YOU SAY YOU'RE MOVING WHERE?
Like crumpled bills in the bottom of a washing machine, commissions from residential rentals are like found money. Often the delayed result of a flurry of activity, with an agent's time and energy long ago expended, the extra cash is never unwelcome.
While most real estate agents would rather the commission a real estate sale brings, many of us will service rental customers with steadfast, if not eager, professionalism.
Sure a buyer would be nice. But a renter beats a blank.
Here in the Virgin Islands - St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John - rental customers contact us and they haven't even landed yet. This is where the fun begins.
As we know, real estate is a relationship business.
Potential renters are often stateside, in the airport, on their way to St. Thomas and want to be shown five or six rental properties they've seen on a realty search engine. They're moving, with their black Labrador Retriever, and want a safe, furnished one bedroom cottage on the beach for $800, with utilities included. Sure the listings they've found are priced at more than $800. Do I think the landlord will take less?
"Luckily" they've chanced upon my name.
We know where they're coming from. The sun, sand, sea and rhythms of the Caribbean are the siren's song. It's the "I'm done with life here" scenario that brought so many of us to the Virgin Islands in the first place. One Jimmy Buffett song and three Margaritas too many and the plan is hatched.
Would it hurt to do a little research first? Utilities are extremely expensive here. Add air conditioning to the mix and you're looking at an electric bill in excess of $200 a month. And while their fur baby enjoyed the role of a treasured member of their stateside inner circle, Virgin Islands landlords are overwhelmingly opposed to pet occupancy - especially dogs.
It's my pleasure, so I'll do my best to search for the 2 in 10 properties that may have utilities included and will consider a pet on a case-by-case basis. That being said, my time is being expended as I consider, then rule out, one after the other listing in (and outside of) the price range, that's furnished and "on the beach."
TO BE CONTINUED ...