Take precautions on vacation rentals

Take precautions on vacation rentals

There are 14 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Dec 21, 2008, titled Take precautions on vacation rentals. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

The Internet has made it ever easier for travelers to search for vacation-home rentals across the globe, but it also has made it possible for just about anyone with a spare room to post a listing.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.


Los Angeles, CA

#3 Dec 21, 2008
I found a lot of owners in Naples FL willing to rent their places out Jan-Mar for very little $$, just to keep from going under. There are so many vacant units, it's unbelievable. It's definitely a renter's market
Canmore Alberta Canada

Calgary, Canada

#7 Dec 22, 2008
Good article, but I think that you may have missed some important research.
While there may very well be people renting out rooms who have no experience, there are also thousands of vacation rental owners for whom this is a career and a business. If choosing a privately owned property, look for one that has a lower ID number (means they've been around for awhile) or one that has a number of independant guest reviews.
You will find that most travellers will tell you that they received better service from a private owner. Here's the thing: a private owner has one house to sell (or maybe a couple). A management company may have hundreds or thousands. Think of it like parenting -- who could dedicate more time and effort to taking care of the 'kids'? A parent with a dozen kids, or a parent with 2 kids? You will find that any successful private owners will do things for you that a management company never will. Personalized service if difficult to find with a management company, but is the norm with a private owner.
Private Owners also take credit cards. For most, this is a business. A professional private owner also has the proper insurance, licensning, pays the propert taxes, etc. Sure, there are people who think that they can rent out their place and make a quick buck, but they are generally weeded out rather quickly. Book with an established vacation rental owner and you won't have that issue.
Vacation Rental owners are business people, too. And like any business, there are good ones and bad ones. The good ones will be successful; the bad ones will eventually fail.
If you are looking for a great vacation experience, particularly if you are travelling with more than 2 people, you should consider a vacation rental. Once you try it, you may never stay in a hotel again.
The High Quality Choice

Coal City, IL

#8 Dec 23, 2008
I disagree with Michelle Higgins on her comparison of the 2 segments of vacation rental homes, namely, homes rented out directly by the owner and those run by a property-management company. According to the article, "Professionally managed rentals, like most of the properties featured on Zonder .com, forGetaway.com and PickPackGo.com , promise a certain level of quality" and "No such quality control exists with owner-rented properties, found on sites such as Homeaway.com and Vrbo.com , but what you gain is cost savings."
As the owner of several homes "rented out directly by owner" I believe that anyone that actually stays in a home rented out directly by the owner will find a higher level of quality than a professionally managed rental. This is because owners are involved in managing their own rentals because they care.
Owners care about how their home is equipped and how it looks.
Owners care about how their home is treated.
Owners care about offering customer service and value.
In most cases, such as my own, these homes are enjoyed and used by the owners themselves and the goal is to have the nicest property possible in the home that I share with other travelers. It is the subtle differences, added by each individual owner that makes each vacation home special. It is the cooler that I left in the closet so you can have a beach picnic with your family, the caphalon that I purchased because I love to cook and find time while I am away with my family. The antique blue etched wine glasses that I found at an antique store in the area and actually lasted 4 years without a chip. The coffee grinder that is available because I enjoy fresh ground coffee in the morning.
My homes have also become special because of my guests, the family that stays for
May 5th every year – their celebrations have added the interesting collection of “chili-pepper” bowls, tortilla holders, and party trays and favors which are available for fiestas thru out the year. The Johnson family from Toronto left the sand toys for all to enjoy. The Dombrowski family from Michigan left the boogie boards and the welcome addition of the beach chairs and small griller that were added earlier this summer. The Daytona Beach Monopoly game that must have cost someone a small fortune and the new set of puzzles and other games we added while we sat in thru Tropical Storm Fay. My favorite addition? The families that have added their experiences in my guest book that chronicles 5 years of vacation memories of many, many happy families.
We have been welcoming families to our homes for 5 years and have always welcomed credit cards as a convenience for our guests.
Problems in our condos?
No problem !! Our housekeeper of 5 years is a few blocks away and can assist or I can pick up the phone and call a maintenance man. We are there every 2-3 months and we maintain – repair – update. I can guarantee a much better maintenance schedule than any property manager in my area. If you want mediocre try a property manager who has 50 homes that are all treated the same….
If you want special and a place that will be like your family’s 2nd home, try an owner-managed rental, you will be glad that you did !!
Renata Gozdziak
Naperville, Illinois
Yearly Spring Breaker

Royal Oak, MI

#9 Jun 8, 2009
I disagree with Renata Gozdziak. Her comments would lead you to believe that she cares about her renters & acts in a professional manner; however, we have had just the opposite experience with her this year. We have been given every excuse under the sun about why we won't be getting our security deposit back from her. None of the reasons have anything to do with our 2009's condo rental & it's being left in the same condition as we found it (damage free), no phone charges, etc. This condo owner is going on the premise that there is nothing that my family can do to get our owed money, so it is too bad for us. I am disheartened by this philosophy, as we took a great chance in trusting her. I'm not sure how she sleeps sound at night or guilt isn't making her sick. Please BEWARE while dealing with Vacation-Daytona!(Owner: Renata Gozdziak)
Rest of Sec Deposit Story

Coal City, IL

#10 Jun 16, 2009
In 2008 -- I had a guest that had rented from me several times previously and all went well.
She had a $200 security deposit and I mailed it back to her --- twice-- by mistake. So she received an additional $200 and cashed the check without a word or question. When I realized my mistake -- I attempted to contact her by phone twice and received no response.
So -- time goes by she books a condo in 2009.
I recall that something was not right in 2008 -- but can not put my finger on what the issue was. Then after stay in 2009 -- I go to pull financials for Security Deposit repayment and I realize the $200 overpayment in 2008.
I am patiently waiting for a refund of 2008 overpayment, then will be happy to refund 2009 security deposit.
Renata Gozdziak
Security in RBOwner

Vancouver, Canada

#11 Jun 13, 2010
I found this newbie in the vacation rental industry and I'm convinced they are going in the right direction. First off they finally started offering free listings- high listing fees was something that always bothered me as a vacation rental owner. Why would I pay $329 to HomeAway to put some photos on their site. I did it once a few years ago. Mistake.
Free is the way to go. Then, if I get some bookings through them, I don't mind paying a booking fee or even small commission as long as I get something valuable in return. Anyways these guys have a really fresh approach to the issue: Free Listings, unlimited photos, very very cool design for the site, and my personal favorite- Interactive calendar to pick dates or just enquire about prices. You can sign up for a booking terminal where they will process credit cards for you.
I have my Florida rental listed with them and I managed to get 4 bookings since March. Almost forgot- they even provide a Craigslist template for ad posting- really amazing!
[Rent For The Holidays]( http://www.rentfortheholidays.com )
John Teeter

Los Angeles, CA

#12 Aug 4, 2010
I have to Agree with Security in RBOwner- rent for the holidays team is worth recommending for sure. I had my listing on rent for the games which is Olympic Rentals website and I got top dollars for my house in Vancouver.
Now I'm with them on rent for the holidays and I get an enquiry for my condo almost every day.
The best thing is they now have free listings so the good deal got even better- keep up the good work guys!
Mendel Potok

Salt Lake City, UT

#14 Sep 17, 2010
You do have to be careful. A little research goes a long way! But in my experience, I've yet to be disappointed with a vacation home, especially after all the hole-in-the-dirt hotels I've suffered through over the years.

Ginny Crandall

Salt Lake City, UT

#15 Oct 1, 2010
These are all great tips. It's amazing how small the internet has made our world become. But, on the other hand, you never know exactly who you are dealing with. It's definitely important to know what is the real story behind any given situation and find out who exactly you are dealing with. www.bluesunproperties.com

Provo, UT

#17 Dec 17, 2010
It's important to be careful when you're searching for vacation deals. If it seems too good to be true, like $20 per night Jaco rentals in Costa Rica with free airfare, it probably IS too good to be true. Just be smart when you're planning. Find deals but don't fall for scams and you should be fine.

Yucaipa, CA

#18 Dec 22, 2010
So I must agree that Rent For The Holidays is a super site. I started using it because they offer Credit Card processing. They might be smaller but they lots to prove so I get a response 15 minutes after I send them an email, my clients get full services and my bookings are going up. FYI they shortened their name to R4TH so its http://www.r4th.com - much less typing.

Overall great site and instant booking solution we all needed for so long!

Adda Bright

Salt Lake City, UT

#20 Oct 24, 2012
This is so very true! I was searching through real estate rentals in Puerto Vallarta and found out, through a local friend, that some of them were gorgeous, top-notch villas (There are some good sights like http://www.villaexperiencemexico.com/vallarta... ), and others were just basements inside people's homes. Watch out for false advertising.
Konrad Jenkins

Columbus, OH

#21 Mar 21, 2014
My experience with this is two-fold. Living in Utah, many people have homes in the Park City area, that they rent out to people coming up for the weekend, or after a powerful snowstorm. Some of these are mansion-sized homes, and even a weekend stay goes for a premium. My other experience is my uncle. His family lives in Hawaii, and their house is a duplex. They rent the other half of their home to tourists. They are more than fair with their price, and it gives people a more natural experience on the island. http://www.ndev.ca/ApartmentLiving.aspx

Since: Apr 14

Ahmedabad, India

#22 Apr 1, 2014
Yes it is really important to take care of small small things which can make huge differences.so this is nice post.thank you for sharing it.

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