Rentals - From Where I Stand

Real Estate Agent with Van Blake-Coleman Realty 646289




Maybe it’s the heat.

I’m driving with the air conditioner on full blast and it’s not even noon. It’s a picture postcard day – sunny, not a cloud in the sky. The water is that unbelievable shade of turquoise and the foliage is really green. Cruise ships are in the harbor and the port of Charlotte Amalie is bustling with activity.

I’ve arrived at the hotel and picked up an eager new arrival.



Driving on the left, my passenger acknowledges, puts them a little on edge. It’s the turns that surprise. And then there are the really steep hills, the hidden driveways. With skill and nonchalance I back my vehicle into a gravel-laden parking spot, designated parking on the edge of what appears to be a cliff. My Sentricard grants us entry and the key works on the first try. This is our second stop and as we enter the apartment, with its spinning fans and AC pumping, it’s a relief. Nicely furnished and obviously awaiting our arrival, I’m sure this is the one.

Not so, she says. She’d like to see more.

In the Virgin Islands, obtaining a signed buyer agency agreement from a potential buyer or renter before showing properties is not the norm. Most renters asked to sign flee, saying they've contacted other agents, none of whom mentioned a buyer agency agreement.

Renters can skip from one agent to another on a whim. It’s a haphazard approach that wears agents down and causes renters to spin their wheels in search of the "perfect" property.

As a result, I've taken to having longer than customary “getting to know you” initial telephone chats with renters. When we meet, I show them one or two properties. Then I ask them to sign a buyer agency agreement. Some agree. Others simply disappear.

Days later, when I greet them by name on the waterfront, shock registers on their faces as if to ask, “who knows me here?”

New rule: If you call me and inquire about a rental, in addition to listening to your vacation schedule and aspirations, I promise to give you my sincerest effort, once we have a signed buyer agency agreement in place.

Searching the Multiple Listing Service, Craigslist, calling landlords, scheduling and previewing apartments is what responsible agents gladly do for clients. It’s impractical for customers (individuals who haven’t signed buyer agency agreements) to expect the same consideration.