Real Estate

How to book a vacation rental home

While there is an increasing abundance of options when it comes to booking a vacation home, many travelers still find the rental market to be a bit chaotic, at least when compared to more traditional accommodations like hotels/motels. The growing popularity of vacation rentals as a valuable alternative to more expensive hotels has given rise to a plethora of options that can be overwhelming.

Here are some tips for booking your vacation rental to ensure you’re getting the most for your money, while protecting yourself from scams or disappointments.

Tip #1 for booking a vacation rental: Check out niche listings that focus on specific destinations.

Whether you’ve rented a vacation villa before or not, you’ll want to work with a local company and representatives who know what they’re doing.

If you are interested in renting a Santa Barbara beach home, a qualified representative will earn their stripes by guiding you through the right properties available based on your unique needs and wants. For example, if you bring your three Bernese Mountain Dogs, they will recommend Santa Barbara beach rental places that are dog-friendly and junk-free.

Plus, once you arrive, you’ll want to take advantage of concierge services to help you get reservations at that new hot spot, or just recommend a walk with an ocean view. An anonymous operator three states away will not be able to provide that level of local service.

Tip #2 for booking a vacation rental: Use a credit card to protect yourself and minimize risk.

You want and expect every detail of your vacation to be perfect. But unfortunately, it won’t always be that way. So you need to protect yourself.

Renting with your credit card through a Santa Barbara vacation rental management company offers you that protection. If for any reason the property does not meet your expectations and management does nothing to fix it, you can keep a record of the problem and dispute the charge with your credit card company.

Property owners who rent person-to-person typically insist on a cashier’s check for 50 percent of the vacation rental to reserve it, and then the other 50 percent in cash upon arrival. If you later discover roaches scurrying around your vacation home’s kitchen or other property items that were seriously misrepresented, you won’t have leverage because you’ve already paid in full in cash.

Tip #3 for booking a vacation rental: Get the most out of your investment.

Dollar for dollar, a vacation rental offers you much more than a luxury hotel. You get exponentially more space (both indoors and outdoors). You get a host of amenities, from private pools to high-end kitchens and top-notch entertainment systems, all for your exclusive use. Unlike an anonymous hotel room in a crowded corridor, you have a serene home away from home that you can call your own.

But there are a host of priceless intangible benefits you get when you book your vacation rental through a professional management company. Working with a top-tier management company to find your ideal vacation home brings you a whole new level of service. A professional company has the skin in the game. They are working to establish a good reputation and a list of repeat customers, rather than just trying to make a quick buck.

In the best surprise category it’s no surprise, unlike a Craigslist absentee landlord, a Santa Barbara professional rental company has someone who is 24/7 troubleshooting, working working hard to keep both tenants and owners happy.

The most underutilized service is professional staff. Once you arrive at your Santa Barbara rental villa, they will be at your beck and call. Concierge and housekeeping services are just a button away. The staff’s knowledge and local Santa Barbara connections can turn an average vacation into something incredible. There is no extra cost, and the return is priceless.

Tip #4 for booking a vacation rental: Book with confidence.

There is a BIG difference between someone who just wants to sell you a room and a professional vacation rental company who wants to make sure you enjoy your best Santa Barbara vacation so much that you come back again and again. The key to that difference is delivering on what was promised.

Many vacation rental agencies are simply large clearinghouses that list properties, sometimes all over the world. They usually don’t specialize in one region and don’t offer any other services apart from rental matching. They cannot guarantee the rental of the Santa Barbara beach house you have reserved because their representatives have never visited them, inspected them for health and safety issues, or even met with the owners. They cannot vouch for the actual condition of the vacation rental property, the advantages/disadvantages of the location, etc.

Some agencies just want to book the beach rental and collect their fee. They may not care too much about what happens during your stay.

If you’ve never visited the Santa Barbara beach rental home you’re considering or got a firsthand report from a trusted friend, you have no idea if the photos you’ve seen on the website are an accurate representation. They may be outdated, doctored, or from a completely different place. (It goes without saying that you should never rent a vacation rental that doesn’t offer photos!) Beware of any site that only offers views or exterior shots. If they’re not willing to show you what the vacation rental looks like on the inside, you won’t want to stay there.

With a professional vacation rental company, you can be sure that the quality you see is the quality you’ll get.

Tip #5 for booking a vacation rental: Go for the highest quality standards.

Professional vacation agencies are held to higher standards than private owners. Even if an owner fervently believes that their Santa Barbara vacation rental is clean and up-to-date, their standards may not match yours. One person’s unseen dust bunnies and hi-fi system are dirty and anachronistic to another. A professionally managed Santa Barbara vacation home rental will also be a professionally cleaned and maintained vacation home rental.

Tip #6 for booking a vacation rental: Understand the risks of booking through free listing sites like Craigslist.

Listing on a free site is, well, free. There’s no crime in that (who doesn’t love for free?), but that could point to a general laissez-faire attitude the landlord has toward his property and his tenants.

Owners who are willing to pay a fee to keep their vacation homes reserved and in first-class condition have already demonstrated their care and commitment to a working relationship that is beneficial to all parties. The management companies they work with are companies that you can rent from without worry.

Tip #7 for booking a vacation rental: Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

The more often these vacation rentals are occupied, the happier the owners will be, so whether you’re planning a last-minute or long-term stay or are a frequent visitor, there’s often room to negotiate the price of your vacation. rent. Sometimes the discount can reach 30 percent.

Tip #8 for booking a vacation rental: Research and compare rates, amenities, and terms before entering into a rental agreement.

When trying to narrow down your choice of a Santa Barbara vacation rental, be sure to compare apples to apples. A smaller house on the beach will likely cost more than a larger one in the hills. Know what you’re getting from each property and each management company. Go with your gut and go with the company that will happily show up in the middle of the night to snake around the sink.

Another benefit of working with a professional Santa Barbara vacation rental management company is that it is very easy to run a background check on them. Call or visit the Better Business Bureau or a vacation rental site like Has the company made any reasonable complaints against you? How were they resolved? Type the name of the Santa Barbara vacation rental company and its owner into Google and you’ll get a plethora of informative reviews.

The growing popularity of Santa Barbara vacation rentals has spawned a plethora of online resources. Your best bet is to do your due diligence and compare rates, amenities, reputations, views, and terms before entering into a rental agreement. It’s your vacation and booking the right accommodation will help ensure your vacation meets and exceeds your expectations.

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