Vacation Rentals by Owner

We've always felt it best to contract vacation rentals by owner when searching for vacation property. Don't get us wrong. We think all vacation rentals are better than having to stay in a hotel or motel for anything more than a few days. It's just that frequently one must be extra careful when dealing with agents of the property rather than negotiating vacation rentals with the owner. For instance, many times agents don't know the property or area well enough to answer specific questions, or the booking process involves so many people that details get twisted, distorted or forgotten. Following are some tips to aid in the selection of your rental and help keep your vacation a happy experience.

Beachfront, ocean view, beach or waterfront Rentals

When looking for vacation rentals some cautionary advice applies. In some localities, ads and phrases are crafted by locals and the language used may refer to something other than a commonly accepted definition. As an example, terms such as beachfront, beachview, ocean view, steps to beach, beach accessibility and others should be scrutinized and understood before acceptance of any rental agreement. In some densely populated locations your only access to the shoreline may be at crowded public beaches, which can be some distance from your rental. Beaches can also be on bays rather than oceans and waterfront views can be of canals. If you are looking for canal,  riverfront or waterfront rentals and plan to bring your boat or rent one at the destination, ask about docking your boat at the rental and insure that the rental has appropriate access to the major waterways you wish to frequent. Inquire as to the time required to reach them, also.

Condos, villas, homes, cottages, pools, spas, tennis courts, golf

Whether renting condos, homes or villas don't assume that vacation rentals include all the amenities. Many condos restrict use of some facilities to owners only. Florida garages are storage facilities in some homes because of the lack of basements and attics in Florida construction. Many people, especially on extended vacations, drive to their destination so be sure that parking is available where you plan to stay. Access to a garage or covered parking may be important to you and should be verified as to availability. If pool use is included, check for the heating method as electric and gas are fine but solar heating on cloudy days might be unsatisfactory and diminish your use of the pool. Many common items are included with rentals such as linens, towels, dishes, utensils, etc. but always verify this. If renting from an ad on the internet, review each item in the ad with the owner/agent. Get the owner to send you as many pictures as possible and especially of the neighborhood and surroundings.

Pets, pet friendly, guests and smoking

Always inquire before bringing your pet along to your vacation rental. Some rentals accept pets and some adamantly don't. It is much easier to find locations that accept small pets than to find those that will allow, say, a large dog - no matter how well behaved. Always accurately state the number of people in your party, including guests that may visit your vacation rental. You may be subject to extra charges and be in breach of contract for violations of these conditions. Smoking is a nasty habit and many people don't want the smell and problems associated with it. If you are a smoker, check about this privilege. Be aware that many times rules are set and they are beyond the authority of the owner to grant any of these requests, as in the case of many condos. 

Vacation time, reservations and booking

If your vacation happiness hinges on specific items at a vacation rental, always question the owner or rental agents about their use. Be aware that many rental properties are also for sale. If a sales contract is taken before your vacation period, the new owner may wish to move in and you may be forced to accept another rental. Verify that your security deposits and other deposits are refundable and be especially considerate of the conditions under which they are refundable. Try to review beforehand with the owner any charges which may be extra such as cleaning fees, telephone bills, additional power consumption and the like.

Above all, always get it in writing. A contract protects all parties involved. 

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