You’ve decided to rent a villa, cottage or cabin for a summer vacation. Where do you look for one that is going to give you the idyllic time you and your family need? How do you know that the description you read on a web site or in an advertisement is accurate, or really gives the information you need before you part with your money? Here are a few tips to help you read between the lines and understand what the owner or agency is really telling you about the property you are interested in.
Vacation homes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are downright rustic, perhaps no more than a cabin to change in and sleep in at night, whilst others have more facilities and comforts than you have at home. Never forget though, that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and the place the owner has loved since childhood that holds a wealth of memories for him, might not match your dream of an idyllic vacation. And, bear in mind that although you would like to spend the majority of your vacation on the dock and in the water, sometimes the weather can be very unkind and you may need to move indoors to escape the elements.
So what should you look out for in an advertisement, or on a vacation rentals website:
o Descriptions that seem unnecessarily vague – this lets the owner or agency off any accusation of misrepresentation
o Smoking permitted – means the owners smoke and the place will probably have the all-pervading odor of stale tobacco, particularly the beds.
o Pets welcome – the owners probably have dogs, so will every renter in the summer, so to feel at home, you’ll at least need a Shitzu, if not a brace of Golden Retrievers.
o Use of expressions such as: ‘Traditional cottage furnishings’ – usually means green and yellow furniture previously enjoyed by a decade of domestic pets and the occasional rodent, orange threadbare carpet sporting a range of unidentifiable stains, and beds that would not have been out of place in a Victorian workhouse.
o ‘Rustic’ – as above but with little or no inside plumbing
o ‘Short walk to the beach’ – probably indicates you will need to take your hiking boots, and a bell to ward off bears along the way.
o ‘The waterfront is a ‘bit’ weedy’ – there is no waterfront, at least there may be some in the far distance after you navigate the marsh in your canoe.
This is probably a bit unfair – I too would tell my guests if there was a little weed at the waterfront, or if the beach was not right off the deck. However, be aware that vacation homes may not be all they seem from a web advert, or from a description given to you over the phone.
The best way of satisfying yourself that you are really getting what your family wants is to get a testimonial from a previous renter, so ask the owner or agent where you can see these. If the place is as good as it is advertised, they will not have a problem with sharing that with you.