Renting out Your Vacation Home Tips 25/02/2020

If you are searching to rent a vacation home but do not know where to start, you are not alone. Finding the perfect holiday getaway is not easy, but there are ways to differentiate yourself from the herd and guarantee you get the property you want without breaking your budget.

As with most efforts, planning ahead and being organized are the keys. This article will guide the process into nine easy steps to follow that would help you book the home you want, at an affordable price.

1. Start Your Search Early

Avoid some of the stress and high costs that can go with trying to secure a vacation home, especially during peak season and on short notice, by thinking, researching, and planning at least five months (but preferably a year) in advance. While this might seem excessive, keep in mind that vacation rentals, at least, the good ones, usually book up quick.

If you are not sure where and how to begin, your first goal should be to nail down your destination and the approximate number of days for your trip. Once you have made these decisions, a real estate agent who specializes in your area can be effective in finding a vacation home rental. Consider reaching popular brokerages that have a considerable presence or look for individual agents that are well-known and respected in the area you are traveling to.

Though, online local newspapers can be a great resource and so are websites that specialize in vacation rentals. This is because some rental properties do not reach out to real estate agents; instead, they display availability online.

2. Consult Multiple Sources

It is necessary to consult a variety of sources when vacation-house hunting. By buying around and talking to many different people, you will not only learn more about the area you are visiting, but you might also find yourself a better deal. Leave your options open by talking to various real estate agents and consulting multiple websites.

If you do not live too far from your vacation destination, you may consider driving around the neighborhoods where you want to rent to see if any houses are advertising for the season. Though these strategies can be a lot of work, finding rentals in this manner might be cheaper in the long run.

3. Read the Complete Contract

Unfortunately, people are occupied with the exciting thoughts of arriving in their desired vacation homes and already begin planning their fun-filled vacation the moment they enter their homes, because of which they overlook the value of the contract. But, this document must not be ignored. It describes what expenses you are on the hook for. It will outline not only your payment schedules but also your liability in case of damages or if extra cleaning is needed.

Make sure you understand who pays for:

  • Utility bills
  • Internet service
  • Phone service
  • Cable service
  • Cleaning or Housekeeping
  • Propane/gas—if outdoor grilling is available

Bear in mind that the costs involved in cooling or heating a vacation home can be sizable, so be sure to factor that cost into your budget if the owner has not already included them in the mentioned rent. You must also be aware of the landlord's policies regarding pets and subleasing.

It is necessary to get a checklist of what is included in the rental. For instance, are beach chairs and a grill part of the deal? If they are, that could save you cash. If not, you will have to factor that cost into your budget or consider bargaining with them.

As a more general rule, before signing a vacation rental agreement, you must consider having it looked over by a qualified and licensed attorney that you trust, preferably one that specializes in the real estate market. This should absolutely be done if you are unclear about any aspect of the contract. While attorneys can be quite expensive, spending a couple of hundred dollars for a review of the contract makes sense if it is going to put your mind at ease and allow you to experience your fun-filled vacation fully.

4. You Can Always Negotiate

Almost every cost of a vacation house rental is negotiable, from the amount of the deposit to the weekly or monthly rent. If the person renting the house out is reluctant to budge on either of these items, see if they will throw in an extra day's or week's rental at a slightly lower price. If the property is not booked and you know it, this can be a great leverage point while negotiating.

5. Do not forget the Deposit

Seasonal rentals might require a large upfront security deposit. Do not neglect to factor this into your budget. Also, be conscious of the process by which your deposit will be returned. Understand what conditions are to be met (i.e., if the property should be clean or all rental payments are to be paid etc.) for you to get your deposit back. This will further prevent arguments at the end of the rental agreement period.

6. Ask them about Housekeeping

Some rentals might have a cleaning service come in on the last day, and the cost is billed to the person renting the house. Others might have cleaners come by periodically. Find out about the housekeeping schedule and who is responsible for paying the cleaning fees. Also, understand what condition the property must be in for your full deposit to be refunded.

7. Photograph on Day One

To assure that any existing damage is documented and that you are not blamed for something you have not done, photograph or record a property tour on the day you arrive. Make sure you note any kind of problem areas.

Always do the same thing on your last day. If there is an argument before a judge or a mediator, later on, this documentation might come in handy. It may even change the mind of the owner not to take you to court in the first place.

8. Get A Contact Number

It is excellent that you have gotten the keys to your vacation house and that you are ready to enjoy your time off, but ensure to get the owner or landlord's mobile number just in case there is any issue like electric power shut or a burst pipe.

9. Walk Through Before Check Out

Before checking out, walk through the house, preferably with the landlord or owner. Make sure that the landlord sees no problem with the condition of the property. This can prevent unexpected bills or nasty surprises. It can also get you time to fix a problem if one is uncovered.

The Bottom Line

Renting a vacation home does not have to be stressful. Advanced and thorough planning can make your holiday more enjoyable and help assure that you will be able to book the house you desire at a price you can afford. With these nine steps, you will be able to guarantee that your summer shack does not turn your vacation into shambles.

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