Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,067

Be careful when renting from VBRO. ALthough it may be cheaper, you get what you paid for. Twice we have used VRBO and twice we have not been happy. There are advantages to having a management company on board so that any problems can be taken care of immediately. Kauai was a major disappointment because it was a place we have always wanted to stay at Poipu. Location was great (Poipu Shores)with waves crashing on the rocks outside your lanai but the unit, although many upgrades, was not being taken care of and wasn't very clean. The owner is not being very nice as he disputes everything we told him was wrong because the previous occupants did not complain. We won't be getting our money back but We had to move out so that we could enjoy our week. Just keep that in mind when you use VRBO. We won't be using them again.
Shar is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 08:43 AM
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This is interesting. I've never used VRBO but have read many happy reports from people who have. I have reviewed the website for a number of places, but often find the information missing a lot of important details, for example: what floor is it on, is there an elevator, where EXACTLY is it located (I like to look at the "yellow Pages" pictures in Paris for example to see the street), but they don't seem to want to give out that information. I seem unable to get more information on most apartments, but get a general, "more information will be provided when you book" -- Huh?

I do see the potential problems because unlike rentals that are being handled by a local firm which checks things out, many of the VRBO seem to be totally "self-managed" by long distance owners trying to avoid paying anyone to service the apartments properly. Yea, the whole thing sort of scares me, and although many people have good experiences, I can sure understand how you could get a bad one like you had.
Patrick is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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We have rented through VRBO several times and have not been disappointed. Of course, the whole point of VRBO is that it is a service used by individual owners. Every owner is different and has different standards and approaches to management of his or her rental unit. You do take some chances and you should be careful to do your research. I can't believe an owner would not give any info requested before booking. If they refused, I would not book that unit. But we've never had a problem with the places we've found through VRBO and I continue to recommend them, especially for condos in Hawaii.
pdxgirl is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:52 AM
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I think sites like tripadvisor or Fodors are most helpful when people share positive or negative experiences (e.g. Trip Report) about the hotel/condo's they stay in so people who have not been there before have an idea what they may be in for.

Have rented a couple of condo's listed on vrbo on Maui and Kaua`i and also had good experiences, which I attribute to reading Fodors and considering bible info.
JohnD is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 09:57 AM
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I found the problem with VRBO is that they require all the money up front to hold a reservation. Most agencies require a deposit and then accept the remainder within 30 days of arrival.
Suzie is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:21 AM
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I found some will take a small$) deposit, balance on arrival.
JohnD is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:22 AM
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I hope to have a positive experience this December. I found our Maui condo on VRBO and so far have had nothing but helpful responses from the owner's representative. She has even called me on her dime at my home to relate details on how to get the key, etc.

Yes, I have paid half of the 13 day rental amount up front (with VISA) and will have the remainder taken on my VISA a couple of weeks before we are due to arrive - at which time I will be given the lock-box code to get the key to the condo.

I think I feel quite confident as I have had several e-mail contacts with the representative plus the owners have a very informative and well made webpage detailing what the condo offers.

I'll be sure to report back after our trip.
Boxer is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:29 AM
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Suzie - Not all VRBO owners require payment in full up front. Each owner makes his or her own policies regarding payment as well as setting their own refund policies.
pdxgirl is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:42 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Shar, Sorry that you had bad experiences. I am currently looking at vbro for Kauai, Maui and possibly the big Island. Would you be willing to share which unit/name you had a bad experience with?Thanks OSB.
OldSouthernBelle is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:45 AM
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I was surprised with each of my experiences and assumed that different owners would have different policies but Lake Tahoe, Mammoth and Sunriver owners I contacted required the full balance. That is one of the problems using VRBO that you don't have with rental agencies. While you don't necessarily pay less when using VRBO I think there are some issues that a renter needs to be aware of. I realize others may have different experiences and it was not my intention to imply that all owners on VRBO would have the same policy (though one owner was quite insistant that it was, whatever). Sorry if it came across that way.
Suzie is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 10:56 AM
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Boxer: I would really be interested in reading your trip report later this year. Please post your experience with the condo. My family is considering this option for a trip to Maui next year.
sherrie is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:06 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Will do. By the way, the condo we have rented is in the "Maui Kai" (not to be confused with the Mana Kai).

So far I've not read a bad review of a stay at the Maui Kai. I hope to continue the tradition.
Boxer is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:21 AM
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Have not rented from VRBO specifically, but have rented a vacation condo before. The condo was fine, but not as nice as online pics made me believe it would be...
I think from now on, I will stick with hotels for my vacations, because if you're not happy with a hotel, you can check out and go elsewhere! with a rental, you're pretty much stuck.
Not to mention no room service !
Little_Man is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 11:29 AM
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Rented through VBRO for Sayulita Mexico, worked directly with the owner, small deposit, balance of arrival, good experience, great value.
PeggyE is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Shar, exactly which listing was it on VRBO?

I guess I'm lucky - the units I've rented have always turned out to be better than the description...but you should definitely do as Boxer has done, and inquire thoroughly - over the telephone, where you can get a "feel" for the integrity of the owner. Also do a google search using the name of the unit, you never know what you will find.

I too have always paid in full - not on credit card either - before arrival - part of the tradeoff for getting a price that's minus agency fees.
joan is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:01 PM
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I have used VRBO both to rent out our condo and to book condos. I have never had any complaints from renters not have I had any trouble with units I rented. That said in the past I rented in areas that I was familiar with so I had a good idea of what to expect. I did rent a condo through VRBO for our trip to Mexico in area I am unfamiliar with, we will se how it goes.

From an owners view some thoughts. Do some research to see if it is truly a bargain. Our unit through central reservations can rent at times for more than double what I charge, though I have seen places that really are not much less than through an agency. Most have photos on the web site if not ask for some. If it is an older unit when was the last time it was updated. We live fairly close to our condo 90 min away. We rarely rent it out back to back so I know what kind of condition the unit is in for people. I try very hard to make certain that our guests are pleased. I value my vacation time and dollars and truly want people to be pleased. I think most owners are the same.
Before we bought our condo it was in the resorts rental program.(Keystone Colorado) If I had rented our condo in the condition it was in when we bought it for the prices they charged I would have been very disappointed. Nasty carpet, holes in the walls, old nasty furniture. So you are not guaranteed a better property by renting through"official channels"

My policy for rental is one nights deposit to hold the unit, balance due 30 days prior to arrival. FYI..I no longer have my condo on VRBO only because it really did not generate enough bookings to make it worthwhile for me.
Coskier is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 01:08 PM
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I've rented several homes and condos in Colorado and Florida thru VRBO.com and always had a pleasant experience. I have been very familiar with the areas I was renting in and therefore the location of the particular unit. I'd be more apprehensive if I was unsure of the location. We have always had to pay 1/2 of rental at time of booking and the balance 30-60 days out. Some owners have also required a security/damage deposit, but not most. I think I've only had one accept VISA.

That said, we are still awaiting the return of our $750.00 security deposit from our August rental in Vail. The owner has assured us "the check is in the mail". If we don't receive it soon I may have a different opinion....
paige is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:11 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Like Coskier, we have used VRBO to rent for our vacations, as well as we have our vacation rental advertised there.
As the name says, "Vacation rental by owner", it is just web space that owners pay to join to advertise their individual units. There is a form to fill out when you join, and it asks specific questions and you only have so much room to fill in your answers. I don't think people are purposely withholding information, it just may be that there wasn't enough room to put everything down. Also, you pay so much to display three pictures, then you have to pay more to advertise more pictures. That's how most of these rental web sites work. Vacationrentals.com, Vacationrentalspaces, where2go2.com, Gulfcoastrentals.com.....all of them work this way.
If the information you are seeking is not found on the rental site, then email the owner with specific ?'s.
I have most of my information on VRBO, but I find many people don't bother to read the description in it's entirety, b/c they still email me asking ?'s answered on my site. "How many bedrooms are there?", "Is there a washer and dryer?" I don't mind answering them again though.
Also, if there aren't enough pictures, ask the owner to email you some more. I do this all the time.
My philosophy is to have my guests have a clear understanding of the area, the location and the unit so as to avoid any disappointments.
I spend a lot of time emailing and talking to my guests. Send them links to local restaurants, and information on things to do in our area, etc. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, just pointing out that you look for an owner willing to do such things for you. If they aren't willing, then I would be hesitant to rent from them.
BTW, my husband is a realtor and the office he has has a rental dept. He tells me that I go way beyond what the rental dept. is ever willing to do for the guests that rent from his office.
He also tells me that those in the rental office tend to rent out the condo's that are closest to the office so that it's easy to show. And that their fee is over 20% now.
And I do collect the rental fee 30 days prior. I only have the one place to rent and when it's rented, I take it off the market for that week/month. We've been doing this for 3 years now, and during March and Feb., I answer over 100 requests for weeks at our place per month, all telling them I'm booked. If I have someone cancel last minute for a lame reason, I've now turned down all those people without any way to advertise further. I can't put a vacancy sign outside our unit, nor am I a hotel with the benefit of walk-in's that would fill that week. But my policy is, that if I am able to rebook the week they canceled, then their money would be refunded. And, I have also refunded the entire amount based on emergency's (death's in the family, medical reasons, etc.) and our condo then went empty.
Finally, VRBO gives owners the option of having an online guest book where you can ask your former guests to submit comments. I have one and it's invaluable, as their words speak volumes over mine.
Hope that information is helpful.
hibiscushouse is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:24 PM
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My sense is if you are someone who has a track-record of being unhappy at hotels or with service, you are going to be unhappy with VBRO because--quite frankly--you are likely too high maintenance and inflexibile for that kind of arrangement.

I can't fathom what would be so bad that I would be forced to move out of a condo whilst on vacation, short of an infestation of lemurs.
MikeT is offline  
Old Sep 22nd, 2004, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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hibiscushouse, not to toot my horn but like you I go out of my way to help guests, and help those find places when ours is rented. Just this week I went to the grocery store to buy disounted lift passes for guests that are coming in December I paid over 400.00 for them. I sent them on I am sure they will repay me. I think you are right that if the people your renting from seem somewhat unhelpful that maybe a signal to look elsewhere.

For me our travel budget is limited. I have a hard time paying more for the same property offered by an agency. Though for some the "peace of mind" aspect maybe worth the extra $$$.

BTW at Keystone if you put your unit in thier program they take 50%!
Coskier is offline  

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