The Attias Group Real Estate would like to offer some advice from our newest agent Scott Mallegol when it comes to selecting a vacation rental this summer. Scott comes to us with many years of experience handling vacation rentals on Martha’s Vineyard.
The Attias Group: Scott, what are some things potential renters should be wary of when researching vacation rentals for this summer?
Scott Mallegol: When searching for a rental yourself using a site such as http://homeaway.com if you see several listings with the same contact information, that is probably an agent slipping some listings into what is supposed to be a do it yourself site. Also, read the descriptions carefully, many will talk about what is included with the rental upfront. If the description is too short and sweet, it may require some additional searching before you sign a contract.
TAG: Speaking of contracts for vacation rentals what should the consumer be aware of, are these pretty standard documents across the board?
SM: They are fairly standard, but there are a few points to key in on. First off, if you have pets, make sure there is a pet clause. If you have a dog, be truthful about the size; you don’t want to get hit with a penalty later. Secondly, the security deposit should be returned within a timely fashion, this is typically 60 days. However, if there is an issue that arises from your stay the home the owner should be aware well before 60 days, so asking for a 30 day return of the security deposit is very common among the savvy, seasoned renter. Be sure to read the cleaning clause very carefully, many of these homes have check out times of 11am and check in times of 3pm, and the owner may ask a lot of you as the tenant to help cleanup to facilitate such short turnaround times. Be prepared at a minimum to clear out the refrigerator and the kitchen trash barrel; the worse the condition when the cleaning crew arrives, the more you will pay later. Lastly, always check to see if things like linens are included, I have had families show up from California with an extra suitcase because there were no linens included in the rental.
TAG: What if something goes wrong at the home while we are staying there? Do these homes have maintenance staff available to assist in case of an issue?
SM: Yes, the majority of rental properties have some sort of cleaning staff and maintenance available. The best rentals will include this list in a book that will be on the kitchen counter as you enter the home. Make sure to read the welcome book, it contains a lot of valuable information.
TAG: What if you wanted a licensed real estate broker to handle finding you a property instead of doing it yourself? Are there any extra costs associated in doing it this way?
SM: Most brokers will not handle rental properties below $2000/wk and will in most cases refer you to sites such as homeaway.com. All broker fees are paid by the home owner so there is no additional cost to you should you decide to have someone else find you the listing. Also to that point, the contract should specify all costs that are covered by the rental fee, as well as anything you may be billed for after your departure. The savvy owner will not hit you with a bill for $900 for heating the pool for your two week stay.
TAG: Scott, thank you so much for this insight into summer vacation rentals. We at The Attias Group Real Estate hope everyone has a wonderful summer vacation, wherever your travel plans take you.
(Scott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via voice/txt at 508-627-2031)