About The Company
In the early days, the vacation rental market was quite different. There was no Internet to browse property listings on or social media channels to read guest reviews. Steve had a telephone, some black and white brochures printed by a friend, and some classified newspaper ads; but the phone started ringing, people started booking, and families started coming back year-after-year. In fact, one family, the Alderson’s, have vacationed with Harris Properties Management for the last 30 years, since 1983. The family started with just one home, now with 4 children, 10 grand-children, and 5 great-grandchildren, they need a little more room. And, they aren’t the only ones who choose the company’s boutique rental management philosophy. Each year, hundreds of families discover the one-on-one personal interaction offered at Harris Properties Management, and many of them consider this to be their perfect spot in the sand, and come back year after year.In 1983 Steve and Becky Harris put their two sons’ college funds on the line, ironically, in order to invest it in their futures. The couple had searched literally from Mexico Beach, FL to Dauphin Island, AL and had finally found their perfect spot in the sand. In that year, they purchased Catalina, a quaint Fort Morgan beach cottage, with plans to rent it to vacationers. Then they spent the next five hours driving back to Birmingham nervously trying to convince themselves that they had done the right thing. During the years following, the Harris family acquired additional Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores beach cottages to add to their investment portfolio.
In 2003, the family was forced to change its business strategy for a time. Steve fell ill with cancer. And after a difficult struggle he passed away in January of 2004. The family hired outside management companies to take on the company’s day-to-day operations. “That was a dark time in both our family’s and our company’s history. Mom did a great job holding things together and so did the management companies that we worked with. Without their efforts we may not have made it through that time, I may not be doing what I am doing now.” But in 2010, in the midst of the oil spill, the family decided to go back to its roots and run the properties as owner operators once again.
“We want to be a management company for the owner. As owners ourselves, we know what they want, what they need, and how to deliver on those needs,” says Brian. “We love our guests, don’t get me wrong. But we understand that our business is built by our owners and we are here to be their advocate and work for them. We offer both our guests and our owners’ a boutique rental management experience… a personal touch. If there is a problem or concern, we are here to handle it.”
About Our Properties
Today, Harris Properties Management has grown to include over 80 vacation homes and condos. From Fort Morgan beach cottages and condos at full-service resorts like the Beach Club and Martinique, to beach homes in the West Beach area of Gulf Shores, and on Little Lagoon, the company maintains its customer-focused business practices and beliefs.
Several of the family’s gulf shores vacation rentals come with a unique story that is reflected in their names. For example, Wall Street was named after its previous owner had a particularly bad year in the stock market and asked Steve to take the classic three-bedroom beach cottage off his hands. Point Clear, a Fort Morgan duplex, was named after a nearby community bearing the same name with its renowned Grand Hotel. The Harris family spent many Sundays enjoying brunch, followed by bike rides through the oak-laden roads of the Point Clear community. Brian reminisced about those trips, “We didn’t do it every time. But sometimes when we would be down at the beach, we took a lot of work tips, Dad would detour off to the Grand Hotel in Point Clear for their buffet breakfast. If you are looking for a cap to your trip, especially if you are heading west, this is a stop you just can’t pass up. Ask them where Bucky is hanging out these days and if you miss him you missed a true gem.”
Another unique feature of a Harris Properties Management vacation is the ability to bring your furry friends along. Twenty-two Fort Morgan and Gulf Shores beach houses are pet friendly. When browsing the gulf shores vacation rentals directory, look for the dog paw, indicating a pet friendly home.