Windsor Hills- nervous about renting through owner.

Discussion in 'Orlando Hotels and Attractions' started by Penmac, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Penmac

    Penmac Mouseketeer

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    We are booking a condo through Windsor Hills Rent, direct through an owner. I am SO nervous. We are trying to decide between two different 3 bedroom condos located in the building closest to the clubhouse. We have quotes from both that are reasonable (one better than the other). But I am so afraid to make things official without reaching out to the Dis community for feedback. The problem with going through owners is the lack of reviews available, and the blind trust you have to put in the owner that the condo is what they claim it to be. Hoping if I post links to the websites that someone on here would have stayed and can provide some feedback!

    First, and less expensive option:
    http://www.rent-windsorhills.com/index.html

    Second option:
    WWW.DISNEYHOMEFORYOU.COM

    I am leaning towards the second and more expensive unit.

    Help!
     
  2. Klayfish

    Klayfish DIS Veteran

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    The price is pretty decent for both, but honestly...as a many time offsite veteran...not sure I'd rent from someone with zero reviews. I suppose I could be talked into it, but I'd much prefer to have one with prior reviews.
     
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  4. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    Ask them for references. They should be able to provide something from prior guests. If not, I would book with one of the thousands of people who can provide them.
     
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  5. Penmac

    Penmac Mouseketeer

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    I actually just found an airbnb page for the more expensive condo by doing a little google research. There are a few positive reviews. But not many. It looks like the condo changed ownership, so there are only a small amount of recent reviews on his page. But I am going to email him for more info. Thanks!
     
  6. bearzabout

    bearzabout DIS Veteran

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    Make sure the person you are dealing with actually owns the property. A relative booked a house through VRBO and found out the person they booked with copied the pictures from another site and had no connection to the property.
     
  7. pigletto

    pigletto DIS Veteran

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    Actually now that you mentioned that.. I was perusing VRBO yesterday and some of the listings looked really fishy. Some looked like someone had taken pictures of pictures to put up. Another one repeatedly referred to the Sheraton Vistana as the “Sheraton Vista”. I kept thinking “how does this person own there and not even know what it’s called?”
    I would pass right on by any listing that looked suspicious.
     
  8. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    Same. I've used airbnb a few times, in various cities, and I don't even look at the listings with zero reviews. And while I'm willing to "take one for the team" when it comes to, say, food, I prefer to reduce the level of risk when it comes to vacation rentals.

    This can be a problem (for different reasons) if you deal with a company that has properties in various cities, or with a scam artist.

    With sites like airbnb and the homeaway group you have to put some faith in the reviews and the site ratings of the owner/property manager, but still, do as much digging as you can.

    And I think this would apply to OP's dilemma. There might be a little less info to go on, but do what you can. Example: My wife and I own a duplex that we rent out, and one potential actually asked for OUR references (including linkedin) and checked them before signing his lease. Unusual? Yes, but I felt like that show of good faith helped get his name on the dotted line.
     
  9. Amanda999

    Amanda999 DIS Veteran

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    3 of the Windsor Hills townhomes via VRBO I was considering were fake owners. I'd only rent from now on from a large agency - just don't need the headache on vacation of either fake rental or lack of 24/7 maintenance (we had a smoke detector go off in middle of the night - 2 nights (couldn't disarm them b/c very high ceilings).
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
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  10. ParkHopperFan

    ParkHopperFan Mouseketeer

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    We rent in Windsor Hills several times per year. I would recommend to anyone concerned about a legit property to visit www.windsorhillsofficialrentals.com

    The site lists WH properties that are verified by the resort and are also verified to be current with their HOA dues and licensing.

    Another measure of safety would be to pay by Paypal which has an excellent record for protecting customers from scams or who are a victim of a scam.
     
  11. Amanda999

    Amanda999 DIS Veteran

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    Unless they've changed their policies, PayPal doesn't protect real estate transactions (including vacation rentals) - whether a scam or not - the way that a credit card would (with limits - check your credit card).
     
  12. Penmac

    Penmac Mouseketeer

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    We ended up going with the second and more expensive property. I will post a review here after our stay. Owner is listed on airbnb, as well as Windsor Hills Official Rental. He provided me with a reference. I am still nervous, but I did some research to ensure he legitimately owns this place and won't take off with my identity:tiptoe:
     
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  13. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    There's always a bit of jitters when you book like this, so understandable. I'm sure everything will be fine.

    And good on ya for checking up with the owner.
     
  14. Northernlites

    Northernlites Mouseketeer

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    I think the price is high for a 3 bedroom rental unless it is in building 7 or 8. We are staying in a 2 bedroom condo in April for $80 per night tax cleaning and all fees included, no deposit. Price is $71 per night before tax. That is the owners rate and his pictures are very similar to your rental. I spoke with the owner, verified via the County Tax collector that the property taxes were current and paid for the address. Then once I got their name and home address I searched google to verify that the person was who they said they were. No issues. I have done that with every rental. At least knowing the owner is the owner is peace of mind.
     
  15. ENJDisneyFan

    ENJDisneyFan DIS Veteran

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    We've rented properties we found through the Windsor Hills site many times without any issues. Most of the owners cross list their homes on multiple sites so you should definitely be able to find reviews somewhere. I wouldn't rent from anyone who couldn't provide reviews.
     
  16. Penmac

    Penmac Mouseketeer

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    Great advice re: taxes. We are traveling during July 4th week so everything is marked up a bit. We are also in building 8. I think the price is comparable to other properties I looked at in that area of the resort.
     
  17. MamaJessie

    MamaJessie DIS Veteran

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    When we booked windsor hills we went through vacationcentralflorida because I was nervous about booking direct. We had a pleasant experience.
     
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  18. LuvMyEAR

    LuvMyEAR Mouseketeer

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    Since 2004, I have booked a number of properties at both Windsor Hills and Windsor Palms, as well as a lodge in Utah, and an apartment in Venice, Italy through homeowners, mainly via VRBO. We have stayed in condos, townhouses, 4, 5, and 6 bedroom homes. We've never had a single problem and only one disappointment in our accommodations. The disappointment was nothing to do with the price, service, or state of the home, but our personal taste. We just did not care for the layout, preferring the more open concept to a small eat-in kitchen on the front of the house.

    On the other hand, my DD with her family and in-laws had an extremely aggravating experience, actually had to pack and vacate a rental property after their first night. They were in limbo for a whole day and close to having to look for a motel room before the issue was resolved and they could return to their rental house. They had booked everything as an airline "vacation package". It completely ruined an entire day for their party and left a pretty sour taste in their mouths. The airline did offer some compensation at a MUCH later date, but nothing that came close to making up for being unceremoniously turfed from their accommodations, and a day of complete anxiety, spent on the phone trying to figure out what was going on.

    My point here is that stuff can happen, even when you think you have a sure thing. Northerlights gave great advice about checking ownership. We do that, too, and take the leap of faith.
     
  19. BigredNole

    BigredNole DIS Veteran

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    If you are skeptical, then don't do it. Go through VRBO. You will probably find a similar unit for the same as the direct pricing. Staying offsite and renting through people is always a risk. I have never had an issue with any of mine. Its all really risk vs reward. Pretty much all of my rentals through people have been less than a 1-week stay at a monorail resort combined.

    WBC 3x
    Orange Lake Resort 1x
    Reunion Resort 1x
    Disney DVC 5x
     
  20. kathy884

    kathy884 DIS Veteran

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    I booked a six bedroom house for next March through VRBO for Windsor Hills. I picked the one I liked best that had at least a handful of good reviews. The owner has been great to work with, but alas I just got notified that they sold the property (after 15 years -- They are retiring and using proceeds to buy a home on Marco Island). They are closing in September, so they can honor summer rentals, but my rental isn't till next March. They asked me if I wanted them to check with new owners to see if they will rent to me with the same agreement. Otherwise, I'll get a refund. Fortunately it's plenty of time to book something else.

    If you are nervous going through a reputable agency rather than VRBO may give you more peace of mind. Price shouldn't be that different and there should be plenty of inventory, but less than VRBO which has hundreds. Because of the numerous VRBO properties available, I've only rented when I have some references.

    There are though very legit people out there that just haven't had properties being rented for that long and don't have a lot of reviews yet. My brother's girlfriend, for example, has just started renting out a lovely cabin in Driggs Idaho that her father buildt and passed down to her that she and my brother have done some remodeling on too. So far they just have two reviews posted and posters raved and gave them 5 out of 5, but still just two reviews. They would be fantastic to rent from, but it may be harder to get renters until they get more reviews. It looks like despite the relatively few reviews, she has eight of the 12 summer weeks booked so far.

    This for me will just be my third VRBO rental. I've done quite a few timeshare rentals from owners (maybe 10 or so over the years) on TUG2.net and VRBO.com. There is more risk than a retail hotel room. My experiences for the timeshare rentals were all great. My last VRBO condo rental was great too. My house rental in Hawaii through VRBO was OK, but I was disappointed with the lack of a cross breeze in the property and thought furniture was a little more worn -- showing more wear and tear than photos. Not a disaster, but hindsite, I wish I had rented the five bedroom condo I was looking at though and agency instead of the house. It's more risk, but has rewards of great accommodations for less money usually. If I had a really negative experience, maybe I would stop trying this. I don't know.
     
  21. bearchele

    bearchele Earning My Ears

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    We stayed in the second condo two summers ago. We were the last people to stay in the condo before it changed owners. The pictures look the same as when I was there. When we were there there was some wear and tear hopefully the new owner has taking care of that. There didn’t seem to be enough towels for the pool.
     

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