issue arises, they are there to fix it. No matter the time of day, your vacation experience is their priority.
Another big benefit is that a property management company is often less expensive. They work directly with rental property owners, so they can provide the best rates without third party fees. Not only that, they typically offer deals for local attractions. For example, the Southern Perks program offers discounts on fishing charters, paddleboarding, parasailing, dining, shopping, golf—you name it, they likely have a discount for it.
With a property management company like Southern, it’s about more than taking a vacation—it’s about actually being able to relax.
AVOIDING VACATION SCAMS WITH INTERNET RENTALS
By Jerry Sullivan, Jordan Pehowic & Kim Moore, Century 21 Blue Marlin
Having been in the vacation rental business since 2009, we have seen our fair share of unfortunate scams. In today’s world, most vacations are planned by the vacationer with the help of the Internet to map out every stop, covering water sports to the best spots for Gulf fresh seafood.
Acting as the modern day travel planner, the Internet is home to enticing write-ups paired with gorgeous photos and customer reviews all explaining why this home is ideal for the perfect beach getaway. But all too often, the would-be vacationers aren’t greeted with the expected paradise they booked months in advance.
So how do you protect yourself?
1. Keep it local. Century 21 Blue Marlin recommends booking with a reputable, local company that has done its due diligence to curate a portfolio of vacation rentals that guarantee customer satisfaction.
2. Do your research. Don’t let the pretty Photoshopped images fool you. Check the company’s legitimacy with the local chamber of commerce or Better Business Bureau.
3. Speak to a representative. Is the listing or the email correspondence filled with broken English? Call and ask questions. The person on the other end of the line should be able to answer anything you ask or put you in contact with their supervisor for an answer.
4. Method of payment is important. Often times scammers request that you pay via money order or wire transfer—these are signs to run (don’t walk) in the other direction. Never give out your credit card information over email. Only use your credit card on a legitimate vacation rental website, and carefully read emails requesting payment. And never, ever send money overseas.5. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t sit well with you at any point in booking, pump the brakes. Remember, vacation is supposed to be relaxing before, during and after.
Century 21 Blue Marlin’s team can assist with finding the best homes, vacation homes and condos, as well as timeshares and rental properties available in the Destin real estate market and surrounding areas. Give us a call today at 850-837-7800 to book your next stay.