Tips For Renting Cabins, Beach Houses & Vacation Homes
With more people renting out their vacation properties and making their presence known online, renting a cabin or vacation home has never been easier. There are several reasons why renting a vacation property is better than staying in a hotel room. Convenient locations, particularly on the water, near the beach, or in the wilderness, offer easy access to your favorite activities. Renting a vacation property also gives your family more room, includes amenities that hotels don't have and can save you money if you're planning a longer stay. Renting is different than booking a hotel room, so if you're new to the process, learn a thing or two with this checklist of tips and tricks.
What Amenities Are Provided?
The most important thing to do before renting is to read the contract. Just about every legitimate rental property will have some paperwork for you to sign. Similar to an apartment lease, these contracts spell out all the property rules, expectations, penalties, deposit information and more. Some of these rules aren't debatable, while some of the rules might be open to negotiation. If you're worried about something like a maximum number of occupants, don't be afraid to ask if there's a little flexibility. If the contract doesn't clearly state what amenities are available, make sure to discuss that with the property owner. You don't want to rent a cabin and find out there's no good heating source inside, or buy a bunch of groceries and find out the stove doesn't work.
Are There Any Community Rules?
Researching the area you'll be vacationing is just as important as researching the property itself. If you're renting a cabin on a lake because you want to do some fishing, you'll want to know what kinds of rules and regulations that lake has for such an activity. Many states have different laws, so if you're going beyond your border, make sure you take some time to find out what you need to do to enjoy the activities you're planning your vacation around. As someone who rents their home out regularly, the property owner should be able to answer most of these questions. Still, it's always a good idea to do some research online to avoid any issues when you're vacationing.
What Resources Are Nearby?
While you're researching the area, try to figure out what kinds of resources you'll have access to in order to make the necessary preparations. If you're traveling to a remote location, you're going to want to know how far things like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants or hospitals are from the property you're renting. If you're bringing a pet, check to see if there's a veterinarian in the area. A good property owner will often provide emergency information, but you can also ask for that kind of information to be waiting for you upon your arrival. Map out your area to figure out essential questions like how much food you need to stock up on at the grocery store on the way.
What About Cleanup Or Damage?
One of the most confusing or disputed sections of vacation rental contracts concerns cleaning up at the end of the trip, and what penalties may arise from different levels of damage. Accidents can happen, and both parties need to be on the same page to avoid turning a simple issue into a legal battle. The easiest way to avoid any issues is to go through the contract with the owner and define the areas that might seem a little confusing. As long as you leave the property in the same shape you found it in, you should be alright. Keep in mind that neglecting to report damage might end up costing you time and money, so it's better to be up front about accidents, even the small things. If nothing else, chances are the property owner will appreciate your honesty.
Who Should I Call About Issues?
Nobody wants to think about the possible problems that may arise when renting a property, but one of the disadvantages about renting versus getting a hotel room is the fact that you might not have easy access to someone who can fix your situation immediately. If you get to the property and there's a problem with the plumbing, gas or electric, you'll need to know how to fix the issue pretty quick. You don't want to have to pay for these things yourself. Just bring up the possibility with the property owner before you sign the contract, discuss what would happen if there is an issue and what action you should take to fix the situation as quickly as possible. Hopefully there aren't any issues during your stay, but you never know. It's better to have a simple plan in place.