VRBO Question/Nerves

Mar 8th, 2008, 05:56 AM
  #1  
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VRBO Question/Nerves

My husband and I are planning to spend a week in the Sullivan's Island/Isle of Palms area this summer. We've done this for several summers in a row, and we have always used the same realty/rental company to rent a house. Usually we have a larger group than just the two of us, but this year, various circumstances have conspired to keep others from going and to make us later than usual in making our reservation. The smaller places that we've rented in the past are already booked and we don't really want to pay $5000 per week to rent a 4 bedroom house for just two people. To get to my question, I've found what looks to be a perfect property on VRBO. However, I've never used VRBO before and I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about renting directly through the owner and not through a realty company. I know lots of you have used VRBO successfully. Do you have any tips for "grilling" the owner (in a nice way!) to find out as much as possible about the property? Should I attempt to contact past guests about their experiences? Will the owner give out that information? These may be naive questions, but VRBO often sounds too good to be true, so I want to be cautious. Basically, as long as a property is clean and safe, I can deal with anything, however, with my crazy schedule, I don't get much vacation time, and I would hate to spend it wishing that I had gone ahead and rented a house too big for us, but with the security of a realty company. Thanks in advance!
BetsyinKY is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 06:10 AM
  #2  
WannabeinaMontserrat
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I've posted this before but will be happy to do so again. VRBO has a person(s), referred to as the "Bear" that does random visits of properties. In addition, we have used vrbo in excess of 50+ times & never had a problem. Mostly in the Mts. of NC but also in various other, assorted places. I have never 'grilled' an owner. Many vrbo owners also use realty companies 'on site'. I've found this to be particularly true at the beach locations. The reason you are getting such a good deal is you are cutting out the middle-man, probably not paying an outrageous deposit, not paying an application/rteservation fee & possibly not even paying taxes (which beachfront can run into the double-digits %-wise). Hope this helps ease your mind. I don't imagine negative responses would be beneficial for the owners, & in many cases they are almost 'on site' & are typically quick to respond.
 
Mar 8th, 2008, 06:24 AM
  #3  
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Thanks for your quick response! I am very non-confrontational and wasn't looking forward to having to "grill" anyone, but I didn't know if there were questions I should ask, or if I could pretty much take the listing at face value. Thanks for sharing your positive experiences. It does reassure me.
BetsyinKY is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #4  
WannabeinaMontserrat
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Certainly if something seems amiss or the pics are 'iffy' feel free to ask. In our case, if we don't like what we see, we just move on. We've stayed from a 6 bdrm. beachhouse on Holden Beach to a villa in the Caribbean to a working farm in the Mts. Never an issue.
 
Mar 8th, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #5  
 
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You can check tripadvisor.com
for reviews of homes.
Have you inquired about beach erosion?
laplaya is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 06:42 AM
  #6  
 
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I have rented through VRBO a number of times and the property itself has always been fine. Lately, though, I've found myself once again using realty companies, mostly because I never found much of a cost savings renting directly from the owner, and I don't have to deal with the owner's quirks directly, either!

For example, in Tucson last year we arrived at a condo rented through VRBO to find no toilet paper in either bathroom or anywhere we could locate, the gate key not where I was told it would be, etc. I just felt that if anything major had been wrong, there would have been no back-up, so this year I worked through a realty company and the price is the same, without the hassle. In January in Florida, we had reserved through VRBO and a few weeks before we were due to arrive, the owner called to say he had sold the place and was passing us on to a rental company! Now, I know this can always happen with rental properties, but usually not so abruptly! Anyhow, when the bed collapsed one night, the rental company had someone out to repair it as soon as we reported the problem. I doubt individual owners, even if they are in the area, are able to get repairs taken care of so promptly. And the house we rented through the rental company, which was brand new and bigger than the VRBO guy's property, actually cost only about $100 more.
marilynl is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 08:08 AM
  #7  
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Laplaya-Thanks for the idea of tripadvisor. I hadn't thought of checking there for reviews, as I think of it more for hotels. As far as beach erosion, this property is on Sullivan's Island, and I am familiar with the beach in that area. I don't think erosion is a problem there like it is at the far end of Isle of Palms.

Marilyn-Your comments are exactly why we've stuck with realty companies up until now. Hmmm....
BetsyinKY is offline  
Mar 8th, 2008, 09:15 AM
  #8  
 
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I use VRBO to rent out my home and it has been great. I am always more than happy to give out the names or email addresses of past guests because I really want my own guests to be very happy and to have their expectations be realistic.

Also, if the photos are iffy - well, yuck! Don't go there.
cabovacation is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 11:16 PM
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I've rented via VRBO many times and come to think of it, I never really worried about the quality of the place - the photos usually sealed the deal for me.

I guess I should have done a little more checkup, but what can you really do short of actually going there beforehand to spot check? You can call a reference, but can't really tell if that person is telling the truth. I guess if you're renting in a good neighborhood/area, chances are things will work out well.

Perhaps if you're up to it, you can post the place and we can offer you our opinions of whether it looks OK.

I've also rented houses/cottaes overseas and was extremely happy with my stays, although through some other website, not VRBO.

Also, try asking for more pictures. Some owners don't post all their pics.
nstevey is offline  
Mar 9th, 2008, 11:46 PM
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We have always been very happy with the properties we rented through VRBO- I am sure some may not be as stated but we have always thought it was better than expected. If no reviews I usually have several contacts with the person renting, either by phone or email.
Good luck
LVAMY is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:45 AM
  #11  
 
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You should also cosider Google Earthing or Mapquesting the location of the rental. Inside pictures don't tell you if you are backed up against the local 7-11 or Wal-Mart.

We've used VRBO, and have had great success.
beentheretwice is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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None of these comments speak to what I was trying to articulate and what Betsy was talking about: whether there is backup in case something goes wrong while you are using the rental.

Yes, the VRBO rentals I have had have all been nice, but not always has trouble during the rental been covered. That may be OK if there are in fact cost savings, but I do not find that renting through VRBO is really any cheaper than renting through an actual rental company in the areas I am going to (Florida, Arizona).
marilynl is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 08:18 AM
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Sorry. Sometimes we do respond to the other responses. Not on purpose. I failed to get the real point of your question the first time.

VRBO does not have any kind of backup. You would have to do some research and perhaps make a reservation at a nearby motel or something like that. Definitely call previous renters. The owner should be happy to give you that info.
cabovacation is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 08:26 AM
  #14  
cd
 
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What I like about VRBO is going to their websites, reading in depth about the property and viewing their photos. I judge a lot regarding the pictures. You know, that old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words? The quality of their pictures, I think, says a lot about them personaly. We have rented numerous times from VRBO and only once been disappointed. The couch was so dirty we had to go to the dollar store and buy a cover to go over it before we would sit down. For this reason I usually go with leather sofa's.
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Mar 10th, 2008, 10:03 AM
  #15  
WannabeinaMontserrat
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What kind of 'trouble' are we talking about? I don't know that I've ever stayed w/vrbo that someone was not available. If not a company, then the owners themselves or friend or something. It just is not practical to rent out a property (perhaps) several states away w/out having some kind of caretaker present. Based on the savings I've seen to date, I'll happily go out & buy a few rolls of t.p. (LOL)Kitchen & bathroom items can be totally hit or miss (& typically not expected, unless it states that they are).
 
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:15 PM
  #16  
 
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The great part of VRBO is you can speak to the actual owner. I suggest a phone call to put fears to rest. The VRBO owners we have used are happy to send more pictures and answer specific questions.
joebear is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 12:49 PM
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To WannabeinaMontserrat, I'm glad you have found significant cost savings with VRBO rentals. I'm saying that I have found the rental price to be about the same--in Arizona and Florida--with a rental company as with VRBO, and the transaction seemed smoother. I do appreciate that VRBO owners take pride in their properties and strive to give great service, but I've occasionally felt burdened by their concerns, and didn't save any money.

I gave an example of "trouble"--a bed frame collapsing and needing repair. The rental company was able to do it right away. Would a VRBO owner be able to do the same? Maybe, maybe not--it was a somewhat complicated repair.

I don't mind buying toilet paper, just don't want to make it my first priority on arrival!
marilynl is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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Hiya. We've done both realty company and vrbo and to be honest, i prefer vrbo. realty company seems to always be inflexible with rules while vrbo, since it's the actual owners, are more understanding. if you are concerned about certain aspects of the property, i would definitley call the owner and talk to her/him directly and ask your questions. For example, we rented a house in Yosemite when we got married and knew we would be cooking certain meals while there. I asked specifically about what was in the kitchen and the owners were very happy to tell me what was there and what was not - so I can be sure to bring what wasn't. It can be the same about your concerns of "what if this happens - who do we call". The owner can tell you who if not them. Like someone else posted, usually if they are not local, they have a care taker that can take care of the place and you. When renting in Napa, the owners were local and they even received and delivered a shipment we had posted for the latter part of our trip!

I have never had any problems with vrbo houses being misrepresented.
maria_so is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 02:17 PM
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i also want to add, that when we rented from a realty company in Fredericksburg Tx, when there was an issue with the downstairs toilet, the actual owners were the one to come and fix the problem - not the rental company.
maria_so is offline  
Mar 10th, 2008, 02:36 PM
  #20  
 
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Well, I guess the moral of the story is, you can't generalize! Service and trust issues aside, have you found vrbo rentals to be any cheaper?
marilynl is offline  

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