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Each summer, more and more Americans are opting out of spending their money at a hotel and taking advantage of one of the many rental homes available across the country. Not only can a vacation rental be less costly, but it offers a little more space to spread out and some of the amenities “just like home”. A vacation rental can also make you feel like you’re part of the community and you may end up getting more from your vacation than if you stayed in a hotel.
Before you’re quick to commit to the first rental you find, you must be smart about you choice. The wrong rental can make or break your summer vacation. Whether you’re a first time vacation home renter or rent one every summer, here are some tips for making the most of your vacation rental this year:
Plan Your Vacation Ahead
Like most vacations, you’re like to have a better experience if you plan ahead. Whether you’re interested in renting a home from Airbnb or want to stay at a house with a beachfront view, it’s a good idea to start looking at rentals at least six months before your vacation starts. Although some vacations end up being spontaneous, your rental options may be sparse and it may cost more, particularly during peak vacation season. If you’re unsure where to find a vacation rental, a quick internet search may overwhelm you with options, but a real estate agent, local advertisements, and sites like Craigslist are good places to start.
Do Research on Your Vacation Destination
When searching for a vacation rental there are thousands of pictures to browse through and as much as we’d like to trust that the picture tells the truth, many images can be deceptive. Even if the pictures present a vacationer’s paradise, don’t commit to the rental without reading reviews and getting all the information you need. While some vacation rentals may not have any reviews posted, contact the homeowner with any questions you may have. If you aren’t happy with the answers or if it seems like certain questions are being dodged, pass on the rental.
Understand the Vacation Rental Contract
Whenever possible, you should consider a vacation rental that has a contract that is clear and easy to understand. Rentals without a contract can be extremely problematic, particularly if the rental owner wants to hold you responsible for something after your stay. An appropriate contract should include your payment schedule, your responsibilities in regards to damages or if extra cleaning is needed, and any extras such as utility bills, cleaning, or internet use. The contract you sign should also clearly state what you can and cannot use in the home. Consider having an attorney, who specializes in real estate, review the contract and do not sign it until you completely understand or agree with the document.
In addition to having a contract, your vacation rental should include a contact number for any questions or emergencies, clear instructions on how to use appliances and other features around the home.