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View Full Version : What makes you choose a Vacation Home?


sames1
06-17-2006, 11:25 PM
For those of you that pick vacation homes to stay in, help me to understand something please.

What makes you pick the vacation home that you pick? I mean, when you look through the list of homes on the vacation home sites, what sways you to choose one over the other?

The reason I ask is that I have a vacation home on a lot of those sites and sometimes I get picked and other times I do not. I'm trying to understand what people really want so that I get picked more often.

Brian Noble
06-18-2006, 10:38 AM
Constraint #1: location. I prefer to look at close-in-properties because we often take mid-day breaks from the parks.

#2: minimum # of bedrooms, bed configuration and baths. If there isn't at least one full bath per four people, plus at least an extra half bath, or enough beds for each kid, it doesn't matter how cheap it is---we won't fit.

#3: I look at price next. I do a little bit of looking to get an idea for what might be "good". (Pet peeve: why must owners advertise one price, and then quote a lower one when you mail them? I've seen this more than once, and it baffles me. If you want me to look at your property, don't overprice it on your web site---especially if you know you'll be renting it for less.)

#4: for properties with "good" prices and availability for my dates, I compare amenities. After this, it's usually a tradeoff between what's available, price, and location.

What we *don't* pay attention to:

* quality of furnishing (above a certain minimum): with young kids, we actually shy away from places wtih tons of high-end furniture---too much we can break/stain/otherwise ruin.

* properties that lowball rent, but then add in extra cleaning fees, unusually high pool heat, damage waivers, etc. We only comapre total prices.

* quality of web site---as long as it is informative, it doesn't have to be fancy/pretty. I don't expect a homeowner to hack HTML, though I'm sure many pay someone---it seems to me that, often, very high-end web sites are advertising investment properties, rather than someone's vacation home.

Brian Noble
06-18-2006, 10:41 AM
I should probably talk about amenities that we consider in the tradeoff:

* a good internet connection is pretty important. (I still have to keep up while on vacation.)

* a games room is nice, but not necessary

* a hot tub is nice, but not necessary.

* a few games/movies/books/etc. is nice, but not necessary.

* Above a certain size (and it's not *that* big. Maybe 32 or 36) I don't really care how big the TV is.

minnie29uk
06-18-2006, 04:26 PM
Im sure you post will be removed(for personal advertising).But in the mean time,I really ,really think price is the main factor for the majority of renters.Most people want a bargain and see financial saving as the deciding factor.
The other factors are more bonuses

Dont shoot me down,

Lynn :rotfl2:

Sandy22
06-19-2006, 02:21 PM
#1 Location - proximity to the parks and safe community.
#2 Price
#3 Pets allowed (this is the main reason I chose to stay off-site for my next vacation)
#4 Amenities: parking at door, # of bedrooms, how clean and fresh it looks in the pictures, access to pool...

And finally I spoke to the owners and made sure I felt comfortable dealing with them.

kilee
06-20-2006, 10:37 AM
This post will actually not be removed because there is no mention to which home this poster owns. Many of our villa owners indicate time again they own a rental villa. As long as there is no linking, advertising, or telling us which # on which site, the post is fine.

Now, that being said, I am going to move the thread back to the Orlando Attractions board. We are trying to keep the reviews board for reviews only.

Now, I'll answer the question too..... :teeth:

For us it's amenities vs price vs location. Whichever comes out w/ the best price but a lot of bang for the buck so to speak. We don't actually mind staying a little further out (like Davenport). However, I expect I'm going to get a lower price w/ better amenities, since I'm travelling. So far that has held true. I found I can rent a 5 bedroom house in something like Hampton Lakes or Calabay Parc in the moderate amenities range for $700 for a wk-- that same type of home w/ the same amenities will run me $1200 in Emerald Island. That being said I'm not going to use $500 in gas on my compact rental car driving the 15 minutes. So for us, we ultimately go for price I guess. However, I don't want a "base model" home.

Logans_Dad
06-20-2006, 11:14 AM
We are basically 1st timers (haven't been there in almost 20 years), and our decision on this Lindfields Villa (http://www.homes-disney.com/) was based on:

1. Location - it had to be reasonably (almost very) close to WDW. That meant that I had to be able to identify the address of the property, whether from the owner directly, or by searching a county assessor/appraiser website. I also didn't want to be adjacent or too close to the new Western Beltway.
2. Pool - this was a must and it had to be enclosed (screened). Given a choice between a villa with a pool and no spa or both a pool and a spa - guess which one got the nod. Pool heat was also critical and I'm not sold on electric heat pumps (or heat exchangers) so we pretty much stuck with gas pool heat (and expected to pay for it).
3. Price - this was a consideration, but I was fully expecting to pay something more for closer proximity, balanced against amenties, age etc.
4. Other Amenities - number of bedrooms was not critical in our (my :rolleyes1 ) decision as its only me, DW and DS. Having said that, the villa had to at least appear well appointed (not high end but reasonably nice), as well as well kept and maintained.
5. Owner(s) - it may have been unfair but I eliminated all those properties for which I didn't receive a 24 hour turn around to my inquires. If they didn't care enough to answer fairly quickly, what kind of owners are they and how quickly would problems during our stay be resolved. The owner we almost rented from in OIC was fabulous, but was eliminated as our 1st choice once I caught wind of the new Western Beltway (the house was within a couple hundred feet). And I had to be comfortable with the owner as well. I realize that renting a villa is a 2-way street, but its still a lot of money to send away on almost blind faith.

I also totally agree with the comments about TVs and movies - we're not going to WDW to be couch potatoes, but its nice to wind down a little before bed.

Hope that helps.

mareed
06-20-2006, 11:58 AM
I agree with the other comments here, but will add that I'll only consider a house/condo with a king-size bed in the master bedroom. Once a couple is used to a king bed, sharing anything smaller just isn't comfortable!

crjack
06-20-2006, 12:08 PM
We're probably in the minority but price is definitely not our first priority. We usually only do a full week vacation once a year (long weekend local after that) so I want to make sure the home we rent is a good fit for us and we're happy to pay a little more to get what we want.

We are renting our third home in July and after our first trip I learned to look at the size of the pool. Swimming is our favorite thing to do when we are relaxing and we like a big pool.

The first home we rented in Windsor Palms was lovely and the owners were great. The pool was a standard size for the development at that time. We then stayed at a different home, also in WP, and again lovely home with fabulous owners. The pool in home #2 though was bigger. Now we paid more for home #2 but for us it was worth it. I have given referrals out for both homes and owners but our preference is definitely for the home with the bigger pool. We live in Boston so our swimming season is limited and we don't have an inground pool so it's a real treat for us. For others, however, it's not a big consideration.

Location is important for us and again we know we pay more to be closer but as we have branched out to Universal, Sea World, etc. we like to be in a convenient development.

Location within a particular development is also something that I pay attention to now. Our rental in a few weeks is in Windsor Hills and some homes further back in the resort still had construction going on back when we were making reservations. Most likely it is complete now but rather than take that chance we went with a home closer to the main pool and clubhouse. We'll have children ranging from 9 -14 yrs. old and there is a path they can use to walk up to the game room, movie theater, etc. It's a nice option to have for the older ones as opposed to walking up with them or having to drive. Most homes have everything that you need but I do want to spend some time checking out the community ammenities as well.

Furnishings are not a big consideration for us....it's only for a week, not my permanent home so whatever works for the owner is fine with us. I do like a tv in the bedrooms as a treat for the kids, even though most nights they are too tired to use it. Again, they don't have it at home so they enjoy it on vacation.

I wouldn't rent a home unless the website was for the specific house I was getting. Fortunately the two previous homes we were in exceeded our expectations from what was on their home tours. For us it's important to know exactly what we are getting and we're happy to provide any necessary info for the owners as well.

We think the pool homes in greater Orlando are such a great value and we love having another family join us so we can rent one. Everyone has different preferences though so it can be hard to please everyone.

crjack
06-20-2006, 12:14 PM
We're probably in the minority but price is definitely not our first priority. We usually only do a full week vacation once a year (long weekend local after that) so I want to make sure the home we rent is a good fit for us and we're happy to pay a little more to get what we want.

We are renting our third home in July and after our first trip I learned to look at the size of the pool. Swimming is our favorite thing to do when we are relaxing and we like a big pool.

The first home we rented in Windsor Palms was lovely and the owners were great. The pool was a standard size for the development at that time. We then stayed at a different home, also in WP, and again lovely home with fabulous owners. The pool in home #2 though was bigger. Now we paid more for home #2 but for us it was worth it. I have given referrals out for both homes and owners but our preference is definitely for the home with the bigger pool. We live in Boston so our swimming season is limited and we don't have an inground pool so it's a real treat for us. For others, however, it's not a big consideration.

Location is important for us and again we know we pay more to be closer but as we have branched out to Universal, Sea World, etc. we like to be in a convenient development.

Location within a particular development is also something that I pay attention to now. Our rental in a few weeks is in Windsor Hills and some homes further back in the resort still had construction going on back when we were making reservations. Most likely it is complete now but rather than take that chance we went with a home closer to the main pool and clubhouse. We'll have children ranging from 9 -14 yrs. old and there is a path they can use to walk up to the game room, movie theater, etc. It's a nice option to have for the older ones as opposed to walking up with them or having to drive. Most homes have everything that you need but I do want to spend some time checking out the community ammenities as well.

Furnishings are not a big consideration for us....it's only for a week, not my permanent home so whatever works for the owner is fine with us. I do like a tv in the bedrooms as a treat for the kids, even though most nights they are too tired to use it. Again, they don't have it at home so they enjoy it on vacation.

I wouldn't rent a home unless the website was for the specific house I was getting. Fortunately the two previous homes we were in exceeded our expectations from what was on their home tours. For us it's important to know exactly what we are getting and we're happy to provide any necessary info for the owners as well.

We think the pool homes in greater Orlando are such a great value and we love having another family join us so we can rent one. Everyone has different preferences though so it can be hard to please everyone.

BonnieA
06-20-2006, 02:14 PM
Price and location are the deciding factors for me. If I find two houses with the same amenities for the same price, I will take the one closest to the parks. But if they are both in the same location then I will try and get the less expensive one if there is a price difference. Don't know what I would decide if they were both on the same street for the same price.

Snoopymom
06-20-2006, 02:47 PM
We always seem to have different priorities depending on who's coming with us and our budget, (once they wanted to have a fishing lake, LOL) but it can be overwhelming, so I usually start with the owner direct web sites that let you put in your criteria and then they email you back with availability, price and their websites with pictures. It helps if they give me a lot of info and the price is better then what is listed on the website even if it's just a little better.

As far as furnishings, we look for carpet rather than tile so that the little ones or the grandparents don't slip, a shady area by the pool, clean, uncluttered and simple, don't want to worry about breaking anything.

It's not one of our priorities, but it sure was fun having Disney themed rooms for the kids one time...if felt like we were getting something extra for our $, and it makes a home more memorable when you're looking at so many.

We received a Christmas card and a big magnet from one owner with pictures of the home on them, so that might be an idea to get repeat business, since a year or two later they may not be able to find the house again.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

minnie29uk
06-20-2006, 03:00 PM
We're probably in the minority but price is definitely not our first priority. We usually only do a full week vacation once a year (long weekend local after that) so I want to make sure the home we rent is a good fit for us and we're happy to pay a little more to get what we want.

.

No,I totally agree.Ive lost count of the number of times renters have said theyll book mine,but at a lower price.So in my experience,it is the price,

Lynn :dance3:

UKDEB
06-20-2006, 03:29 PM
I think you've got your answer as to why you sometimes get picked and sometimes you don't - we've all got differing reasons for choosing the homes we do. For the most part, my requirements are diametrically opposed to those of Brian Noble! To further complicate the matter, my 'must haves' aren't the same now as when we first started renting villas. Each time I add a few more to the list and, in many ways, I wish I was new to the whole thing with few expectations.

Proximity to WDW is not an issue. When we first started renting, we didn't even consider it. Then we became famiiar with the area and it became a big deal. As you'll see from my signature, we've stayed at Formosa Gardens many times. This is partly due to its location, but also because, for a long time I've considered it to be the premier sub-development. Latterly, I'd have happily stayed further out if I could have secured the same level of accommodation for a lower price.

In July 2003 and January 2004, we stayed at neighbouring villas on FG owned by the same person. He took us to Reunion (where he was buying) to show us around and we viewed a model home. From thereonin I didn't want to stay anywhere else and, after much internet searching, we found a private rental at an unbelievable price which we stayed at in January this year. For now, nothing else will do. We've booked to stay at another property there in October.

I want to stay in a new property with the highest possible level of furnishings. For that reason, I've never bought my own property and I've never rented the same property twice. Price is not the overriding factor, but that's not to say it isn't a consideration. I found a property on Reunion which I was desparate to rent, but the owners had made the decision to enter it into Reunion's rental program and they wanted $6000 per week. Now, I am known for being extravagant and having what I want, but that is just ridiculous. Through sheer tenacity I've managed to find an equally amazing property for $2400 a week.

I'm certainly not your typical renter, but I wonder whether there is such a thing? Maybe that's the problem. My list of 'must-haves' now includes (in no particular order):

* Top of the range fittings and furnishings (and 'Floridian' decor is a complete no-no - I immediately close down any web page with any hint of it);
* New property;
* Flat screen TVs in all rooms;
* Games room (but not just a games room - it has to be a proper room within the house itself, not simply a converted garage);
* Spa;
* At least 2 huge master suites with king-sized beds;
* Computer with internet access;
* Keypad access (don't want to be spending any part of my vacation driving to a Management Company's offices);
* Pool not overlooked by another property (except to either side). Preferably a lake, conservation area, golf aspect to the rear;
* Upgraded pool and lanai. Why is it that so many owners either spend a fortune on the pool or the furnishings, but not both?

I don't understand owners who don't present their properties in the best possible way. That doesn't necessarily mean the flashiest websites, but the photos absolutely need to be top qualilty and large. Get them taken professionally unless you are a very accomplished amateur.

Figment22
06-21-2006, 01:15 PM
I agree with the other comments here, but will add that I'll only consider a house/condo with a king-size bed in the master bedroom. Once a couple is used to a king bed, sharing anything smaller just isn't comfortable!
This is actually my prime consideration also. It is just amazing to me how many homes/villas have only a queen bed in the master. I sleep on a king at home; I definitely want one on vacation. Two sinks in the master bath is something I'm used to at home also so that's another thing I look for.

I also like a TV in every bedroom. My kids like to bring their Game Cube/X Box with them so for us this is a must. If you provide a video game system, keep it updated. The last villa we stayed at had only Playstation, not PS2 so that's a negative. HBO's a plus too, especially during Sopranos season. :teeth:

hollyb
06-21-2006, 05:49 PM
This being our first time renting a house. We are looking for a great price, safe neighbor (keeping fingers crossed) and the most important part is a great inclosed pool. Our kids are little fishes and love to swim. For us driving 15-20 minutes to the park isnt a big deal for us.

*shandi*
06-21-2006, 06:21 PM
Wh have rented three consecutive years in February. The last two years were the same villa.

For us, price does play an important part. But also, I look for a privacy fence around the pool area. A game room would be nice since I have two children ages 12 and 9, but I avoid the ones that have converted a garage as we drive down and I don't like to leave an out of state vehicle parked in the driveway for all to see. ( I know the locals know which are the rentals, but still....)

Also, the number of bedrooms and whether the bedrooms other than the master have anything besides twin beds.

And we don't mind driving a few minutes to get anywhere.

Not real picky when it comes to furnishings, but do like it to look nice.

Robinrs
06-21-2006, 06:22 PM
We leave next week on our 34th trip since 1999 and our 3rd time renting a house.

By now I not only know what I want I don't settle for anything less!

I like homes in the Sunset Lakes, Lindfield's, Windsor Hills area, only because I know that area and can get around better.

I like everyone in my party to have their own room AND their own TV. My only son is a teenager and I prefer NOT to watch what he watches!

I like a private pool not overlooking any one elses'. We are early morning people and even at home we hit the pool at about 6am and need to be away from people!

I also prefer owners who don't want their money too far in advance and accept American Express. I have a flexible schedule and cannot afford to lose my money if I have to reschedule.

Also, now I need high speed internet access. I can do my job on the company laptop and I get PAID for it! After everyone is down for the day I put in a few hours a day and it's great to be paid while on vacation.

I don't need a game room and don't like homes that have changed their garages to anything other than a garage. I also don't like the laundry in the garage.

Yes, I do have a LOT of criteria but find LOTS of houses that fit my criteria everytime. It's so much fun to search for them and when I do find one it's like finding hidden treasure!

florida_dreamin
06-25-2006, 12:05 AM
Here is my take:

When you share a cost between three families (sister, parents and me) the difference bwtween 600 and 1200 is only 200 a piece for a week. Realistically the beach near us (Nags Head) rents a comparable house with pool for 4000 a week. Cost becomes less of an issue when we look at it like that.

The size of the pool area DOES matter. Whenwe are not at the park, and not taking anap from exhaustion, that is where we are.

When we visit Mickeyland, the size of a TV does not matter. I have a 57" at home and do not need that on vacation. We spend the time talking and swimming.

Location has become important. In the past we have rented homes near Medievil Times, but now look towards Clermont due totraffic.

We do not need a game room since I have a pool table in my house and we do that when we are not on vacation.


What we look for is a clean house, in a decent area within 15 minutes from the park.

Hope this helps!

magicmouse2
06-25-2006, 02:37 AM
I look for price and amenities anywhere within 25 mins of WDW is fine

must haves in order for me

non smking
3-4 bedrooms
Hot tub and large pool not overlooked
lakeview
games room including pool table
decent furniture and decor

When I eventually purchase a vacation home these are things that I will be looking for. Also really nice landscaping.

JohnnySharp2
06-25-2006, 07:04 AM
Location - we prefer to be just off the 192 close to restaurants, supermarkets, Disney and the I4.

South facing pool - ensures you get the sun all day

age of home - prefer a fairly new villa

carpet in the lounge - tiles not suitable for our son

fenced pool - ensuring total privacy

price - only 3 of us so we do want value for money

ceiling fans - find these are a big help in keeping the villa at a nice temperature, especially at night

TV in the bedrooms and VCR/DVD player in the lounge - for our son's benefit

Brian Noble
06-25-2006, 07:58 AM
One other thing I've noticed: I tend to gravitate towards houses where the owners actually stay in them from time to time. In other words, I prefer homes where the owners are using short-term rental to help finance their own vacation lifestyle, rather than homes that are pure investment plays. The "real homes" often have little touches that make them much more pleasant for a family on vacation than the "investment homes" do. For example, "real homes" often have some neat serving pieces in addition to cookware and table service---a couple of chip-n-dip plates, whatever. "Real homes" also have some unusual quirks, too. That's either part of the fun, or really annoying, depending on your own point of view. We like it, but we also rent private homes when we visit the outer banks, and so have come to enjoy these personal touches.

Even if you view your home as primarily an investment, you should consider staying in it (and possibly even hosting guests with you) from time to time just so you can see it from your renters' perspective.

isla bonita
06-25-2006, 08:45 AM
Brian great minds think alike. Every time we go down I try to pick people's brains for we do not all vacation alike.

When we first started down I refused to cook. OK but when my friend Lori and her family came she made a big pasta lunch for every one. We had to eat in shifts the pans where to small.

Good way to find out you need bigger pans seeing our home has a 12 adult occupancy. Every time we are down we add to our home. I am allowed to bring 15 pcs. of luggage on our SW direct flight. I am always needing my family and friends to also take things down.

I ask all guests when they return how things were and if they think the house needed any thing. I call when they first arrive to see if they have found items. I am not down there but 27 days a year so once I leave really who know where things end up in the home.

To be honest every time I go down I have to go through items make sure everything is in good condition. My biggest replacement item is spatulas. I think they use them on the gas grill? Of course not sure but man are they in rough shape all the time. And yes grilling utensils are there. Just might not find them in time.

Our extra touches I hope like you have stated add to your vacation. My personal favorite is the blender. We have owned our home for 2 years and have had to replace it already so I am guessing it is every one elses also. I also like the juicer because we pick our own fruit and it comes in handy. The kids like to take turns. You need all the help you can get to make fresh lime juice for an awsome Margarita!

Just so you know the kids get there smoothies also from their labors. LOL

HenDuck
06-30-2006, 02:21 PM
We usually go with my parents, and next time, with DS and DB too. Our list of "must-haves" is:

1) Two "real" king master suites with en-suite baths (not one real master suite and another regular room with a king bed smooshed into it). :rolleyes:

2) Non-smoking; no pets allowed.

3) Pool and jacuzzi. Must have heat. My mom likes the jacuzzi HOT, even in the summer! :smooth:

4) No game room in the garage! We like to park in an enclosed, secure garage.

5) A/C (no brainer)

6) full-sized washer and dryer

7) Full-sized fridge, range, oven, micro, and dishwasher

8) BBQ grill

9) No back neighbors

10) in the Splendid China area (Windsor Hill, Formosa Gardens, Indian Creek, Emerald Island, etc.)

11) Local management company

12) security system (for pool and whole house).

13) large tv in family room and at least tvs in the two master suites. :happytv:

14) wireless access and playstation/game cube is a plus! :teeth:

Having said all that, we usually split the bill with my parents. So we're looking at spending around $1,400 per week, so $100 per family per night (for up to 5 bedrooms and 4 baths). (Taxes and pool heat can be extra.) While I'm not opposed to paying more than that, I have found that this price range offers a lot of options for what we want.

I would love to own a vacation home in Kissimmee one day...I'm still working on DH on that one! :teeth:

sames1
07-02-2006, 09:33 AM
Wow...

I never expected such conflicting answers. My management company is screaming at me to add a game room for example, but some people don't care and some prefer not to have one.

Some people want new furniture and some say they don't want fancy furniture and items that the kids can destroy.

Some people must have a hot tub and big screen tv, other's don't care at all.

Price wasn't even consistant. Some wanted the best deal, others cared more about location and other factors.

What this has taught me is that I can't expect to please everyone, so I must find my niche with my home. What I plan to do is make it the way I want it for myself and find guests that like what I have to offer. It seems like the best way to go.

Recently I added wireless high speed internet . That is something I personally can't live without and something I wanted for me. People like my parents don't even care about that and would rather have more pots and pans or flowers on the table.

Thanks for all the comments. I would love to hear more opinons as well. Some of you mentioned things I had never considered.

mbb
07-02-2006, 10:16 AM
...What this has taught me is that I can't expect to please everyone, so I must find my niche with my home. What I plan to do is make it the way I want it for myself and find guests that like what I have to offer. It seems like the best way to go.....

Exactly:)

Even WDW with all their different resorts can't appeal to everyone:)

I'll echo everyone's comments about what they look for in a home away from home..and obviously, different for everyone.

I didn't see anyone mention how an owner contacts a potential renter - even before any deals are done.

It drives me crazy to send out enquiries to homeowners, and get back a "electronically generated" response. I don't mind the "cut and paste" home description, but give me a little more of who you are, and why I should rent your home...

I appreciate the "Got your email, but we don't have availability for your time frame...our neighbour's own this home, perhaps that would work for you" kind of stuff.

I like the owners who tell me that they have everythig on our needs/wish list, but oops, they don't have a gas barbeque...but they can make arrangements for us to have one (if the developpment permits it)

We ask for a total price for our time frame, including taxes, and pool/spa heat. Please don't ask me to figure out how much $96/night, plus tax, plus pool heat, plus taxes on that would be for Xamount of nights...and if you're willing to be flexible on price, tell me what that is up front. Directing me to the website and saying "we can deal" is a deal breaker, as far as we're concerned:) If we're getting an off season/long stay discount, tell me what it is so we'll know.

I spend too much time and eye strain looking at homes to have to do the math too!! :goodvibes

We're great renters, thrilled to be guests in your home and we take care of your home (better than ours at home, I think!! ) :teeth: And sadly, I know not all renters are like us.

The best part for me is walking my little family in the door, and they're excited that "all this is ours??!! It's lovely, it's comfortable!" while we're at the one place we truly relax....because I know there's an owner wondering every day if my little family is having fun on vacation.

And if they're wondering, they'll zip us an email (because there is high-speed), or give us a quick call(and free international/Canada/US calls) to see "how everything is??"

:teeth: :teeth:
It's all about the service....before, during and after..the sale:)

HTH!!

:sunny:

JANNYANS
07-02-2006, 10:57 AM
posted by mbb
I appreciate the "Got your email, but we don't have availability for your time frame...our neighbour's own this home, perhaps that would work for you" kind of stuff.

Unfortunately there are many owner sites that do not allow you to do that-pass the inquiry onto anyone else .Those owners who do and are caught doing it generally lose their place on the sites.


give me a little more of who you are, and why I should rent your home.


Are you saying you like a little background info on the owner family and so on?
Do you /would you ever "talk " to an owner on say MSN if they give you their log in name to get to know them ?

mbb
07-02-2006, 11:46 AM
posted by mbb
I appreciate the "Got your email, but we don't have availability for your time frame...our neighbour's own this home, perhaps that would work for you" kind of stuff.

Unfortunately there are many owner sites that do not allow you to do that-pass the inquiry onto anyone else .Those owners who do and are caught doing it generally lose their place on the sites.


give me a little more of who you are, and why I should rent your home.


Are you saying you like a little background info on the owner family and so on?
Do you /would you ever "talk " to an owner on say MSN if they give you their log in name to get to know them ?


I have sent inquiries to owners after discovering their homes on their own private websites, not through a "rent direct" site..a couple of them passed along villa alternatives for us

I think that's actually how I ended up looking at homes through OV.

Yes, I do appreciate that little bit extra background info on the owner family....for instance, we thought for a bit last year that we might have to take our dog along with us, and I explained why in the GE that I sent along.

A few owners - that may have previously said "no pets", responded that they knew of someone with a therapy dog, or their aunt had a little dog like that, or whatever:), and could understand our situation and would okay the dog..along with the cut and paste home description, and their prices. Others replied along the same lines, but "sadly, we're unable to accept your reservation" kind of thing.

Or an owner, in the cut and paste, or on their site, tells us why they bought a home in Florida, how their kids enjoy the pool, that they have crayons and paper available in the house, how they vacation, etc, etc..

I guess if I owned a home, and rented it, that's what I would do.

And naturally, I'll "connect" with owners that operate along those kinds of lines.

I'd imagine that would drive some potential renters nuts though!!:teeth:

We like seeing pictures of owners and their families in the homes we rent...we like signing the guestbook..we like feeling that the house is a loved, cared for home.

It's easy to vacation in a place like that.

Would I chat with an owner on MSN? Sure:)
Do I feel that's necessary? No.

How they respond to our email inquiries is enough for us to know whether we go further.

(I've already decided if we like the house:) )

I *think* though, that we may be atypical renters!! :teeth: :teeth:

Sorry that's so long, does that make sense? I hope it helps!:)

:sunny:

sames1
07-02-2006, 12:06 PM
Exactly:)
We ask for a total price for our time frame, including taxes, and pool/spa heat. Please don't ask me to figure out how much $96/night, plus tax, plus pool heat, plus taxes on that would be for Xamount of nights...and if you're willing to be flexible on price, tell me what that is up front. Directing me to the website and saying "we can deal" is a deal breaker, as far as we're concerned:) If we're getting an off season/long stay discount, tell me what it is so we'll know.


I understand. I was just complaining that people requesting info on the home expect me to be a calculator when the rates are right there on the website, but see your point. The frustration for an owner is writing up replies over and over, calculating rates, then never hearing from those people again. This is especially hard at the moment for be because I broke my hand and it takes me forever to type. I'll take that as something I need to work on doing better.

As for getting to know the owners, yes, I agree that can help. I have not gone into detail with guests about my situation, but perhaps I should.

Pets. I am torn about letting pets in the home. It would rent more often, but I worry about the smell and damage. Some people won't rent a home if a pet has been there. My brother in law can't breathe if the home has pet hair and it's actually dangerous for him.

mbb
07-02-2006, 12:36 PM
I understand. I was just complaining that people requesting info on the home expect me to be a calculator when the rates are right there on the website, but see your point. The frustration for an owner is writing up replies over and over, calculating rates, then never hearing from those people again. This is especially hard at the moment for be because I broke my hand and it takes me forever to type. I'll take that as something I need to work on doing better.

As for getting to know the owners, yes, I agree that can help. I have not gone into detail with guests about my situation, but perhaps I should.

Pets. I am torn about letting pets in the home. It would rent more often, but I worry about the smell and damage. Some people won't rent a home if a pet has been there. My brother in law can't breathe if the home has pet hair and it's actually dangerous for him.

And that's why we as renters need to be better at our etiquette, and respond to homeowners we recieve replies from.

DH and I try to get back to the owners we receive "good emails" from, ie, not the "electronic" reply.

(And we'd always rather leave our dog at home - I enjoy the vacation from scooping!! LOL!!)

It's all about good business practices, from both ends:)

...and hope your hand gets better ASAP!! :goodvibes

:sunny:

BonnieA
07-02-2006, 01:27 PM
I responded to an owner that I had chosen another house that was closer and I wouldn't be staying in his home. He wanted to argue with me that his home was not far away. I knew exactly where his house was and while it was not "that far" away, it wasn't what I wanted this time. - I told that owner that I was familiar with the area and I would keep his house in mind for my next vacation.

Another owner called me a cheapskate because I told him what kind of an offer I already had and was simply enquiring if he could meet or beat it. - I emailed him back that his reply was "beautiful" and I would be sure to recommend him on all the boards (yeah, right).

On the whole, most of the owners I have dealt with have been curteous. And those places where I have stayed have been wonderful.

UKDEB
07-03-2006, 12:10 PM
I spend hours...ney, weeks, months :teeth: trawling the internet for villas. "Click". "Floridian decor :rolleyes: ". "Close webpage". :badpc:

I will only email owners when I am absolutely certain I want to rent their home. I can't imagine how demoralising it must be to answer enquiry after enquiry and then not hear from the enquirer again. What follows, though, is that owners must give me all the info I need on their websites. It doesn't necessarily need to be the most sophisticated site, but it does need to have top quality photos of all rooms and a floorplan. The pool photos must include a view. I'm suspicious of those cleverly taken shots which show just the pool.

sames1
07-03-2006, 08:29 PM
I responded to an owner that I had chosen another house that was closer and I wouldn't be staying in his home. He wanted to argue with me that his home was not far away. I knew exactly where his house was and while it was not "that far" away, it wasn't what I wanted this time. - I told that owner that I was familiar with the area and I would keep his house in mind for my next vacation.

Another owner called me a cheapskate because I told him what kind of an offer I already had and was simply enquiring if he could meet or beat it. - I emailed him back that his reply was "beautiful" and I would be sure to recommend him on all the boards (yeah, right).

On the whole, most of the owners I have dealt with have been curteous. And those places where I have stayed have been wonderful.


I can't imagine arguing with a guest or calling them cheap. They either want my place or they do not. I just move on. I do know that on some owners boards some talk of how they "get even" with guests. Doesn't seem healthy to me.

florida_dreamin
07-04-2006, 07:30 AM
Regardless, a house for Disney is a steal in the grand scheme of things. A feww hundred difference really just equates to one dinner show out. Nags Head is about 90 minutes from my home and a home with a pool not even waterfront goes for 3500 a week. That is more than my entire vacation budget for two families most trips!

dougsmom98
07-04-2006, 09:21 PM
I have been looking at vacation rentals for months hoping that I will have it narrowed down by the time I get some definate flights. The things that I have been looking for include in no particular order:
-the number of bedrooms that I need
-a king sized bed in at least one of the bedrooms - when we thought my in laws were coming with us I was trying desparately to find a house with two king beds.
-I prefer TVs in each of the bedrooms
-Location is not a huge factor for us
-if two homes are comparable in every other way, one with a hot tub would win out
-Because I would be going in the winter, pool heat has to be reasonable.
-I hate it when owners don't include the tax in their rates
-I skip over websites that list the different fees for low, mid and high seasons but then don't bother to indicate when those time are. I don't want to have to email someone about price when I am in the narrowing down proccess.

Hope this helps.

lovesmurfs
08-28-2006, 10:09 PM
Didn't read through everything, but didn't see the online calendar mentioned.

For us, we looked at price/size/amenities first, then whether or not I could see availability online. Responsiveness from the owner was important, but not a deciding factor.

I didn't even send an inquiry to any place that didn't offer online calendar lookup. I would have booked online if that had been available, too.

JANNYANS
08-29-2006, 02:38 AM
Lovesmurfs -a lot of owners don't like having calendars -unless the site they list on insists -because it can help identify when your home is vacant to the less savoury and honest people that are around-its not difficult to track down where a home is if you know the area .

lovesmurfs
08-29-2006, 08:37 AM
Lovesmurfs -a lot of owners don't like having calendars -unless the site they list on insists -because it can help identify when your home is vacant to the less savoury and honest people that are around-its not difficult to track down where a home is if you know the area .

Never thought of that. Great point.

dawnball
08-29-2006, 11:37 AM
We picked a development (windsor hills) based on amenities (primarily the pool in this case, since we wanted a pool with popjets and a large zero-depth entry area for the toddlers) and location. Then I made a general request for availability and price information via windsorhillsrent - which I wouldn't do again - I got 60+ replies.

I winnowed down the replies via these criteria:
If they called when I had explicitly requested email only - roundfile
If they allowed smoking or pets - roundfile
No internet access - roundfile - I don't care if it's wireless, but we need highspeed access.
I only wanted to pay by American Express, and I wanted to deal with an owner in the US. I ended up picking an owner who didn't charge a credit card fee - but that was coincidence more than anything else.
Bed/bedroom count - I don't count a fold out couch as a bed, but some people do. We also didn't need "extra bedrooms"
Credit card imprint instead of deposit for damages (built-in damage waiver wouldn't have bothered me)
Some amalgamation of price and a feel for the owner. I didn't pick the absolute lowest price - I picked the lowest priced owner that had given me the impression of caring about the property and making sensible rules.

I calculated out total prices, and it didn't bother me to have it listed as "rental fee, cleaning fee, pool heat, credit card fee" it did bother me when people said "plus taxes/fees" without disclosing amounts or percentages. Having the price pre-calculated was easier, but I noticed a slight bias on my part toward owners who did the calculation.

Having stayed there - we really liked having carpeted bedrooms and a tile living area. It made cleanup after toddler meals easier. I prefer smaller furniture than seems to be typical because the living room was very crowded with 7 people in it. The unit slept 8, but only had dining room chairs for 6, etc.

marciemi
08-29-2006, 03:47 PM
We're renting a home for the first time next July, so I'm not sure my choices are correct yet! But, I was looking for:

Location - more in terms of established areas that I'd read good things about with gated access, clubhouse than just distance - I narrowed it down to a few and ended up with Emerald Island

Price - like others, compared to staying onsite, most homes seem like a good deal, so it didn't have to be the cheapest overall, but if I found two in similar areas with similar amenities, I would obviously choose the less expensive one

King Bed - like a couple people above, this was a deal breaker. No king bed, no way

Games Room - with 3 teenage/almost teenage boys, somewhere for them to do something in the house, out of the sun, not involving video games was critical. It's nice that some homes offer video games as well, but I'd use those as a backup just in case someone got really sick or something.

Pool - maybe I am clueless, but I never considered size, what it backed up to, furnishings, etc. The pictures look big enough, especially since at home we only have one of those little "easy set" pools that comes up to their thighs. Has to be more fun than that! Again, being used to staying onsite, even if it backs up to another pool, so what? Unless someone is making HUGE amounts of noise (and this would bother me in any case and pretty much always happens at resorts anyways!), I probably wouldn't notice.

Furnishings - I also really don't care about these, but would shy away from anyone who stressed the cost/extravagance of theirs because I would also be afraid of breaking them. I will throw in one consideration though no one's mentioned. Some families have children of one gender. If you do an entire room or two completely in princesses, I will pass on it. Maybe it balances out and someone with 2 preschool girls would jump at it, but I know I wouldn't book it. If you have to do a theme room (I don't feel it's necessary, but my kids are older), you can't go wrong with Mickey.

I agree that I want to see the price upfront without having to email first for confirmation. I understand that there might be some minor variances, but I should be able to get more than just a general idea from the webpage. And I agree a good website makes a huge difference. The more pictures the better. And long descriptions make me more intrigued with your house. A simple "4 bedrooms" just doesn't tell me enough. Having just purchased a new house (a LONG way away from Florida, let alone Disney unfortunately), I just can't understand how a realtor can leave a listing at 1 picture of the front and a 2 line description. Now in that case I can have my realtor at least get me an info sheet if I'm really interested, but in a saturated market like Orlando for rentals, I'm just going to pass if I can't tell from the description if it has what I want or not.

Having a son with asthma, I didn't want homes that allowed pets or smoking, but can't actually recall finding any that did so it wasn't a problem. Wireless internet I think is becoming more and more critical, but wasn't something I really thought about. Same with TV size or location. I'm assuming any house has at least two; the kids can deal with it if they need to watch TV. I'll be sure to post and let you know how it goes after our trip next year!

Sarahboo
03-11-2007, 04:40 PM
This will be our second time in a vacation home near DisneyWorld. The first time we were primarily concerned with location, price and number of rooms. We loved the house we had, but this time we've added a few requirements:

1. Having a heated pool - We will be traveling in April just as we did last time. We didn't want to pay the extra to heat the pool on our last trip and man was it a mistake. By the time we realized that we wanted it heated, it was hardly worth the money since it would take some time for the pool to properly heat up.

This time we've rented a home that provides free pool heat during the month of April.

We also need the pool to be private and screened. This is an advantage to a home over a hotel and without a private, screened, heated pool we would likely not stay there.

2. We've found that we like having 2 master suites. The reason we rent a home over a hotel is because we're traveling with family. It was awesome having 2 master suites, one for my parents and one for us. It wasn't a pre-requisite last time, but it will be from now on.

3. Proximity to the parks and shopping. This is a no-brainer for us. We want to have to drive as little as possible.

4. Being in a neighborhood with a playground.

5. Being in a neighborhood that is easy to navigate when I'm running.

denisenh
03-13-2007, 10:11 AM
For me:

High end furniture is what I like when renting a home. We are neat and light users and enjoy plush surroundings. I have stayed in basic furniture rentals and lived to see the light of a new day, but I don't enjoy that type of surrounding very much.

I like to sleep alone and a twin bed is fine for me. My DH can have the master suite. A queen suite for my DD14 and another of any size bed for my DD11 and we are fine.

Anyway, 3 bedrooms including one master suite with upgraded bathroom and another bath and 1/2 are minimum for us.

I always want a full stocked kitchen and washer/dryer.

And I HATE a lot of nic nacks and dust collectors. Sometimes I look at photos of potential rental homes. The bookcases are loaded with junk :eek:
I like sparse and clean better. Well placed upgraded plants and a decorator gadget or 2 is okay.

A clean heated private pool and nice pool area OR a nice community resort pool area, i.e. a lazy river and water park, even better with pool side service.

A plain simple contract. I realize that home owners need to protect themselves. I expect to pay for any damages and if I were to cancel of course, although I have never had to do either.

Tell me the price that I'll be paying on the website. If I have to figure in pool heat, tax, extra people, this , that and the other thing....forget it.
Better if it is bookable on a website. I have done that as well as spoken to the owner and sent a check.

Location isn't as important to me, in fact I could place it last. I have an idea of what I want to do on vacation but am open for change. We don't always do days of parks. Sometimes we just do one day at one park, sometimes we do none. I like Florida.

loubelou
03-13-2007, 04:53 PM
We are first time renters but this was our list:

1) Location (I only looked at Windsor Hills)
2) High End Furniture, Decor, and Bedding. Our own home is very nicely decorated, so we expect the same in a vacation rental & are willing to pay for it. (It's still much less than staying on-site)
3) Pool and King-size bed are a must.
4) Disney themed kids' room
5) Price competitive with other homes that are similiarly furnished/decorated.

Time4Orlando
03-14-2007, 01:48 PM
I agree with most of the posts on here. But I think it's all personal opinion. If you are concerned about price vs location, well then it's price that will sway your decision. Overall, I think what matters to most people is:

#1 Price - Most families are on a budget
#2 Location - Obviously most families want to be close to Disney, depending on how many times they will visit the park. Some families don't want to be so close because they want to visit other attractions like Universal etc. during their stay.
#3 Amenities - Is the pool nice? Does it have a gameroom? Is it in a neighborhood that has a community center? Is the community gated?

My 2 cents ;)