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Valencia long(er) term rental questions

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We spent time in Valencia (and eastern Spain) last fall and thanks to the very pertinent advice received in large part from this forum, our trip was nothing less than a resounding success. This makes us really appreciate the collective knowledge of the many people on this board. In particular, this city was quite a discovery for us and where we would very much like to return and spend a longer time likely in the spring of 2017.

We would be interested in renting an apartment for 1-2 months and I have started to search for possibilities in this regard. We loved the apartment we stayed in last year and would gladly stay there again for the entire time, however even though there are discounts for longer stays (I would have to verify exactly how much), I would expect the cost to be more than 3000 euros a month at least, making it quite onerous.

I therefore have been trying to find alternatives and am a little confused/unsure and would have some questions. Though my query is specific to Valencia, I suspect it would apply to other destinations as well. I have come across sites such as AirBnB, VRBO, HomeAway, Booking dot com, etc.

Some thoughts:
1- I am a little leery of AirBnB as it seems to be somewhat of a hit and miss. We know people that have experienced both cases, and I gathered similar info reading some trip reports on travel forums such as this one. It is one thing to get a "miss" upon arrival for a short stay of a few days, but it would be more seriously disheartening for a 1-2 month stay ... Neighbours of ours have been using and swear by VRBO and claim to have never been disappointed after several stays over the last few years. One thing I cannot fathom is - what is it about VRBO that would make it a "safer bet" for lack of better words than AirBnB??? or than other similar sites???

2- I did note that some properties are listed on different platforms at sometimes slightly different prices. I could see how commercially managed properties would be wanting as much exposure as possible, but I am left wondering about the true owner who simply wishes to make his flat available to vacationing renters on VRBO ... I even noted commercial properties there (VRBO). What would be the case there? Perhaps I am missing the point.

3- I do not consider myself particularly naive and I have traveled independently to many countries around the world, but are there specific recommendations that could be offered to a prospective renter to try to ensure that the whole search/renting process is safe and successful? Any pitfalls I should be aware of? I have only very occasionally rented flats, and these were all based on solid references so in a way this is new territory to me.

4- The aforementioned cost of over 3000 euros a month sounds high for a city like Valencia, as opposed to higher cost places like Barcelona or Madrid where this figure might be more justified. While the apartment we had last year was quite nice, I always had the impression that Valencia was a in the middle of the pack cost-wise, i.e more than small towns but less than a large metropolis. Are my cost expectations off? Perhaps I need to re-think my budget ...

Sorry if this is a bit verbose, but as you can see I am a little confused and any words of wisdom as to the above concerns would be appreciated. I would be particularly interested in the thoughts of persons who have actually gone this route before.

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