How to Rent a Summer Vacation Home

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If you’re planning on going away this summer, renting a summer vacation home can be a great alternative to staying in hotels, motels and hostels.

Providing you’re staying in one place for a while, renting a home can work out a lot cheaper than staying in other types of accommodation (especially if you split the cost between multiple people) and having your own home to stay in will be a lot nicer than living in a bland, generic hotel room.

Here are a few pieces of advice to follow when renting a summer home:

Finding a Summer Vacation Home

When looking for a summer vacation home these days, most people do it by going online. Websites such as HomeAway.com provide a list of vacation rental homes and provide you with the contact information (e.g. phone number, email address) of the owner.

These kinds of sites are great, as they allow you to filter your search to specific countries/areas, different types of properties (e.g. condos, apartments, villas, etc.) and different price ranges.

Another slightly more traditional way of finding rental vacation homes is to get a copy of the local newspaper for the area you want to rent a vacation home in and look through the classified ads and general advertisements for home rental offers. The one problem with this is that getting hold of a local newspaper can be tricky if you’re half the world away, but if you can it’ll give you a great idea of the kind of prices you can expect to pay and what’s available.

Summer vacation home

Book In Advance

As with most things, it’s best to book your summer home rental as far in advance as possible to avoid missing out on the best homes/best deals.

Jon Gray, Vice President of HomeAway.com (a vacation rentals website), says that on their website’s the average booking window 3 months (or 90 days). This means that most customers book their rental homes 90 days in advance.

Therefore, you should look to book your summer vacation rental home AT LEAST 90 days in advance, if not more.

This is even more relevant during the summer months, as they’re typically the busiest in the vacation home industry.

See the Property Before Renting

Jon Gray also recommends not renting a property until you have seen it in person. “Photographs can hide many important details about a property,” he says. “Rule of thumb is: Do not rent it unless you see it.”

Although in theory this is a great rule to stick by, if you live on the other side of the world then inspecting a property in person before deciding to rent it or not is unlikely to be a possibility.

Gray states “Almost all potential problems with a vacation rental stay can be avoided if travelers take the time to read reviews from previous guests and spend a few minutes to call the homeowner and chat about the property.”

Ask Plenty of Questions

Once you’ve found a property you’re interested in and got in touch with the owner (or the representing party), it’s a good idea to ask them any questions you feel weren’t sufficiently answered in the house’s description.

For example, will the house be professionally cleaned before you move in? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to enjoy peace and quiet while in the house (i.e. is there a train station next door, etc.)? Where will the security deposit be kept? Does the house come with linens/bed sheets, or must you provide them yourself?

The Rental Agreement

Each the owner of each vacation home (or the company representing them) will have their own policies regarding cancellations, check-in/check-out times, whether you’re allowed guests or not, etc.

Take the time to go through the rental agreement and make sure each of these things are expressed clearly so that you’re fully aware of what you need to do and what you can and can’t do.


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