Whether you’re headed up to the mountains for a weekend in the fall, or renting a beach house for a week in July, vacation homes are an attractive and affordable option. In order to find the perfect vacation home for your family, however, you have to do some research that separates the top choices from the rest.
How to Choose the Right Property
Vacation property owners constantly search for ways to attract renters. Though undoubtedly will pull out all the stops to get potential clients to book their listing, you have to use your discretion.
Here’s are six crucial tips on how to choose the ideal property for your next vacation.
1. Pay Attention to the Details
It’s essential to keep in mind that a vacation rental property is not a hotel. There are some advantages to this, as well as a few disadvantages. But primarily what it means is that you’ll have to pay closer attention to the details.
Such elements as parking, housecleaning, and various amenities should not be taken for granted. Read all the details in the online listing with care, and pay close attention to the wording. Most rental property managers are fairly specific about what is and isn’t included.
2. Ask Lots of Questions
Not every listing will provide complete information and details, though. Sometimes you’ll need to ask.
Here are a few questions you might consider emailing or calling a host about:
- What sort of cooking supplies does the kitchen come stocked with?
- Is parking available? If so, how many spots?
- Do you place any restrictions on pets?
- What specific amenities are available on the property?
- Will the owners stop in during the stay?
- Are the neighbors comfortable with renters?
- Is there anything we should know about the property that isn’t included in the online description?
- Is there anything on the property we are not allowed to use?
A good rental property host/owner will be happy to answer your questions and provide ample details. If that person hesitant to answer your questions—or seems frustrated by your inquiries—this is probably a sign of things to come. You’re better off seeking other options.
3. Read Guest Reviews
Any property owner can create a tantalizing online listing that makes you want to book a stay. The question is, what’s the guest experience really like?
You can find out a lot about a rental property by browsing online reviews. Try to read as many as you can, paying close attention to both positive and negative ones. The more reviews you read, the more you’re apt to perceive trends.
4. Read the Fine Print
Most listings will have a section with details in fine print and rules. Don’t gloss over these; the smaller the print, the more important the information. If you have questions regarding anything covered in the fine print, ask!
5. Use Secure Payment
Whether you’re renting a vacation property through an established online platform, or doing it offline with an individual, always use a secure payment form when you commit funds. You also need to make sure you get a contract in writing.
6. Check In Before Checking In
Assuming you followed the advice in the second tip and asked questions prior to booking, you’ve conversed with the property manager or owner. Still, that could have been weeks or months before.
It’s a smart idea to check in a few days before your scheduled arrival and launch some fresh dialogue.
“Your first message should be a few sentences long that describes your group, the purpose of your visit, and most importantly, conveys enthusiasm,” says Andreas King-Geovanis, managing partner for a vacation rental company. “Hosts love to delight their guests and will go above and beyond—think early check-in, late check-out, or a complimentary bottle of wine—for guests who reciprocate positive energy.”
A host is much more likely to offer perks or give you the benefit of flexibility if you reach out and start a dialogue. A little friendliness goes a long way.
Choose Your Property Wisely
Not all vacation homes are created equal. As you plan your next trip, make sure you take the aforementioned criteria into account.
With the right attention to detail, you can turn what would be a good vacation into a great one your family will remember for years to come.