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Old 03-31-2013, 06:38 AM   #1
newfiegirl
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ALL questions about staying in a house off site

First of all, what are some good sites to try and find a house?
How about Bedbugs? If we rent a house and find them, has this happened to you?
Is it best to do online searches for houses, or does this forum have a place to look at prices?
Finally, what should I consider as a reasonable price for a 5 bedroom with a pool somewhere in Disney/Busch Gardens/shopping area?
Are there houses for rent in st. petes area, I can find mainly condos an small family places (ie, guld tides inn).
I have no clue where to begin. Thanks
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:56 AM   #2
dougsmom98
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I always use www.homeaway.com or www.vrbo.com to search for houses. If you arrive at a house and there are bedbugs, I would imagine that you would have to call the owners/management company and try to find alternative housing. I always check the beds for bugs when I get to a home just like I would a hotel. For some reason, I am less paranoid about bed bugs in a home because they have fewer guests overall.

When you are searching, you will start to realize what amenities are important to you. For us, we want one en suite bed/bathrooms for every adult couple. We don't want to have to utilize pull out couches if we can help it. We want a pool and spa, TVs in every bedroom, and a game room is a bonus. You may have different criteria.

If you do a search for rental homes on this forum, you may find some that have specific recommendations for homes, but in general, most people search the two sites listed above.

I have tried to find homes to rent in the St. Pete area because I have family in that area and would like to be close to them for part of the vacation, but there really aren't any good homes in that area to rent. Any of the homes I have found are way more expensive than in the Disney/Orlando area and they don't have the amenities that you can find in the Disney/Orlando area (pools/spas/# of bedrooms and baths...). If you are going to be going to the Busch Gardens area and Disney, you may want to consider staying in Davenport. We stay in this home that is in Grand Reserve which is in the Champions Gate area. http://www.vrbo.com/46990 I am a repeat guest and I get a discount, so I stay for about $1050 for the week including taxes and pool/spa heat, but I think it is probably $1200 for a week for non repeat guests.
The nice thing about this area that it is close to I-4 and you would be able to go West toward St. Pete or East toward Disney pretty easily. This area of Davenport is Exit 58 off I-4. Disney exits are 62-68 (it takes about 20 minutes to get to Magic Kingdom from here). Tampa is about 50-75 minutes away.
As for price, every house is different based on the amenities and location. Areas closer to Disney (Kissimmee - Windsor Hills, Windsor Palms, Emerald Isle, Indian Ridge), will be more expensive than Davenport which is a little further out.

Once you narrow homes down, choose 3-4 and contact the owners for a price quote. Once you get the quotes, you can narrow it down based on personal preference. Once you think you have decided, verify ownership on the home. This thread will tell you how to do that:

http://www.disboards.com/showthread....&highlight=tax

Okay, this should get you started. I need to go to church. I will try to check back later if you have more questions.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:05 AM   #3
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Hey newfiegirl! Amy has given you great info, I agree with everything she said! Have rented from homeaway and vrbo. Also tripadvisor has a section, fewer options but still, I like the site. (We rented from a tripadvisor listing for a cottage on PEI and it was fabulous.) I have also tried to find houses with the same amenities elsewhere but haven't had much luck. There's an area on the gulf coast that has some houses (I can't remember right now--lots of inland waterways), but it's more expensive with less choice. Lots of condos around St Pete's to be sure. Our first trips to Fl we stayed in condos around St Pete's, still great value compared to a hotel.

Have never heard about bedbugs in a home rental, but anything is possible. Your best bet IMO is to pick one with lots of "real-sounding" reviews. Last time we rented in Sunset Lakes, an older gated community, but very nice. This time we are booked in Emerald Island. I think you get better price and accountability if you book owner-direct (rather than a package or one of the many management companies), but of course your risk is greater too--less chance to change it up if something is badly off. The reviews will often mention if the owner was easy to reach, or tried to fix things quickly.

We had a 4 bd in Sunset Lakes with a pool for $100/nt all in in Feb, but that was a deal based on a last-minute cancellation. In August we have booked a 4 bd in Emerald Is (newer area, more neighbourhood facilities) for about $120/nt. It varies a lot, though, by season, location and amenities. I think you need to talk to a few people, and use common sense on the prices you get--usually if it's really low, there's a reason, and if it's really high, there's a different reason...

For Orlando, I really like this map, it helps you understand the different neighbourhoods. http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/villa-map.php This is the place we are renting next (from an accountant in Oakville. )

I've never heard anyone say "I tried the villa thing but I prefer hotels". It's always the other way. "Why would I pay $150/nt for one room when I can get a whole house for less?" But you have to be comfy driving, for one thing, and confident doing your research.

Happy to help if you have more questions.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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One more place you can look is romancingthemouse.com. They have just a few homes located in Windsor Hills and Windsor Palms. We have yet to get to stay in one - just hasn't worked out. But we did book with them once and then had to cancel and they were super nice about it. I take that as a very good sign. And I've seen reviews of their homes here on the Dis - all good. They certainly look nice and I love all the extra touches they provide. And their prices seem in line with what others have posted for similar homes.

If you would be interested in a condo or townhome, you might look at vacationcentralflorida.com. Their properties are all at Windsor Hills. We are renting from them again this year - will be our fourth time renting one of their units.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:25 AM   #5
newfiegirl
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Thanks Everyone!

I cannot believe how helpful everyone has been!
The site I was using is vacation rentals dot com. Has anyone ever rented from this site?
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
coastgirl
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It seems to be related to homeaway--it certainly looks very similar.
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with dh, ds 12, and dd 10

1st trip May/June 06
Jan/Feb 07, same crew at CBR. DCL Magic Eastern Dec 07 CSR Sept 2009
Universal/WWoHP in Sunset Lakes villa Feb 2010 Same again Aug 2013 in Emerald Island villa

PTR/TR Without the Mouse Round 2
TR: First visit to Universal/SeaWorld Feb 2011
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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http://www.lastminutevillas.net

Send the form out - you will receive multiple responses.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:47 PM   #8
newfiegirl
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thanks, will give it a try
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:28 PM   #9
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I'll add another site to the mix www.orlandovillas.com, the put you in touch with the villa owners. Look at the right side of the site and click on to their forums. It can be very helpful. I have rented 4 different villas and always enjoyed our stay and will not go back to a hotel room.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:01 PM   #10
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We have stayed in Romancing the Mouse's five bedroom at WH and would be happy to answer any questions.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:30 PM   #11
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We have used Vacation rentals dot com, homeaway, flipkey/tripadvisor, and vrbo. We have never had a problem with any of them.

The first thing I would do is decide how far from Disney (and Seaworld, Universal, etc) and then decide what amenities you want. The closest subdivisions to Disney are Emerald Island, Indian Creek, Windsor Hills, Windsor Palms, and west of there is Paradise Palms. Indian Creek has no resort amenities, just the house with pool and maybe hot tub, most have game room in the garage. Emerald Island is gated and has all the resort amenities (exercise facilities, smallish resort pool, etc). Windsor Palms and Windsor Hills are also gated and have nicer resort amenities (resort pool, movie theater, fitness center). Paradise Palms is gated/manned and has in my opinion the nicest resort area.

So from there you can start to decide what you want from your actual house, or if you would prefer a townhome. Sometimes the townhomes are closer to the resort pool/clubhouse and rent for a lot less.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:46 AM   #12
momfeez
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coastgirl View Post

For Orlando, I really like this map, it helps you understand the different neighbourhoods. http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/villa-map.php T


Just had to say wish I would have had this map when I was looking for houses to rent. If you don't have a map, you'll go crazy trying to figure out where all the areas are
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:40 AM   #13
flipfloppershopper
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after searching several sites

I chose to go with Florida spirit vacations because they had an A+ rating with the better business bureau. We are in the Davenport area. We just made sure we had easy access to I4 so we could travel to Tampa a few days. Good luck with your search
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:18 PM   #14
mguedes
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newfiegirl

I stayed at Paradise Palms two months ago. I got a really new home that was less than a year old. Large LED SMART TVs, free hi speed internet, cable TV and everything new. Very very good!

Exact unit was the 4 bedroom home from this site:

www.paradisepalmsresort.com.br

The booking and billing were done by their management company in Kissimmee.

Rates were very good.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by mguedes; 04-17-2013 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:00 PM   #15
MinnieLovesMickey12
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When we were looking at renting a vacation rental home we looked on VRBO but when we found Villa Direct we realized VIlla Direct's houses were in the same neighborhoods but much cheaper.

We found a bunch of 4 bedroom homes with a game room and small pool for around $100 a night. I am not sure what a 5 bedroom would cost. Maybe $150. But keep in mind they tack on a lot of surcharges and fees and cleaning fee. SO it hikes the overall cost up when you finally get a total.
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