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A Guide to Finding a Great Vacation Rental


You may be considering a private home vacation rental, rather than staying in a standard hotel or motel room, for your next trip. A vacation home rental can have many advantages, from a lower cost to a greater amount of space to a better location to more amenities. However, it is important to know just what to expect before you sign on the dotted line so that you can be sure that you are getting a fair deal and that you will be staying in a home that is well maintained and appropriately located.

When you begin investigating a vacation rental, you will likely encounter two options - you can rent from a management company or you can rent directly from the owner of the property. If possible, try to find a way to work with the owner of the vacation home rental, as you may have access to more information and better support before, during, and after your transaction.

Once you have decided that staying in a vacation rental is the right choice for you and your traveling companions, you will discover that the process of finding the right property should go very smoothly.

The Steps to Renting a Private Home

First, find a reputable website with vacation home rental listings, or speak to your travel agent about your options. Make sure that you feel comfortable that whoever is providing you with vacation rental listings has screened each home to make sure that it exists and that it is owned by the person who is listing it.

Next, search for or specify the type of vacation home rental you are looking for, including:

Price (What is your maximum?)

Size (Are you looking for a condo unit for two people or a multi-bedroom house for a large family - or for multiple families?)

Location (Do you want your vacation rental to be near a particular theme park? Do you want to be able to walk to the beach? Do you need to be within walking distance of a grocery store or a video rental shop?)

Amenities (Do you want your vacation home rental to include a hot tub? Would you like to have access to a gym or to gym equipment? Would you enjoy a game room with video game systems?)

In addition, note whether you will be bringing a pet. (As with all types of rentals, some vacation home rental properties will be pet friendly with a deposit, while others may not allow pets at all. Find this out before you pack Fido into his carrier!) Last but not least, you will need to provide the specific dates for which you will need the vacation rental and the number of people with whom you will be staying.

Researching the Vacation Home Rental

You will then be presented with a list of available vacation home rental properties for your time frame and the other options that you requested. If you are able to work directly with the owners of the rental homes, you can contact them to find out more information. Many owners will be able to answer your emailed questions in depth (but make sure to keep your questions relevant) and to send you pictures of the specific vacation rental. The owner may even have a personal website that you can view for more information about the property. If you are dealing with a management company, you may either be shown pictures of the particular vacation home rental in which you will be staying or pictures that represent the type of home that is available.

In either case, make sure that you feel comfortable with the entire transaction. For example, you may want to avoid an owner or company that sends you emails every hour asking if you have made a decision about the vacation rental, or, on the flip side, someone who takes days to return your messages with answers to your questions, or someone who gives you vague responses.

Finalizing the Deal