What You Should Know Before Renting a Vacation Home

Why bother with a hotel when you could rent a house or a condo? It’s become a popular choice for those looking to avoid hotels and find a different vacation experience. If you’re thinking about joining the trend, there’s a few things you should know before signing the lease.

First, make sure you know what you’re getting. These days, most rental agents will post a number of photos of the house or condo on their website — some even offer virtual tours. Make sure you’ve seen at least one photo of every room, so there’s no surprises.

Second, avoid places with lots of stuff. This happened to my family and I when we first moved to the UK. We didn’t know how long we’d be living there, so we rented a furnished house. Often this is fine, but after a couple months we discovered that, to us, their “nice things” were really more like “annoying pieces of crap that clutter up the house.”

Third, try to chat with locals — especially if you haven’t yet visited your faraway destination. Visit local websites, post questions in chat rooms, on notice boards — wherever you might get a response. When I hadn’t yet moved to Texas, and was only visiting, I had luck doing this with the local theater companies. While they didn’t know me, and my reasons for being in town had little to do with live performance, their email address were posted online, and — because I come from a theater background — I figured we’d have similar interest. Generally you’ll find most people are happy to share information about their community when asked.

Above all else, trust your gut. You want to find both a destination and a rental property that suits your needs, and your budget. You’ll know when you find the right one.