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Renting Tips?

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Northern Virginia
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167 posts
15 reviews
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Renting Tips?

We are looking to rent a house in OBX. We had a bad experience last year with a company. The cottage itself was nice, but on arrival no keys were left in the drop box for us, there was no working 'after hours' phone line. To make a long story short, the five of us had no choice but to spend a miserable night in the car in the pouring rain that night.

I have read so many horror stories about properties not being cleaned for turn-around, people being locked out with no place to go, homes falling far short of what was advertised etc...

Any tips from the experts on avoiding the aforementioned problems?

Kitty Hawk, North...
Destination Expert
for Outer Banks
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2,709 posts
126 reviews
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1. Re: Renting Tips?

Luckily stories like your, or the ones you allude to, are very rare in the vacation rental business. There will be over 100,000 homes rented in a summer with 500,000 or more people being involved in vacationing here. You hear about 5 stories a year and those people post here, there, over there and everywhere making it seem like many more people. You never hear from the 499,999 happy people that feel they got a good deal and had a great time, but you hear the one who didn't.

Focus on larger companies that have been around for many years. Even they have problems now and then, but your odds are much lower it will be you.

Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
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2,949 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: Renting Tips?

I can't disagree more.....OBX200 works for an OBX property management company; I am a vacation property homeowner.

As beach property homeowners for 17 years,we have had tons of experience with many beach property management companies. (Holden Beach, southern NC coast, but they are all alike, no matter the location) They have all failed us and our renters. The home was never cleaned as their housekeeping depts. contracted to do and issues brought to their attention by us, our neighbors or our renters were rarely addressed in a timely manner, if at all. Large property management companies are large machines, and you (and I)are just a number.

The best move we've ever made is taking over the rental and management of our beach home. Our home is now always very clean/well maintained, and any issues which may arise have been handled immediately by a wonderful retired couple we've hired to be our local caretakers. During a severe storm last summer we had a few shingles come off our roof, and some water started coming in the home. We had given our renters the phone number of our caretakers, so at 2am when the renters called, immediately our caretaker got up and went over to manage the problem....you won't find that type of service with the big property management companies. But in the many years I've rented vacation homes all over the country through VRBO, I've experienced this type caring and concern over and over; whether it was a washing machine which broke mid-cycle, outdoor lights not working after a heavy rain, or just a friendly face to face welcome on our arrival day.

Also, since taking over the rental of our home, we've had nothing but wonderful, caring renters, some of who have noticed small maintenance issues beginning and by letting us know have saved us money, and perhaps future renters a problem. Renting directly from homeowners is definitely a "win-win" situation, for both parties.

Try looking at VRBO, Homeaway and TA's rentals by homeowners. Make sure you are dealing with a homeowner, as some property management companies realize more and more renters are tired of the less than professional treatment they've recieved from P.M. companies (plus sick of all the "fees" they add to the rental price) and are looking to rent directly from homeowners. Some of these P.M. companies have put homes on these websites posing as homeowners.....still it's easy to figure out who is who.

Find a home which has a few reviews, and call and talk with the homeowners to see just how they have their home cleaned between renters, and how they manage any issues that may arise.

I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience, that should never happen! I hope you got a BIG refund....but wouldn't be surprised if you didn't.

MD
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740 posts
24 reviews
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3. Re: Renting Tips?

We've been renting houses at the Outer Banks for over 20 years now. We've never had a horrible experience, such as being locked out. We have had some houses that weren't cleaned well, if at all, and reported issues ignored by property mgmt companies, but we've never let it get us down or ruin a vacation. I think not all rental agencies are the same, so that can make a difference. We've loved our treatment by Twiddy, Carolina Designs and Beach Realty over the years - though even they aren't perfect.

Charlotte, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina
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2,949 posts
31 reviews
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4. Re: Renting Tips?

You know most things are little, and we all overlook things as to not ruin our vacations. But at some point for someone, it's going to be a big issue like being locked out; a water pipe bursting, etc. and very few property management companies care enough to answer a phone after hours. These companies are making huge profits off homeowners and renters. They require full payment months in advance and make a lot of money on interest. We homeowners don't receive any money until the monthly statement after the renter has used the property. They also charge renters silly fees on top of the rental price, plus charge the homeowners huge percentages for managing the home...plus every month they always come up with additional fees for the homeowners too. We all deserve better service from them.

They SHOULD do better on the little things as well as the big things. Little things can become big things when not addressed properly, and on top of inconvenience, this will cost renters and homeowners money. Carpets that aren't cleaned in a timely manner when found to be exceptionally dirty have to be replaced sooner, so the rent is raised to help pay for this. Toilets which are allowed to run for weeks/months without being fixed cause higher water bills, this too will be passed on to renters in time. I could go on and on.

I was tired on my home not being looked after like we were promised. Tired of spending the little time I have at the beach, on my hands and knees scrubbing layers of scum off my kitchen and bathroom floors; cleaning glass tables, windows and doors that look like they haven't been touched since the last time I was at the house several months earlier.

Last year we ditched the property management company.

I walked in my beach home at the end of the season last year and was amazed.....it was clean!

I now have a housekeeper who cares, she cleans my house every week and notices if things are exceptionally dirty, broken, or are missing. If people forget and leave something in the home, she helps me see that it is returned to them. When things were left in the home while we were with property management companies, they were never found! Hmmm.

My housekeeper does all the things on the list that the property management company's housekeepers never could do, even though it was on their agreed list too.

I now am confident that all my renters/guests will come into a clean and well maintained home, and if by chance a problem arises, no matter what the hour, it will be managed in the best and most timely way possible.

5. Re: Renting Tips?

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