What is VRBO and have you used it?

Old Jul 17th, 2005, 10:10 AM
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What is VRBO and have you used it?

I keep seeing this mentioned on the board. What is it exactly? Have you used this?
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Heavens, VRBO is Vacation Rentals By Owner. The site has lists of rentals in many countries. You deal directly with the owner of the property rather than a property management company which usually means you pay less, but you have to be more cautious.

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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 12:29 PM
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Thanks Barbara. Has anyone used this service? I am thinking you would use it for longer stays in certain places? Like a week or more?
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 12:34 PM
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I've used VRBO and I think it's fine, but I'm not sure that I feel you usually get a better price through an owner on VRBO than through many agencies. In fact I tend to think most owners are listing them themselves so they can earn the extra money that would normally be kept by an agency.

Let's look at it this way. I have a condo to rent out. I can rent it myself for $1200 a week. I then meet the owners, handle the reservations, hire the cleaners (or clean it myself) and do the "legwork". If an agency were renting if for $1500 a week and giving me $1200 while they do all that work, don't you think I'd let the agency do it? Sure. But on the other hand, as an owner I'd think, "gee, I'll ask the full $1500, do the work myself and I make more." Why would an owner want to do extra work and still come out with less money? I firmly believe that if an agency says they'd get $1500 a week and keep 20%, then most owners would say "I'll rent it for that amount myself and do the work myself."

My biggest concern with VRBO is making SURE that the apartment is professionally cleaned between each stay. If they tell me I must clean it for the next occupant, then I know when I arrive, I'm depending on how clean the previous people got it. Did they have a plane to catch and not wash the sheets figuring "they don't look dirty?" I'll never know.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 01:00 PM
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I used VRBO two times in June, in Amsterdam and Paris. The places were impecccable, better than described online, and way cheaper than a hotel. I found it to be a great success. I might have been lucky....

But I 100% agree with patrick, you must hammer out some of the details such as : Will the place be "professionally" cleaned. Both of my VRBOs were spotless but I know for a fact that the owners employed a cleaning service.

When we lived on Kauai we had a guest house that we rented out on VRBO. The price of our cute and well equipped cottage was at least half the price of a hotel room. I did all the in-between-guest cleaning myself as it was on our property. Most guests left the cottage spotless, but of course I always cleaned again, laundered the linens, etc.

We used to rent the same beach house every year on Balboa Island (before VRBO). The rules were that the outgoing guests had to clean for the incoming guests. A you can imagine, different guests had different standards of cleanliness. I would have been very happy to pay a slighty higher fee to have a cleaning crew come in before our arrival.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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We recently used vrbo for a cabin in the wine country. It was by far the nicest place we've ever experienced.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 02:51 PM
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We used VRBO for rentals in south Florida and Maine and have no complaints or have never encountered problems. I have never read of anyone who had problems renting from the site.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 05:39 PM
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Type vrbo into the "search this forum" box as there are many threads about using vrbo. I'd say the overwhelming majority of the threads are positive.

I've rented through vrbo in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, and France at great savings and always use vrbo.com as a starting point for researching accomadations.
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Old Jul 17th, 2005, 06:12 PM
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Have used it twice and probably will not ever use it again. Once on Kauai and the place was not clean and not up to par so we moved without getting our money back from the owner. The other was in lake Tahoe and although the unit was nice, it needed a lot of repair and unfortunately do one told the owner until we did.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 05:12 AM
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i've used it a couple of times and don't have any real complaints.

my friend used it and had a bad experience with the owner who was a first time renter. he didn't like the fact that it was his responsibility to cleanup the place (on xmas eve) when the waterheater in the next unit flooded his.

he expected my friend who was paying good money to rent to put up with sopping wet carpet i mean you couldn't walk in the master bedroom without your feet getting wet really wet thru the holiday weekend and wasn't going to give her a penny off the price, just told her to leave an he'd prorate the stay, with her paying for the flooded day! (where was she supposed to find a place for her and her kids on xmas eve? when they were waiting for santa?- she had brought their tree with her ) nasty business with that one, on the other hand, the place was gorgeous. it's all about who you rent from.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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this is second hand info, but lots of people use VRBO in the puerto vallarta, mexico area and post favorable things about the experience.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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I use VRBO to advertise a beach cottage that I own/rent. VRBO is really a big advertisement for rentals. I used an agency when I first bought my beach cottages (they took 20%) but the problem that I had with them was that they, like most agencies in Florida, were real estate companies and they weren't as interested in placing rentals as they were in providing short-term housing for their real estate clients.

I've used VRBO and have not had any problems with it. I've had problems with tenants bringing pets to my rental without notifying me. Small dogs are the common culprit. People don't want to pay pet deposits, I suppose. One tenant left behind ticks. And I've had problems with tenants who had more than the agreed-upon number of occupants.

There are many other vacation rental sites but Fodors has lots of chat about VRBO, for some reason.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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I actually just made my final deposit for a vrbo rental we're doing in Cabo in August. The one thing I looked for was if they accepted credit cards. This person did thru paypal. Have heard too many bad stories where the rental wasn't up to par and the people had paid with a check and were basically SOL.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 08:45 AM
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I've used vrbo several times in Hawaii. In most cases I've dealt with the owner, but this last time it was a real estate company handling the rental. I always ask a ton of questions before renting and have never been unhappy.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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I've used VRBO a few times to rent condos in Florida and except for one small glitch that was an accident, everything went very well. I'd use them again. I like the fact that they have photos (most anyway) and that you can correspond directly with the owner. I won't rent from someone who doesn't post photos and most of them do.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 11:25 AM
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As for photos, VRBO charges a flat fee for a one-page posting plus three photos, then ups the charges based on additional photos. So if you see a place you think you like, email the owner and ask to see more photos.
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Old Jul 18th, 2005, 02:28 PM
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I've used VRBO for Hawaii and Longboat Key, FL. We're are now on our third year of staying at the Longboat Key place. Everything about the place is just wonderful. And the Hawaii place was fine, too.
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Old Dec 6th, 2005, 07:25 AM
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ttt
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Old Dec 6th, 2005, 08:15 AM
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For Hawaii you will typically pay less renting directly from an owner versus an agency. My agency takes 50-60% commission so I could discount 20 or even 30% and still be better off. However when renting directly need to be aware of these things:

1. If there is a problem - water heater breaks, light bulb burns out - who will take care of it ? All Hawaii rentals are supposed to have an on island contact.

2. If the condo becomes uninhabitable then the owner can't move you somewhere else. A larger agency may have more flexibility.

3. Get lots of pictures and ask lots of questions. Ask when the condo was last rennovated and what was done. Ask what extras are included. Get a sense for why the owner bought the property. Is it an investment where he is squeezing the last dollar or someone's second or future retirement home.

4. Larger agencies won't guarantee a particular condo, but renting directly you know where your condo will be and have some pictures of it.

5. Where is the owner located ? Is he on island ? In your hometown ?

Alan
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Old Dec 6th, 2005, 10:41 AM
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"Get a sense for why the owner bought the property. Is it an investment where he is squeezing the last dollar or someone's second or future retirement home."

First, if someone is renting out their property then they are doing it as an investment. Surely no one rents except to cover the mortgage or make money.

And I'm not sure why this matters anyway. Rents are competitive. If you feel like someone is asking too much then move on until you find one that's cheaper.

Check vacationrentals.com. It has many listings.
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