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Thanks for your input re the value of a rental agent. I tried it once and
my biggest issue was with the quality of the cleaning and the amount I was
being charged (35%). Since starting on vrbo, I have secured reliable
cleaners and have the names of plummers, electricians and our condo property
management staff who can all handle emergencies if/when they happen. With
reliable cleaners, I can be away and yet still reachable by cell or email if
my guests have any problems. After 6 years with vrbo, I've kept my place
rented at least 16 weeks during our short NY season and have had only 2
emergencies both of which were handled quickly and appropriately.
My problem is with all the additional charges brokers seem to tack on to the
cost of the rental. Having to pay an "application fee" when the broker is
already getting a decent percentage from the home owner seems like
duplication to me and then to pay a security deposit that will be returned
within 30-45 days after departure also seems excessive, especially if the
guest is only staying a week! I get deposits back within a week if my
cleaners tell me the place was left in decent shape.
I appreciate hearing your side of the issue but am still convinced that in
today's world of enhanced capabilities because of technology, I can keep my
guests happy and make sure my place is kept as pristine as I want it.
Thanks for your time in letting us know your feelings on the subject. Jeni
a property manager for a vacation home is not the sme as a broker, well at least not in florida anyway. i can only talk for my company however we dont take a security deposit but instead have the guests sign a security deposit waiver, i understand why others do in case the guest has made international calls, international directory calls, ordered ppv etc etc, some owners dont have blocks on these services and it can only come to light once the utility bill has arrived and if the security deposit has already been returned then there isnt a lot the broker/manager can do about it.
Im not saying your points arent valid and its good that your able to be so succesful managing your property on your own however my original post was really just trying to state that management companies as a whole to the majority are needed, many of them will need to advertise the houses somewhere just like the owners.
Most of the posts i have read under this thread seem to say ha dont listen yet its in a ha website they are complaining which to me doesnt really seem to be the best place to get any action done especially as the general feedback is they "dont listen"
I understand your points and believe me, I'd rather not manage my rental but
I think the pride I have in my place shows when our guests arrive and is
also evidenced by the 5 start testimonials I get with regularity. We also
use vrbo when we rent and have had great success not only here in the States
but also in Europe and the Carribean; always immaculate and well taken care
Thanks again for taking your responsibilities so seriously; wish you were in
NYS. Best, Jeni
We too have very reliable help....cleaner that is excellent who calls right after she's cleaned and lets us know the condition the house was left in by the renters, an exterminator who will take care of any pest problems in well under 24 hrs, an audio-video guy right in the area who can take care of those problems in less than 24 hrs, a very reliable plumber, and an HVAC company that's also reliable and quick. We also have our general maintenance guys who've rebuilt our decks and porches and done carpentry work inside since 2007 and will get to our house immediately for an emergency. The owners of the company that takes care of our window and door needs were at our house at 9AM the morning after we were hit by a tornado last April.
All of these people responded faster than the rental agency did for the first 4 years we rented through an agency. In fact, after the first year, we instructed the rental agency that we did not want them to respond to problems but to call our own people. That worked well for the next 3 years, but we were paying them much more in fees and commissions than we liked. This year we netted about 33% more than any year in the past.
The number one reason we do not use an agency is that we did not have any control over who was allowed to rent our house. Now we do, and we're very happy renting privately. Renting through VRBO isn't for everybody, in fact it isn't for most vacation rental home owners.
I appreciate your opinion but your facts are a bit off.
You stated, "at least 95% of all vacation homes are going to be professionally managed." Not sure where you got this from but this is simply not accurate.
In your scenario # 1, what you are referring to is outright fraud. Fraud does NOT happen with owners, it happens with criminals and I do not appreciate that you are putting all owners into the potential "fraud bucket". As a matter of fact, I know of a huge fraud scheme that happened with a property manager who is now thankfully in federal prison. But that does NOT mean all property managers are fraudulent.
In scenario # 2 when the air goes out in the middle of the night--owners have just as much if not more control over a situation like this. I have had air conditioners go out and gotten them fixed within an hour! I had a TV go out and had a new one delivered within 2 hrs.
In your scenario #1 you also say, "but less than 25% of owners have this ability". Again, not sure where you are getting your facts from but again, this is NOT a true stat. Here's an example of 3 of the top vacation rental markets on VRBO. Destin, FL, Gatlinburg, TN and Maui, HI
Scroll through those lists and you will see that MOST of the owners take credit cards.
I have had many guests say they would much rather deal with an owner than a property manager but the difference is I recognize there are all types of travelers out there—Those who prefer to rent through the owner, those who prefer to rent through the property manager and those who frankly don’t care.
Again, you are entitled to your opinion but please make sure your facts are correct.
Christine i must say your posts seem very pro HA/VRBO is this becuase homeaway sponsers your seminars?. my numbers came from my owners and the numbers that i can relate to such as how many have the ability to accept credit cards not what might be found on a homeaway website.
my scenario is just that a scenario, it could happen it could not, in the past i have spoken to many guests that have either booked a home that didnt exist, gone in to forclosure, not in the condition it was depicted to be in, a lot of my homeowners that i manage for also take reservations themselves and i wouldnt class them to be fradulant so to suggest that im placing all homeowners in the bracket is quite ridiculous and simply twisting my words
i have no doubt as an homeowner that manages their own home that they have a pool of contacts to call upon if required i was stating the pros of a dealing with a management company
http://www.homeaway.com/search/florida/kissimmee/region:7810/keywords:kissimmee 14 of 60 accept online payments
http://www.homeaway.com/search/florida/kissimmee/region:7810/keywords:kissimmee/page:2 0 of 60 accept online payments
http://www.homeaway.com/search/florida/kissimmee/region:7810/keywords:kissimmee/page:3 0 of 60 accept online payments
this was taken from my market place, kissimmee, id say this is a top vaction location albeit on homeaway although Gatlinburg looks very nice also, with this being said we can all click the online payment button and then explain to a customer that the company that manages the home actually processes the payment and we can all find links that support our arguements however as you will see from my first post i actually agreed with what people were saying and not trying to get aggressive responses telling me how i was wrong and saying all homeowners are frauds.
Thanks for contributing to the forum but we are all off topic on this tread. I propose we start a thread, if one does not exist already, on the merits of owner vs management company and which does a better job on average of servicing guests.
The thread was originally started because owners like myself pay for advertizing a property on a site that is advertized and has in it name that it is a site for OWNERS to market their properties. Now you can say all properties are "owned" by someone but we all know that is not the original intent of the site.
My biggest objection to management companies marketing on VRB"O" in that the company advertizes one property then bait and switches customers to other properties they manage but do not advertize. This steals the lead from other paying owners that would have that lead return to the general pool of VRB"O" advertizers.
My I get a lead for my property and it is booked I refer the lead back to VRB"O" and another owner gets a chance to rent to them.
I know for a fact this lead stealing bait and switch occurs fairly regularly as I have called other advertizers on VRB"O" and been offered other properties.
I would be interested in your opinion on this.
I am pro Vacation Rentals in general (managed through owners or through property managers). There is no need to pit one against the other. I have worked in this industry since 1996, long before HomeAway was even around. My seminars are indeed sponsored by HomeAway but I am not (and never have been—even when I was employed full time by them) a mouthpiece for their company. My role is as an educator.
This string was about allowing Property Managers list on VRBO (vacation rentals by owner).
I think you are again confusing your facts again. These links you provided are for HA which has a "book online" functionality. This means that the traveler can book the property right through HA.
That does NOT mean the rest of the property do not take credit cards.
Our unified goal should be to have guests who are happy in our homes!
PS, Fact: VRBO has more properties in Destin, Florida (Not Kissimmee) than any other area in the world.
http://www.vrbo.com/313679 accepts credit card but only through his management company, i know this for a fact
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p132157 i cant seem to find the link on how to pay directly through homeaway maybe you could show me
i never suggested that kissimmee had more properties than Destin i said it was my marketplace
i thought the unified goal of this thread was to get vrbo to stop allowing propety managers to advertise on there which i agreed with
This is almost better than watching a movie. Even if I didn't agree completely with this post I thought it was well composed with the idea of presenting both points of view. In renting our 3 places for the past 5 years we have indeed had people that need assurance that our places truly exist. That fear has to have come from someone somewhere that had that scary thing happen and show up to a paid for vacation home and it not be there. I am so used to urban myths and warmed over stories that just about anything can be made to sound like the truth if it is said often enough.
I am concerned when you mention in another post quote "in the past I have spoken to many guests that have either booked a home that didn't exist, gone in to foreclosure, not in the condition it was depicted to be in" I was surprised. I have dealt with hundreds upon hundreds of inquiries and only had this come up a few times. Maybe I'm one of the fortunate ones to not have travelers that have been burned.
My other personal observation is regarding response by owners. This summer I had consecutive weeks where our A/C went down in 2 of our condos. I had a company there within 30 minutes both times to get the A/C going and one of them was on a Sunday morning. Our guests understand that things happen in the summer and they really appreciated how quickly I got things going. I give our phone numbers to our guests in a number of ways so that they can call us anytime. We jump through hoops to keep them happy.
Again, I believe you have spoken well and I am glad we have this forum to discuss out all these issues even if we don't fully agree on everything.
I enjoyed reading your well thought out response and it seems that you and I have had a similar experience in renting our own units - thank goodness for the internet! That said, one very important difference is the ability to connect with us 24x7. I don't know about others, but when I'm looking to make reservations, rarely do I get a call back within 24 hours when a rental agent is indicated as the contact! In fact, I've even called and spoken to the owner of a property who has referred me to their rental agent who didn't get back to us for 2 days! If I was paying agent fees, I would expect more for my money and I don't really see them as doing anything I can't do for myself. Obviously, the speed with which we respond to inquiries is important and often makes the difference between securing the reservation and the renter moving on to a more responsive option! I just think that owners are doing themselves a disservice by using rental agents when all you need is a responsible cleaner and the internet to make it happen.
You are correct that all of us can advertise or not advertise with Homeaway or VRBO. However, all of us that have invested a number of years on these sites feel that the company is drifting away from the premise that attracted us in the first place. The sites have allowed us to build up things like guest reviews that I would hate to simply lose by discontinuing advertising here. As an individual owner it is easy to feel like you are a lone voice but these forums have allowed us to find out that these individual voices add up to a great many voices. That is when change can be effected. Perhaps the powers-to-be at Homeaway will find a satisfactory way to accommodate both owners and property managers. They certainly have the resources and don't want to lose hard earned business. I have yet to find the small vacation website that can deliver the punch that these big ones do. That is why we are passionate about trying to have Homeaway hear our voices as owners. We want to remain as customers but we want it to be equitable. I sure don't want to find out that a property manager can pay half the price I am paying for the same site and that speaks into the equitable issue. I'm not saying that they are paying half the price but I do know that volume discounts are available and that means that someone's managed property is getting an advantage over an active owner's site.
FACT BUSTER: Destin, Florida has 35 pages of listings on VRBO, Orlando as 37 Pages of Listings on VRBO with this being said I'm sure you can explain to me why I'm wrong about this as well
Sorry... I just discovered all of this, and it is something that has bothered us very much (that managers can list one or just a few of "their" properties, and once a prospective renter lands on their own website, they can have several or many properties there, while paying for only one ad...) BUT --- What is THIS (posted by Laura on Post #36 above): "... The property in an advertisement may not be substituted for another property, unless the property manager has purchased a subscription package that expressly allows for substitution of properties..." [emphases added] Is this another way of justifying EXACTLY what the OWNERS are complaining about here? By the way, Craigslist handles this partially in the SALES listings, where they distinguish between "by owner" and "by realtor" - very clear. But that does NOT address the bigger problem that a single posting (on ANY mass listing website) can be used by agencies - or even owners of multiple/many properties - to direct those inquiring to the OTHER properties, while paying for only the one listing. (At least on Craigslist, one doesn't PAY for the "privilege" of having managers swamp the listings while paying for one or just a few.) Why is there a problem with making it FULLY CLEAR to prospective renters WHICH properties are indeed "by OWNER" and which are by "managers or agencies/etc." by just using a simple LABEL to distiguish between "VRB*O*" on "VRBO" and "VRB*Managers/Agents*" on "VRBO".