Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Bad News

Although it's been awhile since I posted last (been busy, sorry), but, with the recent events happening this past month I felt I must say something.

FRAUDULENT TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING VACATION RENTALS ARE EPIDEMIC!

In the 5 years I have been renting vacation homes and condos I have received a handful of notices that others were trying to rent my home as their own. However, in the past week alone I have had 4 instances where people showed up at one of my homes saying they had rented it. Yet there was already a renter in the house that had previously rented my home - legitimately.

Due to the extreme level of supply and demand we experienced in March of this year, many desperate vacation travelers jumped at any opportunity to rent a home they found. Here's the thing... there were literally  NO legitimate homes available for these dates unless you had deep pockets (there were only homes available for $12,000 + per week). Those that did find homes at the last minute usually found themselves at the end of a "too good to be true" deal that went sour.

I've spoken about this before, but felt I must talk about it again due to the extreme nature of scams others have experienced this past week.

Please review my previous posts about how to protect yourself from fraudulent listings when attempting to book a vacation home or condo.

As always... caveat emptor!

Yours Truly,

Harry Johnson Jr.
Miami Beach Vacation Rental Homes Property Management
http://www.firsthomehelpers.com
786-548-2673


Monday, October 1, 2012

You Can't Be Too Careful!

Take a look at my previous post. I put out an offer for anyone that is considering renting in Miami Beach to contact me BEFORE you rent. Whether you are renting one of my homes, or even someone else's home that I do not manage.

Well, I just got a call from someone that did NOT contact me. And they learned the hard way that you MUST be careful when renting a vacation home.

Here are some details of what happened and how you can learn from this persons mistake:

  1. They inquired about a rental from Craigslist.
  2. While not all Craigslist ads are fraudulent (we advertise there as well), you do have to be very careful when choosing to rent from a Craigslist ad as this is pretty much the ONLY place where fraudulent posters post their ads
  3. The person that called me sent a payment via Western Union. NEVER MAKE A PAYMENT THROUGH WESTERN UNION. If the owner/manager does not have an alternate way of accepting payments you should strongly suspect that this listing is fraudulent.
  4. Talk to the owner/manager. If they sound foreign you should suspect this listing.
  5. Do a search on the Miami Dade Property Appraisers website for the owner name of the property you are considering renting. You should ask the property manager for the owners name and it should match what you find here: http://gisweb.miamidade.gov/PropertySearch/ . Also ask for the owners name and contact information from the property manager. Tell them you must verify this information prior to you sending any deposit money. If they hesitate you should too.
  6. Make sure you trust what your instinct is saying to you. Don't disregard it.
  7. Ask the property manager if they have this property listed somewhere else or are they only listing it on Craigslist. Most, if not all, property managers/owners that have vacation rentals always have listings elsewhere. Either homeaway.com, VRBO.com, FLIPKEY.com, etc. At the same time ask them how long this home has been used as a vacation rental. If they are just starting out then maybe they haven't had time to list on other sites. But if they say longer than 9 months and they are not on one of these websites, you should question the legitimacy of this rental.
These are just some of the things you should do to make sure you are getting a legitimate rental.

Again, do not hesitate to contact me if you need help either for any of my rentals or someone else's rental. I have helped many in the past without hesitation.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Use Me As a Vacation Rental Resource

Have you or are you considering renting a vacation home or condo in Miami Beach?

If so, whether you are renting mine or someone else's, contact me before you sign on the dotted line. I'll be able to help you determine if the condo or home you are renting is legitimate or not, if the price is fair, if it really is in Miami Beach, and a number of other things I can help you with to make sure the rental you are getting is the best one for your and your family/friends.

Why am I doing this? Because I'm hoping that by providing this service that you will consider my properties and my clients properties for sometime in the future when you decide to come back to Miami Beach again. By "giving first", being helpful (you can't be too careful when renting a home or condo, sight unseen, from a person you've never met before), and helping you make a great home or condo selection, I'm hoping to be repaid sometime in the future by your patronage, or, by simply referring a family member or friend to me looking to rent a home or condo in Miami Beach.

So either email me here: miamibeachvacationhome@gmail.com
Or call me here: 786-548-2673

Get in touch with me at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Properties Available in Miami Beach

So everyone always asks, "Do you have other properties available in Miami Beach?"

And of course the answer is.... YES.

Here is the list of properties we currently rent (and even more are available that are "pocket" listings - please ask separately about those).

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p185870
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p286748
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3009430
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p9990768
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p372196
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p398340
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3000250
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3530416

This is just a sampling of the properties we have.

We also have other 1 and 2 bedroom condo's located all over the Miami Beach area, from South Beach all the way to Canyon Ranch, the premier destination spot in all of Miami Beach.

Let me now what you're looking for... I'm sure to be able to provide it for you.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Miami Beach 2011

Labor Day is here... and the weather is just about perfect.
One thing to remember is the main streets will be PACKED with traffic...
While it might be nice to drive down Collins Ave "once", this will soon grow old if you feel like you're spending half your vacation time in traffic.
Here's how to do what the "locals" do to skirt traffic during these peak holiday seasons...
1. Understand that the Miami Beach streets are all gridded out in a North/South and East/West configuration. What this means for you is that if you want to go South to South Beach, the obvious way (to 99% of the cars) is to go down Collins Ave. But if you simply take another North/South direction street just a couple of blocks over, you'll have the road absolutely to yourself, and then when you want to "cut over" the couple of blocks back to the beach, or wherever you want to go, you'll do it without having to fuss with traffic.
There are a number of streets that will take you North/South just a couple of blocks from Collins. Here are several:
a. Pinetree Drive
b. Sheridan Ave
c. Prairie Ave
d. Meridian Ave
These streets will take you where you want to go lickety split, and you'll spend the majority of your time enjoying the beach and NOT stressing over traffic.
2. One thing to remember when parking in South Beach is to NOT park in residential zones. You'll see these clearly marked with signs on every street. You need a resident parking sticker to park here and if you attempt it I PROMISE you will be towed.
Miami Beach towing is NOTORIOUS for roaming the streets for unsuspecting tourists parking in these areas because street parking is very hard to find.
WHAT'S THE ANSWER?
FIND A PARKING GARAGE!
Miami Beach has TONS of them... they're just a little hard to find is all... But if you have a GPS simply type in PARKING GARAGE and you'll see they are everywhere.
AND GET THIS... THEY'E CHEAP! Only $1/hour, the same rates as on the street.
I hope this helped...
Enjoy your stay!
Harry
p.s. If you're looking for future rentals, feel free to get in touch with my assistant at 786-543-0015, she'll let you know if we have anything available.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heat? What heat...

What does Miami Beach conjure up when you think HOT?
  • Is it the Miami Heat basketball team? (who almost won it all until Lebron James fell asleep)
  • Is it the HOT water at the beach (which is so warm right now it feels like a bathtub...)
  • Is it the HOT nightclubs people from all over the world come to frolic and enjoy in?
  • Is it the HOT restaurants that are world-reknowned and have won numerous awards?
  • Is it the HOT latinos that have so infused this city with their dynamic mix of "alegria" and zest?
  • Is it the HOT people you see walking around seemingly everywhere you go in Miami Beach?
  • Is it the HOT properties that are vintage Art Deco with their splashing colors and dynamic style?
  • Is it simply that Miami Beach has epitomized "HOT" for decades now... going back to the throwback years of Jackie Gleason in his heyday when he and his cronies would come here to have a great time.
Miami Beach right now is one of the HOTTEST places you can travel to right now. The city has gone ALL OUT to make it an unforgettable experience for you. From the multi-million dollar renovation of South Pointe Park, to the unforgettable experience of walking in Lummus Park right next to Ocean Drive... you name it and Miami Beach has it.
When you're ready to come and experience our HEAT... and you want to stay in affordable luxury that is a cut above your typical hotel room experience... then give me a call. We have several homes that will exceed your expectations while keeping your budget in check.
Hope to see you soon!
Harry Johnson Jr. 786-382-7757

Monday, June 28, 2010

In my attempt to help others about rental scams (from my post below), I've been told that now I, have become suspect as well... Sheesh!

I gave you all the tools in order to find out if the owner you're renting from actually is the owner (see a previous post below). But some people need a little more "hand-holding" I guess... ;-)

So, in order to verify my properties are actually my properties do the following:

1. Go to: http://gisims2.miamidade.gov/myhome/propmap.asp (this is the Miami Dade Property Appraisers Website).
2. On the upper left hand side you'll see a "Search By:" box. You can either search by my name, Harry Johnson (my full name is Harry J. Johnson Jr - so look for those entries - one is without my middle initial), or the property addresses. 4491 Prairie Ave, and 4532 Sheridan Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140.
3. That's it!

Happy?
Feel more secure? lol...
You should..

NOW GIVE ME A CALL SO YOU CAN RENT OUT ONE OF THESE FABULOUS PLACES!

Harry 786-382-7757