Vetting Vacation Home Rentals

Sure, there can be benefits to renting a vacation home in terms of cost and convenience. But how do you make sure you’re renting a dream home, not a total nightmare?

Renters often book their vacation home online or on the phone with the homeowner or a broker—without ever even seeing the place in person.

First, you need to ask yourself the right questions, and then pose them to the homeowner or broker.

Are there grocery stores nearby? Will you need a car to get around? Does the kitchen come stocked with utensils and cookware? If you’re bringing children, is the home child-proofed? Is there a fence around the pool?

Ask what rental guarantees are in place, and actually read the fine print. covers you up to $5,000 if an advertised property isn’t legit, but that doesn’t cover bait and switch situations or false advertising. will find other accommodations if the property grossly misrepresents itself, but that has its own loopholes.

And of course, do your own research.

Many brokers have blogs about specific areas, so you can learn what’s new in the community, crime rates, and other important details … before you hand over your credit card.

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Get more tips on finding great places to stay in our Hotels & Accommodations section.

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