A Different Kind of Colorful Key West This Fall

Greetings from Key West,

Summer has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the sun has stopped shining in Key West. As a year-round vacation destination, there is truly never a bad time to visit Key West. Over the next few months we have lots of exciting events happening that will make a last minute getaway worthwhile!

Have you heard of WINEDINE KEYWEST? It kicks off this month and is an exciting opportunity to experience Key West’s iconic food scene at local discount prices. Participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe menus from September 16th – October 16th. For more information on WINEDINE KEY WEST, take a look at their website: www.winedinekeywest.com. We are offering a last minute reservation discount when you book a Last Key Vacation Rental between now and October 22nd.mvt_j5mjOf course, the last week of October is Fantasy Fest. This year’s dates are October 21st – 30th. Take part in the crazy weeklong shenanigans featuring the Bahama Village Goombay Festival, the Zombie Bike Ride, the Pet Masquerade, the 34th Annual Headdress Ball, the Fantasy Fest Street Fair, The Famous Fantasy Fest Parade, and much, much more! Put on your most extraordinary costume and join us for a week of Halloween fun! For complete details, check out the official Fantasy Fest website: www.fantasyfest.com We still have nightly & weekly rental homes available for the week of Fantasy Fest, including: Avalynn House, Casa Victoria, Coastal Loving, Gulfside Vistas, Suzy’s Parrot Perch, and The Commander’s Sanctuary.csxf15yuwaaufasAre you a boating fan? Then get your front row seat at the 36th annual Super Boat International Races, taking place November 6th – 13th. The world’s biggest and fastest offshore racing series held at the Truman Waterfront is an exhilarating must-see event. Be sure to visit the Super Boat International website for further details and the complete race schedule: http://superboat.com/race-schedule/key-west-schedule/ Remaining available nightly & weekly homes for Super Boat Race Week include: Blue Heron’s Cove, Casa Louisa, Cielo Azul, Octopus’s Garden, Plantation Tropicale, and The Smiling Ibis.twistedmetalMaking Thanksgiving plans? Did you know that turkey tastes better in paradise?  All of our homes include a fully equipped kitchen, perfect for preparing your Thanksgiving Day feast. If you prefer a catered Thanksgiving, our concierge would be delighted to arrange that for you. Select your Thanksgiving Vacation Home in Key West before they are all booked up, remaining available homes include: Conch in the Treetops, Eden @ the Annex, Nature’s Edge, Puerta Coralina, Sea Captain’s Haven, and The Contented Crane.

Thanksgiving TurkeyEnjoy more privacy, unrivaled guest services, and all of the amenities our luxury Vacation Homes have to offer this Fall! Hope to see you soon!

Your friends in Key West,

Why Our New Website Is The Most Exciting Move For Our Company in 2016

As the vacation rental market grows worldwide, the expectations of vacationers shopping online has morphed drastically in the past two years. Four years ago we launched a gallery-style website that focused on showcasing our luxurious vacation homes through photography. When we embarked on the development of our brand new website in 2015, we challenged ourselves to maintain that simple, gallery-style format while rising to (and hopefully exceeding) the market demands for technology.  We are so incredibly thrilled about the introduction of our new website, that has achieved all that we hoped to deliver for our future guests.

With all new booking customization capabilities and search functionality, this new site allows a vacationer to shop our rental homes in a whole new dimension. Most excitingly, we are now completely enabled for direct online booking, making the booking process easier for our guests and cutting out the additional fees being charged by third party listing sites.

Home Page booking

Other new features include:

  • Larger, higher resolution photosMLS Real Estate Search
  • Real-time availability updates
  • Map view of all of our properties
  • Customizable reservation add-ons at booking
  • Full MLS Integration for Real Estate interests
  • Much, much more!


Map ViewThis is only the beginning for Last Key’s technology integration to better service our guests. We are already busy exploring “Phase 2” of this new site. As we do, we encourage you as website users to submit any feedback on our website that may be helpful to us in making it as user-friendly and functional as it can be. Website feedback can be submitted to rentals@lastkeyrealty.com or through our Contact Us page.

Cheers to the Future!



Transient Rental Licenses in Key West

The City of Key West used to issue transient rental licenses for a nominal fee to those homeowners who wished to rent their homes by the night. The City stopped issuing those licenses quite a few years ago, but grandfathered all licenses that were in existence. Rentals throughout the City are strictly monitored and enforced, with the perhaps unintended result that vacation rental rates have in recent years grown at double digit rates. Not surprisingly, homes that are transiently licensed have become especially valuable for investment purposes. An indication of just how valuable is the cost of purchasing a transient license on the secondary market, which in spite of the complications of effecting the transfer of rights from one house to another, has risen to as much as $50,000. Truman Annex homes may have what is known as a “Special Transient License”, which is subject to a weekly minimum and has a sunset clause attached. You can find out more by calling 305.304.1933 or e-mailing Chris Santry.

Avoiding Key West Vacation Rental Scams

Avoiding Key West Vacation Rental Scams

Although technology has advanced the Key West vacation rental industry tremendously over the last few years, allowing travelers from all over the world to shop for and locate Key West vacation rentals with ease, it has also complicated the vacation rental industry in a way many of us never imagined. It is the nightmare of our business to receive the news that unsuspecting travelers arrive in Key West to find that the vacation rental that they paid for online actually does not exist, or was not rented to them by the legitimate vacation rental manager of the home. This is unfortunately a story that is becoming more and more common in Key West, as scammers on sites like Craigslist steal and post photos and descriptions of beautiful homes like those that we manage, creating fake listings and luring in innocent vacation rental seekers to submit payment online – only to find upon arrival that their rental is not legitimate and that they have been scammed. For this reason, we have put together some tips for protecting yourself against vacation rental scams when shopping for your next rental.

Online Payments – Do Your Research

If a listing only accepts online payments, or requires a credit card via email or online to “hold the reservation”, a quick Google search may save you from being scammed. Legitimate vacation rental companies have their own websites for verification and marketing purposes, and very few private owners renting out their homes personally accept payment via PayPal or other online source.

If It’s Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

If you have read our blog post about Transient Rental Licenses in Key West, you know that very few homes in Key West can be rented nightly and weekly because of the strictly enforced city ordinances surrounding short-term rentals. The high demand on these rentals drives the nightly and weekly rental rates up, which makes it difficult to find inexpensive vacation rental lodging for less than a one month stay. Many have turned to sites like Craigslist to search for less expensive vacation home options, but the homes posted on these sites at $150 per night are generally scams. Even in the case that a private owner does rent their home through Craigslist, they will not be charging $150 per night. Not even on “extreme last minute special” – the truth is that most homeowners would rather let their homes sit empty than rent last minute for $150 per night. Do some research on market rates for rentals during your travel dates, and if you see pricing that is vastly below that – that should be your first red flag of a scam listing. The lesson here is: if the deal on the home looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Real Listings Pay To Post

Sites such as Craigslist are free to create accounts and post – making it easy and accessible to all. However, because these sites are free, anyone can post on them with zero investment. We do not list our homes on Craigslist or any other “free” listing site for that exact reason. We have chosen to advertise on paid listing sites such as HomeAway and VRBO, which require annual paid subscriptions to list, because we are then listed only among other legitimate vacation homes that paid to advertise there. For our company, the risk of being listed among scam rentals is not worth the return of additional traffic we may receive through those free sites. Avoid searching for rentals on listing sites that are free to post, and you will likely protect yourself from scammers who would not pay the subscription fees to post a fake listing on a paid site.

Look To Previous Guests

Most vacation rental homes offer some sort of outlet for previous guests to evaluate their previous stays, and finding reviews from past guests on a property not only assures you that the rental likely DOES exist (since others stayed there in order to evaluate it) but it also gives you a reference point for your decision besides the rental company’s description of the home. Reviews can be good, bad, and even ugly – but they will tell you more about a home than any advertisement can. We encourage all of our guests to leave guest reviews on our HomeAway and VRBO listings, and we urge our potential guests researching our homes to read those reviews to help them evaluate the homes they are reserving. In addition to providing legitimacy and evaluation for a home, the reviews often give great advice to future guests on local spots to visit close to the rental home, or things in the home to take advantage of such as a special feature that may not be listed in the write up. A listing and/or company with no reviews should be a mental flag for a researcher to ask more questions.

If you are ever in the final stage of a rental and want to check one last time for legitimacy, call the City of Key West Licensing Department at 305-809-3955 and ask for help in verifying the rental company and/or home. If you are the victim of a vacation rental scam, you can file complaints with the Internet Crime Complaint Center and/or the FTC. Finally, to be sure you are renting a legitimate 5-star luxury home with 24/7 concierge guest services, contact us anytime to discuss our available rentals.