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6 Tips for Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation RentalThe Internet has made planning vacations a breeze. But along with the ease of booking travel and accommodation on the web, we've also seen a rise in the incidence of vacation scams. 

It's all too easy to be fooled into thinking that a great bargain for a beautiful vacation property you're trying to rent is for real, when in fact, you've been had by scammers who have taken your money and run with it.

Here are 6 tips that can help you avoid vacation rental scams while you're booking your dream vacation.

Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

  1. Too Good to be True?
    You know the old truism: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers try to reel you in with deeply discounted vacation rentals. All too often, these properties do not exist, or if they do, they belong to someone else. Be sure to check pricing on similar rental properties in the same location to see if the price is realistic.

  2. Does the Property Really Exist?
    As mentioned earlier, it's possible the property doesn't even exist. The scammer may have grabbed a picture from another website or is using an address from another property. You can try to verify that the property exists with a couple of Google searches.

  3. Research the Owner
    Research the owner's name, address of the property, and images. Check out the owner of the rental website, as well as the individual who pays property taxes. Beware if you are asked to pay rent in full by wire transfer.

  4. Pay Attention to the URL
    Scammers want you to move from the vacation rental website's communication system to a fake website. Check the URL. 

  5. Use a Credit Card
    Scammers commonly ask for payment by Western Union, cash, check, or wire transfer before arrival. This is a great way to lose your money, without the possibility of recovery. A wire transfer allows the scammer to move funds to another bank account, close the first one, and take your money and run.

  6. Rent a Property with a Traceable History
    Best bet: rent from someone you know, or go by recommendation from a trusted source. Renting from professional management companies that specialize in vacation apartments and/or cottages is another good bet. Looking for a short-term rental on Florida's Gulf Coast? That's our specialty! We believe planning a vacation should be a breeze, that's why our team is here to help you find a short-term or long-term rental perfect for your family! We've been a top choice for Gulf Coast house and condo rentals for years.

Our experienced team is here to help with your vacation planning! With 8 offices, our team has plenty of Florida properties to choose from for your vacation. Plus, our Anna Maria Island office has been open for over 80 years! 

Or if you're looking to move here permanently, our team can show you Bradenton and Sarasota homes for saleContact us today to book your trip in the Florida sunshine.


Wagner Realty Makes Dream of Homeownership Come True for Veterans and Their Families


The Nichols Family

Brad Nichols was on his fourth tour of active duty in Afghanistan when he was wounded. On his return to the States, Brad and his wife Heather talked about a lifelong dream: to own their own home. They wanted an oasis for their four children, ages 11 to 17. At the time, they were renting in Lakewood Ranch and owning their own home seemed to be a reach – then they met Tammy Pogar of Wagner Realty. "Meeting Tammy was life changing for us," notes Heather, adding "Tammy had the real estate knowledge and expertise we were looking for and we immediately "clicked".

Wagner Realty's is a member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, which developed the U.S. Military on the Move® (MOM) program.  The MOM Program offers cash rewards, closing cost credits and other real estate related services for active duty, retired (20 years of service) military or wounded warriors, when they buy or sell a home.  "The Military On The Move Program is very special to me, since both my son and my little brother are in the military" notes Tammy adding "being a military mom and sister makes me especially appreciative of our veterans and the sacrifices they make serving our country."

"Wagner Realty has more than 30 agents who have completed the MOM Program's comprehensive training, designed to help them better serve the specific needs of those who serve our country," notes Carla Ross, Wagner Realty's Relocation Director. "Our agents understand the process and hurdles military members face during transition and know how to help smooth the process."

"Brad and Heather never thought they'd be able to own their own home," said Tammy, "but with a wonderful combination of our U.S. Military on the Move® program, supportive sellers and a wonderful selling agent, we were able to make the Nichols family's dream of home ownership come true. The MOM program gave them cash back at closing to help them afford essentials, and the sellers paid their first year's HOA fees. The other agent and I helped with closing costs." The Nichols family is now happily settled into their Palmetto home.

If you or someone you know is interested in the U.S. Military on the Move Program, please contact Carla Ross, Wagner Realty Relocation Director. Carla can be reached by calling 941.727.2800 or by email at



Longboat Key voted Top 10 Island in the USA

5 Reasons to Make Longboat Key Your Home

Longboat Key Florida Buy a House

Imagine waking up each morning with an important decision--Will you spend the day lounging on the shore searching for sand dollars or shopping in luxury boutiques?  When you move to Longboat Key, FL this can be your reality.

Longboat Key FL was named among the top 10 islands in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler. For those who live here, this comes as no surprise.  It is the perfect place for a tropical holiday or to live as a castaway year round. This quiet island community has something for everyone. We put our heads together at Wagner Realty and created this checklist of reasons why you should consider Longboat Key for your new home.

  1. Golf on the Water
    If you want to live near a golf course, or even on it, you can here, but what makes Longboat Key even better for golf enthusiasts is the fact that you can enjoy golf on the ocean. Longboat Key is home to the Islandside Golf Club and the Harbourside Golf Course, both of which offer golf within view of the water.

  2. Luxury Shopping and Dining at St. Armand's Circle
    Longboat Key is also known for its luxury shopping and dining options. Dine on fresh seafood at the Chart House, or enjoy international cuisine at Euphemia Haye Restaurant. Enjoy the pizza at Portfino or Fire & Stone, and get some down-home cooking at the Longbeach Cafe. For an upscale dining experience, head to Maison Blanche. When you're ready to shop, the retailers at St. Armand's Circle await.

  3. Unspoiled Beaches
    One of the things that sets Longboat Key FL apart from some of the other Florida Keys is its natural side. Longboat Key has been developed so that beach access is not very pronounced. This means that many of the beaches are hidden from view, making them less crowded and less developed. The Quick Point Nature Preserve on the southeast corner is an example of this. Those who purchase homes in Longboat Key can enjoy the feeling of living on a deserted island by finding one of these hidden gems.

  4. Excellent Amenities for Residents
    Even though the island is small, it has all of the amenities residents need for comfort. A dental office and cardiology center are located directly on the island, and hospitals in nearby Bradenton and Sarasota provide for residents' healthcare needs. A full-service police and fire-rescue department serves the city, and the Joan M. Durante Community Park, with its boardwalks and scenic views, is a popular place for recreation when residents aren't enjoying the miles of beaches.

  5. Laid-Back Island Living at its Finest
    Finally, many people consider relocating to Longboat Key because it perfectly captures the island living vibe. Many of the year-round residents are retirees who love the golf course, tennis club and resort-inspired lifestyle. The island has an elegant and refined personality seen in everything from its housing options to its shopping and dining experiences, yet continues to maintain the laid-back atmosphere that people want from life on an island.

If you're considering making the move to this quiet island, contact our team of local REALTORS® in Longboat Key. Our team knows the area well and will help you find the ideal home. Contact Wagner Realty today to get started on your home search.


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