Vacation Home Rental

A traveler's guide

Renting a vacation home can be a stressful or enjoyable experience, depending on what you know before you rent. Using these five simple tips, you can ensure that your vacation rental home rental is a positive experience!

1. Vacation home rental is a new field for many people, but is increasing in popularity. This has led some unscrupulous homeowners to lie or bend the truth to make more money, which is why research is of the utmost importance. Ask questions of the rental owner or operator, and ask for updated pictures of the property. Make a list of everything you might need, and ensure that everything is provided or will be provided before arriving. A dishonest owner will offer vague answers or obviously outdated pictures. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Walk away and find a better property or prepare to have a stressful vacation.

2. Ask specific questions about what is included in the price. If you assume that linens and towels are provided, and arrive to find none, it can cost to head to your nearest local store to buy those items. Check on linens, towels and other supplies. The owner should offer you a detailed list of everything they provide. If there is something you require that they don't offer, consider asking if they might provide it for an additional fee.

3. Find out what the maintenance and housecleaning issues are beforehand, including what tools are provided. While it doesn't seem necessary that the owner provide a toolbox for everyday issues, it is necessary that they provide free cleaning products. In some cases the owner will provide free housecleaning, but it they don't, ask about cleaning supplies like detergent or dishwashing liquid. Knowing beforehand if you need to bring those items can save time and money.

4. Ask about the neighborhood and then research the area to make sure the owner was honest. I made the mistake of renting a house in the Memphis, Tennessee area based solely on the owner's recommendation. When we arrived, we discovered that we were in one of the worst areas of town for crime, and the owner usually rented the house to long-term residents, not vacationers. Protect yourself from making the same mistake by posting a question about the area on a local message board, and get feedback from people that live in the area.

5. Make sure to check on the utilities / amenities provided. Ask about appliances like a washer and dryer, and make sure the house has a stove and refrigerator in the kitchen. If you arrive and are forced to eat every meal outside of the house, it would be better to stay in a hotel.

By Jennifer Eblin