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VRBO for Rome flat...does this sound strange to anyone?

VRBO for Rome flat...does this sound strange to anyone?

Oct 11th, 2009, 06:59 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 104
VRBO for Rome flat...does this sound strange to anyone?

I have been soliciting information on various VRBO properties in Rome. Three of the listings I recognized as being from the same person due to the similar language. I received responses from all three this morning, all signed by different people. They used nearly identical language (the building was designed by a famous architect, whatever...) but changed the details to match the apartment. The city manager for all is the same. I assume this is coming from some sort of rental management person or organization, but they don't give a name of a business. The prices are very good.

I guess what I'm wondering is, what should I be looking for in a VRBO arrangement in terms of protecting myself? For some reason this circumstance seemed odd to me, and I realized that you don't really know what you're getting if you don't go through a reputable agency. But I have had great VRBO experiences here in the US and I know that they are out there, too.

Can someone with some experience here contribute?

thank you!
etonmymind is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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hi karen,

can you post the links so we can see what you're worried about, exactly?
annhig is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 07:19 AM
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Since you've used VRBO before, I'm sure you realize that you aren't actually renting from them. They are just a listing service. I don't know if there is anywhere to read reviews about individual owners who list their properties with VRBO.
SusanP is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 07:20 AM
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It's not the infamous Dr. Abate is it?
kybourbon is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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OK, here are the links:

vrbo.com/265454 (549 for 4 nights at Easter) http://babuinoflat.blogspot.com
vrbo.com/138591 (549 for 4 nights at Easter) http://ottoboniflat.blogspot.com
http://www.vrbo.com/265460 (699 for 4 nights at Easter) http://ocaflat.blogspot.com/

The last one is definitely out because it's a sixth floor walkup and we have three little kids.

The more I write about this to you all, the more I realize I may be coming across as a complete paranoid weirdo... maybe that's what I get for reading all these listings at 2am my time. I can't even really say why these struck me as odd (the good price maybe?). Maybe you all can let me know if I'm completely crazy.

They want a 30% deposit via CC or paypal, which can be fully refunded up to 60 days in advance. Does this sound normal?

thanks friends!
etonmymind is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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I don't understand exactly what is bothering you. So there is one manager handling a couple different apts, and thus the language on the description will sound similar, but the apt details differ, of course. What's odd about that? It's clearly written by someone whose first lanauge isn't English, but that would be normal, also.

I don't know about prices in Rome, so can't comment if the price sounds unbelievable, but the terms are very normal for vacation rental apts, and even on the good side (some require 50 pct deposit and some won't ever refund everything, even if you cancel that far ahead).
Christina is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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We paid 110 euros a night for a week for a one-bedroom apartment rental in Rome last Christmas through Sleep in Italy. This might give you some basis of comparison.
artsbabe is offline  
Oct 11th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Yeah, I'm probably just being weird about this. I'm chalking it up to reading apt listings at 2am.

Good to know that the prices aren't that out of wack either--possibly the others I've looked at are more overpriced.

etonmymind is offline  
Oct 12th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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Most vacation rentals in Europe require a 25% - 50% deposit at time of booking and full payment 30 - 60 days before the rental starts. There are many good vacation rental agencies for Rome (some based in Rome, some based in the US). I have a list of ones that I like here:

Find out how they want the final payment. Sometimes they want you to pay cash on arrival (which always seems strange to me).
PaulineK is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 12:09 AM
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I have used vrbo here in the states and now I am planning on renting an apartment near Rome next August......LISTEN to your gut...it is screaming at you about these 3 apartments...if it doesn't feel right then walk away and find another...
Cedar240 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 02:55 AM
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What is not sounding right to me is considering renting a one-bedroom apartment with 5 people, including 3 minors....oh yeah, your gut is definitely trying to tell you something and it has nothing to do with the apartment owner....YIKES!
Viajero2 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 07:00 AM
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Thank you for your input, everyone. Viajero, my children are babies--preschool age and younger. When we stay in hotels, we often end up in the same beds anyway. If an apartment owner has four beds (and we have a travel crib) that is sufficient for us. Families much larger than ours all over the world live in even smaller conditions. I'm not going to Rome to sit in the apartment.

Cedar, thank you...

All said, we did find a different place (2 bed) that we love, so we're set!
etonmymind is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 07:58 AM
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Hi Eton,

glad you finally made up your mind. I am after a two bed-roomed apartment too and I'm finding it VERRRY difficult. DH say "just pick one" but he'll be the first to complain that it hasn't got a lift,/satellite/dishwasher/cost too much...

may ask which one you chose [don't worry, I don't think we're there at the same time!] and how you narrowed it down?

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 10:22 PM
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Oops, sorry Annhig--I forgot to come back to this thread. We are renting this flat: http://lacasadiclelia.webs.com/. I had a really hard time choosing between this one and one I found on VRBO. I think it was probably the interaction with the owner that made this one. She and her husband (I believe they are French, living in Rome) just remodeled the whole place after buying it. She is very polite, responsive, and I just get a great vibe from her. I have no worries in the slightest! I also talked (over email) to a guy living in the same city as me who rented it earlier in the year and he loved it. It has an excellent location and the price was very good compared to other stuff I was seeing out there. This house has only been used as a rental since earlier this year and they already have an online guest book full of very nice comments.

If you talk to her, tell her I sent you

etonmymind is offline  
Oct 13th, 2009, 10:44 PM
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PS, in case anyone cares: I finally figured out what was bothering me about the VRBO ads that I originally posted about. It was that they so obviously were being placed by an agency, but the agency wasn't identified in the listings or in the emails. I would want to know who I was using so that I could research them!
etonmymind is offline  
Oct 14th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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hi karen,

I know what you mean about some of those VRBO adds. I sent off about 6 e-mails the other day to different ones i found on there and of the ones that answered, all but one was an agency. the other one will rent without any deposit at all - I can't say that makes me fel very secure either.

I have sent an enquiry to cleline regarding our dates - you're right, it looks very good and is certainly reasonably priced, which will please DH - and no steps! [our first apartment in Rome, when I knew no better, was up 8 flights!] I just have to cross my fingers that it isn't already let.

thanks so much for sending me the link,

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 02:35 PM
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hi again, karen,

just booked with catherine. the apartment looks very comfortable, at a reasonable price. some of the agencies seem to want a fortune.

thank you sooo much for giving me the link.

i think that in fact we'll be there BEFORE you. [we'll be there in Feb and you at Easter, is that right?]

I'll be sure to report back!

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Please both report back on the apartment, I too, think it looks like a winner. I was even looking at the mini one, might be just enough space for us.
Maudie is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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You know what's funny? We're renting a VRBO apartment in Barcelona this winter and I'm more nervous that they DIDN'T take a deposit. Somehow 25% deposit sounds more secure than zero to me.

Glad you all found a place!
slangevar is offline  
Oct 15th, 2009, 07:27 PM
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We have a VRBO in Healdsburg California. We are owners and don't use an agency. We ask guests to use Paypal, or send a check if its far enough in advance. They pay the remainder in cash when they arrive since we have no way of taking their credit card. However, we just returned from Spain and Portugal where we used VRBO for apartments in both Lisbon and Madrid. The Lisbon apt. was fabulous. The owner goes through an agency so he doesn't have to get involved with collecting cash etc. The apt. was better than expected. In Madrid it was quite the opposite. The owners wanted a 50% deposit, cash on arrival plus a large security deposit. When we arrived the apt. was NOT what we expected. We were able to talk them out of the security deposit...probably because we are older and looked fairly responsible. I don't know who they've had in there before us, but since the decor was "early Ikea" the security deposit they wanted was ridiculous. The pictures of the apt. were deceptive. There was not much of a description of the apt. itself, more on the owners and I should have been more careful. But since our place is so nice, I assumed there's would be too, esp. since one of the owners was American.
Back to you......I think many owners use several agencies to spread the listing to as many booking sources as possible. Each owner and agency have their own policies for payment. You can probably negotiate to some extent, depending on how booked they are for that time period. You should know that VRBO sends all reviews of a property to the owner to approve before publishing them. So you may not get any unfavorable reviews by previous occupants. I'd try to talk to the owner. Ask about street noise, noise from people who may be on balconies or outside enjoying the courtyard or street instead of remaining cooped in their apt. Get a good picture of the size of the rooms, bedrooms, bath. Is it on the ground floor, or upper floor? is there an elevator? I.E. ask as many questions as you can. The owners phone number is often listed, in addition to the VRBO email contact. Good luck.
kleroux is offline  

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