We at Riptide, like all good Americans, dream of making an obscene amount of money without doing any work. So when signs recently began popping up alongside Miami roads, reading in bold red lettering, "Rent your home during the Super Bowl for $10,000 a day!" best believe we called the accompanying toll-free number.
We talked to Michael- - he didn't want to give his last name -- who ensured us the Super Bowl is "the biggest event in the world for short-term home rental." The target demographic: Those who can afford any hotel but would rather "feel homey" and avoid "the crowds of paparazzi." The entrepreneurs behind GlobalEventRental.com, as the company is named, clearly aren't the first to think of lucrative renting potential during Miami's Super Bowl in February. There are already scads of related listings on Craigslist, including this pimped-out 5,000-square-foot Pompano Beach pad with an asking price of $15,500 for a weeklong Super Bowl stay.
But as we asked more questions and dug around, we became a bit skeptical of GlobalEventRental.com, and not just because the website looks like it was designed by an 8-year-old. A few red flags:
- The "set-up cost" to have your home listed on the website -- if it rents, there's a commission as well -- is $1,195. Which is so much that when the operator told us it was "eleven ninety-five," we replied, "Eleven dollars and ninety-five cents?" which is a fee we'd like more. Oh, and it's nonrefundable, even if nobody rents your home.
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- According to Arizona state documents, the Phoenix-based company was founded August 13. To be clear, that's just over a month ago -- not exactly a reliable pedigree.
- It has no Google presence and is so new that a search of its strip-mall address still brings up the website for the location's former tenant, Fetish Alive, a bondage emporium that specializes in "trampling," "toe sucking," and "foot worship." Which somehow makes us more nervous.
- Business doesn't look like it's booming. The site's listing of homes for rent consists of four houses, none of them impressive, with daily price tags ranging from $4,000 to $5,200. Michael tells us bluntly: "We're desperate for homes."
All told, we'd rather brave the Nigerian scammers of Craigslist -- but if you try this company and it works out, please let us know. We'd love to get thousands of dollars a day for our "rugged" 700-square-foot manse.