As a native New Yorker, nothing irks me more than having to pay outrageous amounts of money for a place to stay in Manhattan. Last year hubby and I had it easy; we rented our friend West Side apartment – 1BR, doorman building, right across from Central Park – for three weeks and then stayed at a hotel for the last week. This year, however, we have five and a half weeks in NYC during the Fall high season and MB's apartment is taken.
I started out on Craigslist on the advice of even my realtor friends, looking at the NYC Vacation Rentals and NYC Sublets pages, each of which has hundreds of listings per day. So my first problem was simply being overwhelmed by choice, sifting through thousands of ads. I made some inquiries and immediately slammed into two more Craigslist problems: scams and "dealing locally."
Several people responded to my emails by flat-out declining any willingness to work with me since I am living in the Caribbean. Even though I have social media presence, several blogs and websites, and a job with one of the most exclusive hotels in the Caribbean, people just didn't want to hear about me. Of the people who didn't seem to mind my location, about 70% were scams.
How to identify a Craigslist scam? First, Google whatever street address it gives you for the property. Most will send you an address of a commercial-only property and then paste photos from other sites and ads. Then ask for the contact information of the person. I had one woman who sent me a commercial address, tried to say that she would meet me at her office at midnight when our flight gets in (because the doorman can't hold the keys so we had to come to her office), told me that I couldn't call her directly because she was hearing-impaired, and then yelled at me for wasting her time and not sending money to book the listing. My experiences on VRBO were similar.