How to pick a great summer rental home

Posted on May 22, 2013 | Back to blog



Ready for summer vacation but haven’t found that perfect place to stay? Before you check in, check out these helpful hints.


What Everyone Should Know About Finding the Perfect Summer Vacation Rental


Ah, summer vacation. We dream about where we will go, where we will stay, and how everything will be perfect. Unfortunately, sometimes reality comes along for the ride and your temporary home is anything but a dream. But with a little planning, you can keep worries at home.


Know What You Want

It might sound obvious, but there are many options to choose from these days, so knowing what is important to you and the family will help narrow the field. Ask yourself some questions:

  • Do I want seclusion or to be near the action? As the old saying goes, location, location, location
  • Do I want to play in the waves all day or spend the day lounging by the pool?  This is a question that becomes important if children are involved, especially little ones
  • Do I want to park my car and not move it until the end of vacation or do I want to drive around and explore my surroundings? This may be an easy answer if you are headed to a familiar destination, but bears thinking about if headed somewhere new

Knowing what you really want out of your vacation is an often overlooked, yet essential part of a successful vacation. Don’t forget it.


Listen to Your Mama: You Better Shop Around

Prices aren’t the only thing you should shop and compare. Once you narrow down where you want to go and find a handful of prospects, then you have to start doing your homework.

  • Look for multiple pictures and reviews. First, you want to make sure you can find several angles of the rental. Look for various exterior and interior shots, including bedrooms, the pool (if applicable), and living spaces. Beware of any special coloring or lighting in the pictures as it may mean the owner is trying to hide something or oversell it. A fabulous unit doesn’t need overselling. Second, check some travel websites for reviews and references from prior tenants
  • Ask questions. Make a list of questions and contact the owner or the management company. It can be any question, whatever concerns you. Anything from where the closest grocery store is to what to do if you find an unexpected waterfall in the living room

Anything Can Be Negotiated

According to the US Census, there were over 3.6 million recreational units across the United States in 2000, with over 484,000 units in Florida alone. That’s a lot of competition. Most owners are open to a little negotiating. Discounts for advanced booking and waiving minimum stay requirements are just a couple of offers owners are using to draw in customers.


A rental agreement between the owner and renter isn’t unusual and just good business for both parties. Look for it to spell out the refund policy, payment agreement, and other responsibilities of each part.

Finding the perfect place to rest your head on vacation shouldn’t create more stress. With a little bit of legwork on the front end, you may end up with a picture perfect vacation.



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