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I am new to this forum and also brand new to renting our second home as a vacation place. We are in process of getting our home ready, located in Berkeley, California, and our initial experience is a little bit stressful. We have received many visits, about 8 inquiries, three that appear to be serious, but nothing booked yet. But I need advise on the following:
Two of the "serious" requests asked me to hold the dates until they reach their decision. Both were requests for a 3 plus week stay, and I agreed to do so, without requiring payment to hold the dates.
One of the parties sent a representative to take pictures of the house so they could send it to the "celebrity" in Los Angeles who may be staying in our house. After a full week of back and forth, they still haven't made up their mind and now they are saying they are looking at another property in an area closer to their film production site but are still interested in our house. It is very frustrating, and I don't know if you have any tips on what I can do to secure a booking with this type of high maintenance prospects.
The other request came from Europe and it is similar in the sense that is requesting me to hold the dates until this Saturday while they make a decision. I have agreed to do so.
Am I making a mistake in agreeing to hold dates without asking for some advance payment? Or is this pretty typical. I have not change the calendar in my VRBO site reflecting any reservations for these dates.
Any advise is appreciated.
Yes, you are making a mistake. No money? No hold. I require payment of 50% of total fee to hold, with a stiff cancelation policy and fullpaymnet must be received 30 days prior to thier date of arrival, PLUS a completed application and copies of all credit cards and a photo ID.
I NEVER give out my exact address, let alone let anyone onto my property until final payment has cleared my bank. There are a lot of scammers out there!!! Be careful!!!
I operate the same as msdebj except that my deposit is $250, not a percentage. No money, no hold! I'd hate to lose a booking from a second inquirer while the first inquirer is deciding not to book my villa.
I agree with the first two replies. I have had people who say they are sending out a deposit and in that case I do say I will "hold" it until their deposit arrives FOR 5 DAYS ONLY. We don't take credit cards so this works for us. I will hold dates for the next season for return guests, but they are VERY reliable. I wish you much success with your house!
Thank you all for your good advise. I will definetely put it into practice. As an update, it seems that one of those "serious" inquiries I mentioned is actually happening. They are sending a check! this would be my first booking (for 3 weeks!). Thanks again!
Generally speaking, I take the attitude that one either wants the house or not. If they want it, I place a one-week hold onthe property and immediately send them a contract and invoice. I need to receive the signed contract and 50% of the rental fee plus the full $500 security deposit within the week or I release the hold. I tend to find that those who wish time to 'consider' the rental don't take it. Of course, we provide eight pictures plus a link to our website to see even more pictures, and provide lots of info, both on the VRBO listing, our website, and in our email communications with prospects and guests.
One other point, if their arrival date is within 60 days, get the full payment up front. Nothing like a bad check to muck up a rental experience on thelandlord's part, IMHO....
Good luck w/your rental!
We allow our guests 48 hours hold pending receipt of their deposit. We will only put a hold on the house if they say they ARE sending the money. Otherwise, we tell them to let us know when they are ready. If the home is still available, would be happy to rent to them.
I will hold the property 48 hours if they scan a copy of the signed contract and their check and e-mail to me. I won't hold it unless I have those and they tell me when it has been mailed. I encourage them to overnight the check if they want to secure the booking. I don't block the week on my listings until I have the check in my hand.
I do not hold without payment and put language in my response to inquiries that due to the number of inquiries that bookings are not confirmed without payment of deposit and signed agreement. I allow the guest to pay the deposit by electronic check or credit card, with the balance due 45 days prior to arrival by electronic check or mailing a check. Usually letting the guest know that i can't hold dates encourages them to book and pay so as not to loose the dates they want.