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beware Southern Shores Realty

Northern VA
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beware Southern Shores Realty

If you have a problem with your rental property, Southern Shores Realty (SSR) will do their best to ignore/lie to you in order to keep your money. A group of us stayed at one of their houses in Southern Shores last summer. We had at least two live mice sightings and found huge amounts of mouse droppings in a downstairs closet. We asked to be relocated and our money refunded not the least because we had two newborns in our group.

SSR did its best to ignore us. We decided to change houses on our own. SSR managers were suddenly unavailable and it took two visits to their office before a request for compensation form was given to us. SSR claimed that no mouse droppings were found by their professional despite photographic evidence that we had taken.

To keep things short, we were able to get our money back after we brought a lawyer in. We believe they stalled, denied, and lied in hopes that we would just go away, but when an actual lawyer entered the picture, they knew they would lose.

Tim

Edwards, Colorado
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1 post
36 reviews
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1. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

We also had a negative experience renting from Southern Shores Realty. Spiders invaded the exterior and interior of our rental home, with at least one spider a day crawling on the unwary who sat on sofas near the windows. Southern Shores Realty promised an exterminator.

Our Southern Shores Realty rental home description listed "crib, port-a-crib, high chair, playpen" and came with a wooden high chair and a square playpen. Of course there was no crib or port-a-crib in the house. We called Southern Shores Realty and the first lady who answered was downright defiant (and obviously not a parent) -- she claimed that a port-a-crib is the same thing as a playpen. A second call to another person at Southern Shores resulted in the eventual delivery of a pack-n-play. If Costco and Walmart can tell the difference between a portacrib and a pack-n-play, why can't Southern Shores Realty?

Miami, Florida
2 posts
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2. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

Southern Shores Realty definitely attempts to ignore and/or deny any wrong doing with complaints. We have been renting homes for over 25 years and this was the first time I complained about a subpar house first week of AUGUST), complete with ants and pee stained carpets. I dutifully filled out the Request for Compensation form, waited patiently for THREE WEEKs and then discovered that they had to send the report to the owners for their review(no where on the form did it indicate this was the process). I have now called three times and have been "put off" that they are waiting to hear from the owner. Tap dancing is their best talent, not customer service! I will never again recommend SSR to anyone!

Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
121 reviews
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3. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

Actually a rental company is an agent for the owner of the home. You are renting from the agent who sends the money to the owner minus a commission which the agent also uses to pay to have it cleaned each week which cuts the amount a bit more that the rental company actually gets.

When someone asks for a refund they are asking the owner to refund money, not the rental company. The money belongs to the owner and it is up to the owner if they want to give a discount, if they want to refund money or if they want to have repairs made. It is the owners home and the rental company is their agent who deals with the renters and that is how they earn their commission.

When you ask for money the agent has to contact the owners who say yes or no. The rental company can persuade as best they can but sometimes owners say no. Most owners are not making a positive cash flow each year owning these homes and with the economy down many are just getting by which makes it hard to get them to "do the right thing" sometimes.

The rental company wants your business and they rarely want to see renters move to another company to rent from so they will do all they can, but you can't expect them to pay out $1000 if they only got $150 in commissions, they just can't.

Miami, Florida
2 posts
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4. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

According to your line of reasoning, is the owner the customer or is the renter? In this economy the renter needs to be assured their money is well spent and the "agent" is keeping thier part of the agreement,regardless of their commission. Frankly, SSR is making money on the "downpayments" required 10 months in advance of bookings in addition to their commissions(which I assume you are aware of ). Ignoring complaints does not translate to customer service, period.

Edited: 26 September 2010, 03:40
Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
121 reviews
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5. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

Owner = the person who owns the house

renter = you

customer = I have no idea since I did not use that word

I am not defending SSR nor do I intend for it to sound like I am. A rental company should return your calls even if it is to tell you no. Often the only thing they could tell you is that they don't have any information to tell you and I think that the people just don't want to say that.

I return and call a lot of people that are here on vacation. Often we try to call the rental house and it just amazes me how often the renters won't answer that phone even if right next to it - why is that? Other times all I get is their cell phone answering recording and some may not wish to leave a message.

I can say that calling any rental office on Sat or Sun is going to be the hardest day to speak to a human.

Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
Level Contributor
2,686 posts
121 reviews
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6. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

Miamisue62 wrote: " In this economy the renter needs to be assured their money is well spent and the "agent" is keeping thier part of the agreement,regardless of their commission. Frankly, SSR is making money on the "downpayments" required 10 months in advance of bookings in addition to their commissions(which I assume you are aware of ). "

Let me address this issue for you and anyone else who is interested.

The rental companies all have to abide by laws in NC when doing vacation rentals. We are required by law to do many things and accounting for deposits is a biggie that will get you in in major trouble and can put you out of business real quick. Surprise audits are not uncommon and you better have the mountain of paperwork ready and done correctly, and it is not simple or easy!

You seem to think that rental companies keep the money you send them 10 mo early. This could not be farther from the truth. It is not the rental companies money it belongs to the owner of the house and the rental company keeps their commission and sends the rest (approx 80+% ) to them within weeks of getting it from you. So we don't have it, the owner does and this is why we have to contact them to get refunds.

What money we do keep goes into escrow accounts and unless your bank is a lot more generous than ours we get a whopping 1% per year. The cost of the stamp and envelope and the book keepers fee is lots more than the interest we make on that money.

Philadelphia
8 posts
1 review
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7. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

My family had a similiar experience this summer. Rented through Twiddy and Co a home called LIVNJULES. The home was a complete disaster inside and out. Covered in bugs, broken outdoor furniture, can't count the broken items inside. Twiddy did respond and send crews out to fix certain issues after we complained. Pool service told us pool and hot tub were not serviced properly for sometime, so bad they they could have made us sick if we had used them the way they were. Landscape crew stated that they had been in touch with the owners many times over the period of a couple of years and they were not willing to take care of the landscape issues. Twiddy's crew that worked on the outside bug issue for us reported to us that the house had not been maintained for many years. Twiddy did do the best they could to make our $6,000 rental livable for that week. It is what happened on checkout day that shocked me. When we went to drop off the key and thank them for doing the best they could we were told that we had caused too many problems and we were not welcomed to rent with Twiddy any longer(after 6 years renting with them and no previous complaints). We walked away upset but quietly. Going home and posting one small bad review on TA. Well the following is the response from the Twiddy Family.

To the JR Family,

After your family travelled to the Duck office at 6:30pm to report your dissatisfaction with the initial impression of the vacation home, I personally inspected the home.

I attempted in earnest to address your concerns.

Below is a link to the picture that was taken at the time of my visit highlighting the cleaning of the kitchen, in particular the stove top that was allegedly “unsuitable to cook on.”

http://grab.by/6Cia

Next is a link to a picture of the exterior deck that the leaseholder pointed out and described as “disgusting.”

http://grab.by/6Clj

Next is a link to a picture of the exterior pointed out and described as “trashed.”

http://grab.by/6Clm

After reviewing the home with the guests, the leaseholder followed me outside. Below is a link detailing our short conversation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd4GjoMpvdA

In regard to the cleaning, we have a video of the cleaner on check out day. The cleaner was tipped $30 and told “the cleaning was great.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkqc-i5wVUg

On the day of check out this guest told me at the front porch, “everything I said would come true did and they really appreciated the efforts of Twiddy. They also said would like to pre-reserve next year at the same house and use Twiddy again.”

Twiddy takes our hospitality seriously. The company does make mistakes, but we try our hardest to correct them. We apologize that the J.R. Family did not enjoy their vacation this summer and we wish them the best in their future endeavors.

Here’s the home, which has received raves reviews this past summer.

twiddy.com/homes/…liv-n-jules.aspx

Sincerely Apologetic,

Ross Twiddy

Director of Marketing

This positing is complete with video posted on youtube of my angry husband on the day we arrived that was taken without his consent.

We have spent 11 years visiting OBX and have NEVER had something like this happen to us. Not only will we not be renting through Twiddy we will not be returning to OBX for our family vacation again as Twiddy has ruined our trust in the realitors in OBX.

Laurel, MD
Level Contributor
44 posts
29 reviews
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8. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

We have rented houses in the Outer Banks and also other destinations - Deep Creek Lake MD, Myrtle Beach, Colorado mountains, etc. By far the standards of Outer Banks companies are the lowest I've ever seen. Almost every house is dirty in some way - baseboards not cleaned, lamps not dusted, etc. Kitchens are generally horrible with really old stuff. I'm unsure if it's because there are so many absentee investors or just that "country folks" don't expect clean quality houses.

I think you have to rent their expecting broken things and houses in disrepair. If you like the location enough maybe it's worth it.

Lambertville, New...
Level Contributor
44 posts
36 reviews
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9. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

we rented from them for over fourteen years. this last time, there was a big problem on both sides and they refused to help us out with any type of financial accomodation. so, we rented another property from them at full price and made reservations at twiddy for next year. i have to think that the officers of southern shores had properties that they themselves owned and would have been able to help us out a little. ultimately, they took the position that they are not at ALL responsible for any mistakes that may or may not have occured.

they don't value long term customers at all. 'course that's just my opinion, but they won't be receiving any more income from us.

Edited: 04 February 2011, 09:08
Culpeper
2 posts
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10. Re: beware Southern Shores Realty

We will NEVER use Southern Shores again. From the moment we called to discuss when we could pick up the key to the last phone call we received from them after letting them know about problems with our beach house, it was as though we were bothering them and they didn't care in the least to help us. They had horrible customer service and I wouldn't recommend to anyone. We have a number of issues with our house: tons of ants in the kitchen, mold and mildew in the rooms, on the blinds, on the lamp shades; insulation falling down onto the driveway from under the house. When we called requesting to be moved because this was unacceptable they sent out a maintenance guy and their solution to our problems were to send in another cleaning crew which required us to leave for 6 hours, wipe off the mold (however it won't go away because the windows are completely rotted), spray for ants (you couldn't even put a plate down. Most importantly, they stressed to us that this owner has a private cleaner so they don't know the condition of the house unless they are told. So because the owner didn't use a cleaner through Southern Shores, they never inspect it, therefore we as the customer had to pay the price and were left very dissatisfied. We will never use Southern Shores again, not to mention they told us we could go rent another house if we wanted to. How helpful?