The cons of vacation rentals

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!  Last weekend RG and I took a trip to North Georgia to relax, hike and visit wineries.  The trip itself was so much fun we came home and started planning when our next trip back would be!  The only hiccup was the cabin we rented.  Have you ever rented through VRBO.com?  I have many times and usually have no complaints, there is always something you don’t expect or wish was different, but I have never thought about leaving and staying somewhere else…until last weekend.  Now I do tend to sometimes be dramatic and exaggerate but this time I am not.

This situation made me think…what should we expect when renting someone’s personal property for a short time?  I think there are a few key things that should be addressed from the beginning.  If you are a good property owner you probably already do these.

1.)    Location

If you are renting out a vacation property the location should be accurate in the online listing. VRBO lists properties by towns and cities so it is easy to search.  I don’t know about you but when I trying to find a place to stay it is usually for a specific reason and to be in certain location.  I completely understand the need to keep the address private until an agreement is reached, but the city/town/state/general area should be accurate.

This cabin was listed in Dahlonega Georgia, when in reality it was 10-15 miles outside of this town.  I know that doesn’t sound far, but on curvy mountain roads that is a good 20 minutes away.  It ended up not being a big deal for us because we were closer to the hike we wanted to do.  However, it definitely changed the wineries we were going to visit because we wanted to stay closer to “home.”  I just would have appreciated the description say “outside of Dahlonega” or “between Dahlonega and Helen.”

2.)    Cleanliness

Most times a cleaning fee is included in the rental…and while I absolutely hate paying these I do understand them.  I personally think there should be a fee to bring pets but that the cleanliness of the place should automatically be included.  I won’t get on my soap box about this, it is what it is.  However, when I pay $90 in cleaning fees upfront, my expectations are what anyone’s would be…that the house will be clean and comfortable to be in.  That was not the case when we arrived…there were cobwebs on most of the knickknacks and almost all windows.  There was grime coming up from the drain in the bathroom sink and all of the appliances could have used a good scrub (or three!).  I felt like I walked into someone’s grandmother’s house who had not had house guests in months.

3.)    Is your rental property also your storage unit?

Your vacation property should be your home-away-from-home, your vacation house…it should not be your storage unit. It should be decorated as you would decorate the house you live in everyday, not an overcrowded mess with mix-matched everything.  Your renters choose to stay on your property instead of a hotel for the home-like feel. You may have a theme…beach, mountain, etc., and that is part of the enchantment and makes the property unique.

I don’t even know how to explain how much stuff was in this cabin. The whole place was maybe 1,000 sq feet.  It was not a large cabin…but within the living room and kitchen there was a couch, twelve chairs, nine lamps and three no smoking signs.  Is this for real?!?!  Oh, it is!  And when you head to the screened-in-porch there are another thirteen chairs!  If this cabin slept 15 people I might understand it, but at the most six people could fit here and that would be stretching it. You couldn’t move around without bumping into something that just looked out of place.

No Smoking Signs
Nine lamps!

4.) Honesty

This is by far the most important quality from the beginning.  Every place has its downfall or quirk, but you don’t get anywhere by hiding it.  For example if your cabin is in the mountains where the temperature gets pretty low in the fall/winter months and it doesn’t have heat…tell the people renting from you!  Yes, that is what happened to us.  Fortunately it wasn’t that cold last weekend, but it did get into the 40s overnight and there was no heat.  There wasn’t even a thermostat…there was a wood burning stove, which we kept going the entire 48 hours we were there, but it did not do the place any justice.  AND there were not warm blankets, there were comforters that have probably been around since the 90s they were so worn and thin.

If the drive-way is extremely steep and it would be better to drive a four-wheel drive car, give someone a heads up!  Our car got stuck twice trying to climb the drive-way.

Wood burning stove for heat

I apologize for this rant, but I hope if you rent out a place through VRBO you take these things into consideration when you make your listing. Now, this cabin did have some very charming qualities and I think has potential to be very nice.  Someone just needs to go in, take out all of the appliance and furniture and start over!

A shabby chic bench among the clutter

I promise to have a positive recap of the wineries next…please come back!

Wineries and vineyards…next!

That is all.

What do you think about this post? Let me know!

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