By following specific vacation rental tips, you can minimize the odds of touristic inconvenience and financial losses that often happen when you find yourself in the wrong apartment at the wrong time.
These tips also give you insight into the way a vacation rental agreement works, what to check in advance, why you should check it, and the amenities that your dream home should feature. Vacation rental advice also covers things like pet provision in the rental contract, house access for infants, and family members with reduced mobility, and refund procedures for early departures.
Find Out What Is Really Included
Go through the vacation rental contract and run down the list of such important things as insurance, utilities, and personal liability. Ask the landlord the type of homeowner's insurance he or she has and whether the policy is still in-force. Ask to see a copy of the policy and ascertain what the policy covers-typically the structure of the house as well as its contents-and what it does not cover.
Next, ponder the question of personal liability. In other words, who is responsible, legally speaking, if something happens to you or someone on the premises during your rental period? Normally, homeowner's insurance would provide personal liability coverage to the landlord but not to you. So double-check that aspect before moving in.
The third thing to confirm is utilities, such as electricity, gas, water, and Internet access. Confirm with the homeowner whether utilities expense is integral to the rent amount or whether you would need to dole out extra cash to take care of those bills.
Get a Contact Person-Or Two
Remember when your parents would always tell you to call them if you have any problem whenever they were about to go out for the night or spend the weekend at another place? You should apply the same logic of caution when stepping into someone else's residence, even if it were a rental. Ask the landlord to provide a contact number you can call if you have a question or when something is not working-think dishwasher breaking or inexistent hot water. Also ask for an email as well as a second person to contact if the primary individual is not reachable.
Make Sure the Property is Family-Friendly
This point is very important, especially if you are travelling with kids or family members who have reduced mobility. Ideally, you rent a vacation home because you want to recreate the same ambiance you had back home, at least inside the house. So make sure the house's architectural configuration suits your offspring and other loved ones accompanying you on the trip. For example, if you have a 2-year old, look around the house to see whether there is a playground or determine whether you really want to rent a vacation abode with so much glass inside-again, going back to the liability question: who pays for the damage if your little one breaks something?
Clarify the Pet Question
If you have a pet, you would want to clarify the domestic-companion situation as soon as possible. Ask the landlord whether you can bring your four-legged loved one along, and if yes, what the implications would be. Some property owners would want to charge extra rent for the so-called inconvenience the pet would cause on the premises. If the landlord approves your request to bring a pet, tell him or her to amend the rental contract accordingly-I mean, he or she should add a specific "pet clause," which would protect you legally if something happens.
Seek a Refund if You Leave Early
I doubt that the landlord will grant your request for a refund if you leave early, but it doesn't hurt to ask. At least, you would know your options. This is especially important if you know you would depart from the rental abode before the 30-day period-or whatever time period you agreed to. A landlord typically would not accept an early-departure refund because he or she would have to spend time seeking another tenant to replace you for the remaining time, an exercise that is not always easy.
Cherish the Residence You Select
Make sure you love the house you choose. If you are going to live in it for the next three or four weeks, you might as well take your time, energy, and resources to find a residence in which you will enjoy dwelling. Don't fall for an apartment that is too cheap, even though-I know-the rules of game call for frugality. If the rent is too low, there might be something wrong with the house. This is especially the case if similar residences in the area fetch a substantially higher rent. Your goal here is to find an apartment that you like, at the perfect price and in the most ideal condition.
Book early so that you are not adversely affected by the laws of supply and demand that invariably push rent prices up as the date draws near. Shop around on portals as diverse as Booking.com, VacationRentals.com, and House Trip to see what is available out there, especially in your preferred destination, in terms of price, house type, and rental terms and conditions. I also like Vacation Rentals By Owner for its ease of use, diversity of properties listed, and quick turnaround in helping both the landlord and the prospective tenant to close a rental deal.
Pick a Popular Destination
Sites like Booking.com and Vacation Rentals can tell you rental destinations that are highly in demand and, therefore, feature an abundance of vacation rentals. Choosing a well-attended destination not only is good for fun and touristic camaraderie-who doesn't love those?-it is also good for your wallet. The laws of supply and demand would play in your favor because rent prices will be competitive if there are more rental properties available on the market.
States such as Hawaii, North Carolina, California, Florida, Arizona, and Nevada see a steady stream of visitors throughout the year, so it might best to start there. You can also check with your travel agent to learn more about popular rental destinations. Alternatively, you can read about the Trip Advisor's top 25 destinations in the United States and Maps of the World's top 10 tourist destinations in the world.
Don't select the first rental property that comes around. Take your time, do your homework, perform topological research about your preferred destination, and if you are heading overseas, check local conditions with the U.S. State Department-specifically, read the department's International Travel Information. Besides vacation rentals sites mentioned earlier, you can comparison search on Craigslist.com, VacationHomeRentals.com, and Apartments.com.
Send Money only after Signing Paperwork
Remember, you are not liable for anything until you delve into the rental contract, fill up an application, and submit additional documentation-such as passport, driver's license, name and address, and phone number. You can seek legal help if you are renting overseas and are not familiar with the intricacies of local real estate regulation. Don't let anybody coax you into signing paperwork because of so and so and so. Note that the world is full of scammers who can shrewdly come up with perfect, (in)valid reasons to convince you that sending cash before signing the contract is needed and normal in some parts of the world. Don't fall for that.
Looking for a vacation home rental and signing the related contract should be integral to the fun that a vacation expedition typically implies. Don't stress over the process and whether you will find a property that suits your needs. Rest assured: you will. But you have to start very early, do a methodical search offline and online, double-check price trends, and only send money after you sign the rental paperwork. If you are not sure about the whole process, don't hesitate to hire an attorney.