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VRBO questions (help, please)

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Los Angeles, CA
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21 posts
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VRBO questions (help, please)

So, who has had success with VRBO, and who has been burned (and willing to share). I'm looking at a few listings that have few, if any, reviews, and am trying to discern if it's a legit posting? Wondering if there are specific things to look for? One listing I'm considering is this one: http://www.vrbo.com/980761a. I had also looked at a company whose link was in an article on Fodors.com (http://www.parisbestlodge.com). After contacting them about availability, I saw another posting on VRBO by a different person with images of a ParisBestLodge apartment I was already told was not available (showed as available on VRBO). That made me vervous about VRBO.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. =)

Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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1. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

Hi, Daphnekat.

VRBO is a mixed bag. It does sometimes contain scams (apartment listings stolen from elsewhere). BUT, many people have good experiences with it. I find it too time-consuming to use, myself.

There are two kinds of valid listings on VRBO: ones put up by management companies and those put up by individual owners. Beware of any apartment that doesn't have reviews. The one you're looking at has 4 reviews in the past year, all saying the apartment is great. That would be enough for me. The overall location is good and the price is really good - which makes me have some questions. It's on the ground floor. So I'd ask the owner if there's a security door, if it faces the street or the courtyard (noise issues maybe?) The previous reviewers seem happy enough with it.

This list is the second kind (individual owner).

Both kinds of listings can have calendars that are not up-to-date. VRBO does not guarantee your rental or much else besides putting you in touch with the agency or owner. They do not verify their listings, which is why someone can steal the copy from Paris Best Lodge (unless PBL is also using VRBO to list - which they may, but often, calendars are not up to date when an agency uses many different listing sites, which most agencies do).

I can tell you that Paris Best Lodge is great. They may be a little more expensive per square foot - although, in the case of the apartment you're looking at, it may be a little less expensive because of the ground floor location (although now that I look at all the pictures it's on a passage, so shouldn't be noisy).

Ask whether it has wireless internet (it just says internet - we've stayed places where we needed an ethernet cable, we prefer wifi). It does not have a washing machine. It may have bicycles (!) or it may just be close to a Velib station. In case you can't read French (or Spanish), the reviews are excellent.

I'd contact the owner about payment expectations. Paris Best Lodge takes none of your money until you arrive (I like that). They hold a check as a security deposit and return it you/tear it up when you leave. Therefore, none of my vacation funds are tied up in the reservation - find out more about the expectations of this owner (for some reason I'm not seeing those details - they may there).

(Oh, it says it takes Homeaway payments - which IIRC, means that the owner doesn't get your money until you get there - but check that out too.) Someone will come by and comment on how that's done, I'm sure.

It's a lovely apartment, great location.

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

I have used VRBO outside of Paris several times and once in Paris -- with any apartment listing if I am not using an agency I know is hands on and have dealt with before, then I always call and talk with the owner -- this is an added layer of due diligence. We have rented over 50 times internationally now and have never had a bad experience (in the sense of being cheated, losing our deposit or having a place be substantially different from what we expected) We did have a week without hot water in Paris but the local manager worked hard to get it fixed and eventually did -- it happened going into a holiday weekend and involves getting parts delivered. I consider that part of life's rich pageant.

It is very important to know how to look at pictures, to be sure you have enough pictures, and to know how to read descriptions. Look for omissions. If it doesn't say there is an elevator, there isn't. If it doesn't say there is a washing machine, there isn't. If you don't see an oven in the kitchen, odds are there is not an oven. (very common in rentals) VRBO tends to have too few pictures to make good judgments. I just ask for more.

When we first moved to Chicago I did a sublet through a listing service -- sight unseen -- there were only a couple of pictures in the ad but the owner sent me a dozen and that clinched it (and I did have a relative check the place out to make sure it existed and was as billed)

Anyone can get taken and if you are there is no real recourse. so it is important to do the best you can on the front end. We have been lucky but we have also been careful.

Montreal, Canada
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217 posts
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3. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

No worries with ParisBestLodge. I rented twice from them in the past and will do so again when I return to Paris. Le Biscuit described the process very well.

Pittsburgh, PA
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4. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

All good experiences with VRBO in France and also here in USA. As others have said, I want to see pictures of the rental property itself, not of the Eiffel Tower and other landmarks, etc. in the photo section.

Los Angeles, CA
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5. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

This is great info, thanks so much! I think I will definitely call ones we feel are our finalists. I'm happy to get an endorsement of Paris Best Lodge as well. They seem like a very good possibility, though they only have 2 studio options available during our dates (we were hoping for a 1bdrm).

6. Re: VRBO questions (help, please)

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