So, what are the essential questions you should have answers to before you book your vacation home for the holidays?
1. What are the extra supplies that you will need to carry with you?
First time renters – beware. There are a lot of extra things that you will have to carry with you. Some of them are shampoo, other personal products, cereal etc. What comes along with the rental property depends on the vacation home owner, so don’t take anything for granted. And yes, carry extra toilet paper because you never know what is going to be provided or not. Just to be on the safe side, however, keep a box ready with a few essential items and either carry it with you or have it shipped there after informing the property owner.
2. How should you get the keys from the home renter?
Many people face difficulties simply because of miscommunication with their vacation home renters. You don’t want to be stuck on the doorstep waiting for the home owner to return home and unlock the door for you. So, either keep them properly informed about your ETA or arrange to pick up the keys from a lock box and have the combination sent to your mobile phone.
3. How to locate the property?
Make sure the home owner sends you the exact location of the rental property via Google Maps, just so you know exactly how to get there in the event that you can’t find the place and get lost. Also, use Google Earth to check out exactly where that property is situated so you won’t get fooled about ‘beachfront’ properties that are miles from the beach.
4. Who should you call when something stops working?
Just like how you always have emergency contacts stored in your mobile in case something breaks at home or just stops working, you need to have an emergency contact for your rental home as well. Make sure you get the phone numbers from the property owner before you arrive.
5. Does the property get satisfactory cell reception?
Now, for those vacation goers who want to get away from the buzz of the city and all the demands that come with it, this question might not seem so important. But, trust us, when you face an emergency of any kind, especially medical, you will curse yourself for not having asked the owner about this.
6. What exactly is the cancellation policy for the vacation home?
Always be sure that you find out about the home owner’s cancellation policy because life is uncertain and any number of unexpected things like sudden illnesses, extreme weather conditions or work demands could happen causing you to cancel your rental plans.
7. Does the house face problems due to insects and bugs?
This is extremely important to find out about, especially if you are a city dweller. You don’t want to come all the way to your vacation home in the countryside only to find the place surrounded by bugs or squirrels or critters! If these are found roaming about very commonly, you will need the number of a handyman or pest control service on speed dial.
8. When was the last time the vacation house was cleaned thoroughly?
Does this seem a bit weird to ask about? It might make you feel a little awkward to ask the home owner such questions but you absolutely need to. You don’t want to end up at your vacation house only to find it needing a good dusting and a whole lot of scrubbing.
9. Is there any clean up required before departure?
Make sure whatever clean up that you are required to do is clearly mentioned in the rental agreement. In some cases, the vacation home renter can be penalized for not cleaning the place up and may have to pay additional fees.
10. What are the complete fees included in the rental?
Most home owners will ask for a security deposit from renters before giving them the keys to the vacation home. Be sure to find out about the refund policy and if any deductions will be made for damage of property. Also, find out about additional fees like cleaning and maintenance.
Tips to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams
One thing you should keep in mind is to never rent a vacation home from a non-reputable website. Make sure you check the website for genuine customer reviews, ask around about the reputation of the website and check whether the website has a long online presence. Always read the reviews before booking a vacation home through a website. Many times, the website will have beautiful pictures and tempting descriptions but only real reviews from past visitors will let you know if you’re in for the real deal or not. Never ever wire cash to your vacation home owner because this is a well-known scam and many people are known to get taken in by fraudsters.
So, make sure to ask these 10 questions if you intend renting a vacation home. It is important to ask these questions to keep nasty surprises at bay, and ensure you have a wonderful and memorable vacation with your loved ones.