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26460 Views 66 Replies Latest reply: Feb 13, 2012 10:27 AM by marilyn RSS
New Member 1 posts since
Jun 27, 2011
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 27, 2011 11:09 PM

Showing of Property

Is it o.k. to show your property prior to actually renting it to someone or does that make your property vulnerable to possible thieves?

  • sophie Senior Contributor 969 posts since
    Mar 4, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 28, 2011 11:45 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I actually just had an inquiry that wanted to do a "walk through".  I absolutely do not allow people to actually come to my property nor do I give the address out anymore before I get a deposit.  It's too much of a risk with all the scammers out there now. If they can't get a feel of the property by the numerous photos and tons of positive reviews then I probably wouldn't want them renting from me.

    • New Member 1 posts since
      Aug 31, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 8:18 AM (in response to sophie)
      Showing of Property

      I agree.  We are remote to our condo.  Multiple reasons to avoid a walk through.  Sometimes the previous guests leave the Cleaning Fee in cash in the Unit.  Previewers now know the Unit is empty.  If something does go missing you do not have a clear case of who was in  there last.  No rental contract, no CC info, thus no recourse.  We have worked hard to put up a a lot of pictures to avoid this situation ( good for VRBO). For our rental , a preview / walk through does not work.

      My opinion,

      Brian

  • debi Contributor 38 posts since
    Feb 24, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 28, 2011 2:04 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I will let people come see the house only if I'm there.  Our property is isolated and private, so drive-bys are not a possibility either.  It doesn't occur to me that the house could be cased for possible theft, especially as my housekeeper lives next door and knows exactly when folks are due to arrive and leave.  (I love having a personal spy!)  She lets me know if there is unusual activity, more people than my max number of renters or pets at the house.  We have had very few people have broken our rules in the 4 years we have been renting.

     

    Our other two properties are in a neighborhood of vacation houses and I don't have this kind of security.  I will allow drive-bys but again, no previews of the house unless I am there, and I live over an hour away.  The properties are closely booked during high season and are rarely empty to allow time for any look-see's.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 7:34 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    If someone wants to see the house, I make an appointment with them.. with either me if i am in town, or with my property manager. it is a one month minimum rental. the last person i showed it to rented it for three months, and i don't think they would have done that if their sister had not come and checked it out. also, it gives me a chance to tell them some of the rules/benefits/quirky things of the house in person.  i don't just give out the address, i make them make an appointment. so far, everyone has showed up to see it.  i also tell them that someone is ALWAYS in the house, but they do need an appointment.

    • New Member 16 posts since
      Jan 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 10:35 AM (in response to kimrody)
      Showing of Property

      We had a similar experience.  We showed the place (when it was vacant).  The potential renter was going to take a week or two.  She decided to take a whole month instead.

    • New Member 1 posts since
      Sep 1, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 2, 2011 12:08 AM (in response to kimrody)
      Showing of Property

      We agree with your strategy.   We have been able to rent more often after showing the proeprty.  We never give the address.  However, prior to making the appointment, we do try to get the pertinent information which gives a better picture about prospective renter's intentions, needs, etc.    We do ask the 'Age group', 'Person responsible for signing the rental document', 'special needs'... 'any pets'', and similar Qs.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 7:48 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We frequently show our home in Hanalei Bay, Kauai to prospective guests, either while we're there or via our housekeeper when we're away.  Hanalei Bay attracts many families who come there year after year and many stay in the same home each time.  When they are looking for new digs for a future trip, we are all too happy to accommodate their desire to see our home as this may result in a long-term repeat client.  We don't show our home when guests are booked but, rather, on the day of checkout after it's cleaned up (but before the new guests arrive as we are typically 100% booked).

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:42 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    What about having a proper walk through on video that was available for potential renters to view on the HomeAway or VRBO sites?  I've been filming them for owners for a while and they've been getting great response.  Here is one example:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKXPM5d_iuU  If interest continues the way it has been, I think it would be great to work in some kind of partnership with VRBO or HomeAway to give them another service to offer their home owners in the areas we work in.  This way owners would have a virtual walk through to refer clients too, and would also give an advantage to those owners with clients that live too far away to consider a real walthrough... thoughts?

    • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
      Feb 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 11:52 AM (in response to captainrick)
      Re: Showing of Property

      I think that a walk-thru video's are a great marketing tool and a good way to keep perspective renters from asking for a physical walk-thru.

      #

      I think that whether or not you provide a walk-thru video depends on your concerns as to whether or not you might be enticing someone to break into your home by showing them all the "goodies" in the home.

       

      If you live near your property or have someone that can keep an eye on it, then I believe this is a great idea.

       

      If your property is in a rural location or if there is no one around your property for long periods of time (like maybe in your off-peak season), then I feel that you are setting yourself up for problems.

       

      We provide lots of information (for inquiriers) on our HA listing and our website and are quite willing to answer any questions they might have regarding bedding, items in home, area etc.

       

      Again, if there is a special event or we are going to be in the area, we may set up an appointment for a walk-thru.

      If we are unable to do this (because we will not be in the area or because the property has someone staying in it at the time) and the person will only rent if they are able to have a walk-thru, then we will willingly lose the reservation to keep our other guests and property safe.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:13 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We are always more than happy to show property to guests.  I feel this helps them decide on which home they really want and it alliviates and problems in the future regarding locations, items in the home and bedding.  We try out best to give people as much information as possible, along with photography but the real thing is usually what closes the deal.  This really works out well if someone is having a family reunion and they want to make certain the location is right as they are renting several homes.

  • karla.kujat New Member 2 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:32 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We often show our villa, with 10 bedrooms, people are often looking to celebrate a special event or for the perfect spot to accomodate multiple families, friends or for Corporate Retreats. They want to get a feel for the place and location, we find that usually a walk through will result in a booking.  I or our House Manager will take care of our potential guests and walk throughs are by appointment only, and only if our property is unoccupied.  Most of our requests come from agents and are for Brides, to date I have not yet had any 'tour' requests via HomeAway or VRBO.

  • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
    Feb 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:33 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    If we are at the house, I don't mind showing the house. I like for people to have few surprises, and if a walk-through makes their rental experience better (even if it means them staying elsewhere), then that's great.

     

    However, we are not at the house very often. We live far away. The person who cares for our home is paid by the hour outside of regular cleaning, and I am not willing to pay for a walk-through for a prospective short term rental. If the prospective rental was for a couple of months, I would be open to that.

     

    Also, I cannot guarantee the home will be available for viewing. If the home is rented, then there are simply no walk-throughs.

     

    We have quite a few photos on VRBO and I am happy to answer any questions in great detail. We've only had a couple of walk-through requests, and only one request by a short term rental prospect, who was not being reasonable about several things. I was fine with saying no to the walk-through in that instance!

  • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
    Feb 28, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:33 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We own one property and mange 5 others. Most of the requests that we have received to view a property have been for ours. I think this is because it is a large home and some of our guests want to have an event or a family reunion and they want to see the if there is enough room for everyone. If this is the case and we are available, we will set up an appointment.

    For general requests to see the proeprty, we have a policy in place for these requests. We do NOT give out the address unless a reservation has been made and a deposit has been received. This is for security reasons and for our guests that are staying at the home at the time (this is exactly what we tell the person that is requesting to see the property so that they will know that if they are the guest that is staying in one of ours homes,  no one will come wandering in the yard or pulling into the driveway when they are in the home).

     

    We have had perspective guests try to convince us to let them view the homes by saying that they have never heard of renting a home where they could not see it in advance and will not do so now.

    We know that this is not true as there are lots of owners with this policy and also not every vacation rental is geographically available to a perspective renter to see a home in advance. We do not let these types or comments change our policy. We have lost a few perspective guests for this reason but there are always more where this one came from (and better to be safe than sorry).

     

    If a person is mainly interested in checking-out the homes surrounding area. We will provide an address and Google map of a business for them to drive around the area.

  • pbrealestaterental@gmail.com New Member 10 posts since
    Dec 19, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:46 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    First of all, we are constantly having people ask about drive bys and walk thru's. Most of the time it is already occupied and I would never consider bothering a vacationer to allow a "Maybe" to walk thru  On very few occassions when I have been on the property, I have allowed it. Afterwards our home was robbed and the police could not find out who did it. I will never even allow a person to drive by. I will give them the neighborhood or the street but not the address. I do not want anyone knowing that there may be anytime that the could come into our home. Now, the police watch it very closely and we give them the names of any person who is supposed to be in the home. Hope this helps someone.

     

    Mel Woods

  • poodle New Member 12 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:48 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    I found the responses very interesting. We have a Tahoe place that people rent for a weekend or a week or 2. With all the pix on the web site, I don't feel the need to show inside the property. The rent is fairly cheap and the stays are short.

    Our Maui place rents for a month at a time and I have video's on the web site. I don't show the inside but I offer referrals to former guests if the prospective renter is nervous.

     

    But in both cases I give out the address for drive-by's (or google maps) before the reservation is complete. Seems reasonable for a prospective renter to want to make sure the neighborhood and location is OK.

     

    Has anyone had any break-ins that they thought where the direct result of giving out the address?

    • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
      Feb 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 11:36 AM (in response to poodle)
      Re: Showing of Property

      If you are loking at it from the renters point of view, it does seem reasonable.

      But if you are looking at it from an owners/business point of view then you have to weigh the potenial issues that could arise if you just provide the address to anyone that asks for it.

       

      There are so many issues that could arise from having someone stay in your home that you don't know (that has actually provided personal information in a contract and has paid the rental fee) that I am not willing to take a chance by providing information regarding the location to people that I do not have this information from.

       

      I have not have any issues with break-ins, etc. and I plan to do everything possible to keep it that way.

       

      We live a couple of hours away from the properties and are not always able to be there when someone would like to take a look. Also our Peak season is usually booked far in advance and I would not take a perspective renter into a home that already has a guest booked in it nor would a I give someone the address to drive by, there by taking the chance they they would pull into the drive and annoy the guests that are currently there.

       

      As I have stated elsewhere, there are exceptions (someone wants to book for an event, etc.) and we always try to accomodate these if we are able if we are going to be at the property or by having our housekeeper show the house.

       

      I think that whether you show your property to perspective renters has a lot to do with whether you live near your property or not.

      If we lived in the general vacinity of our properties, I would be more willing to "show" the property (by appointment). I still would not just provide the address to anyone who was just making an inquiry.

       

      I also think that that the vacation rentals that list the address or provide the address to anyone that makes an inquiry are usually the very large ones...like the cabin groups in the Smokies or an owner that is renting a condo that is located in a condo complex...there is usually some type of security in these places and if not there is usually lots of people around.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 8:51 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    This is just my personal experience, a very negative one.  Hope you will learn from this.  A couple years ago, when I firsted started advertising my property for vacation rental.  I did not know better, I had one inquiry wanted to rent for a weekend. and asked over the phone if she can take a look at the property.  I, eager to get the booking, gladly said yes.

     

    There were 5 family members showed up, surveying the property, I did not feel right, so when he wants to rent for the weekend for the mere $600 for 7 or 8 guests from out of town, I declined, without giving a reason, (the true reason is I had several inquries going at the same time, for fewer guests and longer stay, but not confirmed, yet).

     

    A month later, I got a call from state attorney general's office, telling me he filed a discrimination complaint against me, because the property was advertised still available, yet I told him no. it has been booked.

     

    I was terrified, the investigation went on for a year, finally dismissed.  but the good grief went on for over a year. and is the worst ever!

     

    I am a minority myself, voted for Obama, not a racist, believe strongly about equality for all, and just because he is african american, I declined him, and he can file a complaint with AG, and the investigatin went on for 1 year.  Finally dismissed, because I had rented the property just prior to this incident, to a lovely African American family.  So, fellow property ownrs, DO NOT SHOW the property in person.  Nobody checked out the hotel before they book it, pics on the website provide all the details. 

     

    I agree, do not give prop address either, until you talked to them, get a feel, and ready to book.  that is for security reason.

    • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
      Feb 23, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 9:01 AM (in response to chanel1962)
      Re: Showing of Property

      Chanel, that is really awful. Did you have to hire an attorney? How did the investigation take place (review records, etc.)?

       

      Your experience would be a good topic on its own. I  think there are many vacation rental owners who think they can  discriminate, and could learn from what you went through (even though  you were innocent).

    • poodle New Member 12 posts since
      Jul 27, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 9:10 AM (in response to chanel1962)
      Showing of Property

      Yikes! I guess NOT meeting the guest has its advantages. When you are in biz it is "guilty until proven innocent".

       

      As I posted today on the 4 legged rental page, I don't allow dogs but I had a person with a seeing eye dog really pressure me to rent to her. She only backed off after I sent her info about 50 other rentals in the area that DO allow dogs. I have been worried ever since that I will get contacted by some governing agency.

      • New Member 4 posts since
        May 25, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 1, 2011 7:51 AM (in response to poodle)
        Showing of Property

        We don't allow pets and I am wary of anyone claiming to have a "service dog" because I think it could be someone trying to skirt the no-pet-rule.  I base this on having a couple who made this dog claim; they sent one of their adult children to drive by our property to scope it out.  After speaking with the potential guest again, the whole thing started to seem sort of sneaky and unpleasant - I didn't trust them and came up with a pretext for not renting to them, and I didn't believe their dog story.

    • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
      Feb 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 11:13 AM (in response to chanel1962)
      Showing of Property

      Wow, I find that the fact that this could actually happen very amazing.

      It is your home (not a hotel) and one would think that you would be able to rent to who you want (unless you are trully being discriminatory).

      With the type of business a vacation rental is, there is always someone that might be in the process of making a reservation or you might be holding it for someone that has called and is waitng to get back to you in a day or so with a firm head count, etc.

      I have done this very thing (told an inquirer that it is booked when the calendar says it is available...this is because I have been waiting for a signed contract and deposit (I do not change my calendar from available to booked until I actually have received these).

       

      Like "wiffel", I also am curious as to how the investigation took place and what you had to provide.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 9:01 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We own rental property in Scotland. My advice would be to film a walkthrough and post it on youtube with a link on your website or homeaway page. This is free!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 9:18 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I never show the rental house unless a long term rental. I will allow people to do a drive because it is very easy to get the location. My best advice about all the legal issues members are brining up: silence is golden just do not respond to people that ask for things you do not want to consider. It is your house and it is much better in most cases to not rent it when conditions are not favorable to you.

  • New Member 2 posts since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 9:59 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I am always happy to show our properties to a prespective renter, as long as it does not interrupt a current guest.  To help answer perspective guests question we also have virtual tours that were created by Fisheye Virtual Tours on our web site.  That often answers questions a guest may have by allowing them to take a closer look that standard photographs do not provide.  http://www.fisheyevt.com/tours/csth/mechanicsburgtownhome/ 

  • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
    Feb 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 10:09 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I think on our next trip out we will make a video to provide in lieu of a walk through. Great idea!

     

    Regarding providing the address so that people can check out the neighborhood: I am not worried about theft but I would worry about overzealous prospective tenants knocking on the door to try to check out the house. Some people are very self-centered like that.

    • poodle New Member 12 posts since
      Jul 27, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Aug 31, 2011 10:18 AM (in response to wiffle)
      Showing of Property

      You can hire a company to make a video or do it yourself like I did. I just used the video mode of our little camera and then edited it with Windows Movie Maker (moviemk.exe) that comes standard with some versions of Windows. The key is to move the camera very slowly.

      Having watched a lot of rental video's, I think they come out better if you don't talk and just have music playing. You can get royalty free music at places like  www.royaltyfreemusic.com. Just find some pleasent short musicc piece and loop it again and again. Then you just pump it  up to www.Youtube.com for free (still cannot get over how Youtube is free!)

      • New Member 2 posts since
        Aug 31, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Aug 31, 2011 10:46 AM (in response to poodle)
        Re: Showing of Property

        That is exactly what we do, but we're using completely professional equipment and producing everything in fully stabilized High-Definition video.  Our latest upgrades were the addition of a 12 foot camera boom crane, and a SteadiCam Rig for shooting completely stable interior walkthrough shots, and we produce our own music that is fully licensed and royalty free.  Quality shots with a SteadiCam make the video look like the camera was flying through the air, and eliminates distractions to the viewer from poor camera handling like you see on most of the videos hosted on VRBO currently. 

         

        Here's another sample of a video just with the boom crane, it will give you an idea of how advantageous having a professionally made video can augment the current online listings with VRBO and HomeAway that are strictly photographs or even amateur video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MesEi31t5h8  You can also see another of our videos using the SteadiCam Rig here, but it is more of a resort video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hLmJm3c3fk

         

        Point is, the topic of discussion is that many home owners are having requests for walk throughs... certainly there are many risks associated with bringing strangers into a home that is worth the kind of dollars we are talking about, but by providing an accurate representation online, it is available to everyone that is interested in renting your properties, whether they are near or from afar.  We are currently servicing exclusively the Caribbean, but could quickly see this service becoming valuable in many locations.  You can see more about the gear we use if you want by looking back in my Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rickjmoore

         

        One question though... I can see that VRBO has a video option available on its listings, but is it true that HomeAway has no provision for video, or did I miss it somewhere?

  • thaxterlane Active Contributor 782 posts since
    Jul 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 4:29 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We do not live near our vacation home / rental property and can not provide access to potential guests.  I do not provide information for drive by viewings as it might result in people walking around the property, on the deck and entryway, and peering in windows when other guests are in residence.  This would disturb me if I were renting a property and I won't do anything that will adversely impact my guests' stay.

     

    I maintain a website that includes a slideshow of over 70 photos of the interior and exterior of our home as well as the local area and sites.  I also have floor plans on the website with detailed information on furnishings in each room.

     

    If I had a property manager I might consider showing our home to potential renters in the off season, but I think my website provides an abudance of information that makes a viewing unnecessary.

  • New Member 22 posts since
    Jun 23, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 4:47 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

       We used to allow it our first year, but no more.  Because of the neighborhood we're in (a bit stuffy), and issues with noise and parking, we can't allow weddings, parties (other than the people staying and maybe a couple of visitors), or other large "events."  This is made very clear in all our ads, but still we are hit up constantly for "small" weddings of "100 or so people," etc.  The first year, we found that whenever we showed it, a real hassle for us even though we live on the property because we work days and won't show it dirty or occupied, it never resulted in a stay, which was strange because we get rave 5 star reviews from our renters.  We finally realized that in almost every case, the people we showed it to had not read the ad carefully, and wanted to check it out for weddings and large parties.  As soon as we mentioned what wasn't allowed, that did it.  Most of these people weren't upfront about it, until contacted later.  Most were brides, and thought they could maybe sneak a wedding in, til they saw that we're on the property most nights.  We finally realized what a huge waste of time it was, and that most who need to "see" it (we have tons of ads, photos, and great reviews) are checking it out for something we don't allow anyway, to see if they could fit everything and everyone.  So, no more.  It also makes no sense for us, because in high season we are booked back-to-back.  The house is cleaned on a four hour changeover, so there's no time to show it.  The video is a great idea.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 7:38 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    A very timely topic for us. We live in upsate New York and own a vacation home in Florida. We had booked a guest who was coming in during September but several times requested that they be allowed to see our home so that they could "plan their events". After repeated no's we did suggest they could come when we were there but never during a time when our home was occupied by other guests. The other option was to have our property manager meet them at our home when it was empty but that arrangement could cost us money and our PM's time.

     

    As it turned out, they did come while we were there and found them to be fine people. Their daughter was getting married and a portion of the ceremony was being perfromed at our home during their stay. The whole event took fifteen minutes.

     

    The bottom line is either you or your PM are there to walk them through the house to ensure all is well.

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Aug 31, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 31, 2011 9:04 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    I am always happy to show the property ahead of time if it is vacant and I can meet them there. I live nearby and do not put a lockbox on because of the current economic climate. Too many scammers, squatters, etc. However, I understand if somone wants to see the inside because many properties are NOT accurately represented.

        I have been a vacation renter and I always want to see the home BEFORE committing.As an example, one home was represented as a single story but it had steps from room to room. The owner didn't think that was important because the house didn't have a second story!! Another owner claimed the guest house was air conditioned and it was but it was controlled by anothr unitl So truth in advertising is not always the case.

     

    I try to accommodate them whenever possible. If there is no vacancy between bookings, then I lose the future renter. Each neighborhood is different as is each property, so you have to do what "feels" right. This has worked for me.

  • New Member 4 posts since
    May 25, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 1, 2011 7:35 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    Most of our guests come from too far away to do a walk-through.  However, some are close enough to want to take a look and, if I have given them a basic vetting over the phone and they sound OK, I will oblige them if and when there is no other tenant on premises.  I think it is entirely reasonable for them to want to look and we live close to our rental so it is little or no inconvenience for us to show the property.  I had to add to this blog because yesterday I showed a potential guest the property and they wrote me a check for a one-month stay right on the spot - oh, and our poperty still has no electricity due to Hurricane Irene!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Sep 1, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 1, 2011 3:41 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We live in California and our property is in San Miguel de Allende Mexico, so I don't get too many requests for walkthroughs.  But when I do, it's always from a person who is staying there and wants to come back next year.  Naturally, I want them to see the house and decide if they could be comfortable there in the hopes that they will become regular visitors.  I have an onsite property manager who can show them, and since the courtyard is gated and secure I don't worry about any potential theft problems.  With these conditions, I think it's just a good business decision, but I can certainly understand how it could be more dicey for other properties.

  • New Member 6 posts since
    May 16, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 3, 2011 12:42 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    We've had a request for a preview only once. We live 5 minutes away from the condo we rent out in Arizona and the renter lived in Canada, but had a relative that lived in our area.  The renter had already paid a deposit, but being a first-time renter of any property, wanted "to make sure that the property really existed and that the website wasn't a scam".  Our condo complex is gated, so the relative had to meet with us in order to get in.  After looking around the unit for about 10 minutes, the relative was satisfied, reported back to the Canadians, and everything was fine!  Since we live so close, we didn't mind offering that extra peace-of-mind to the renter.  And since we're gated, we don't have to worry about the relative getting in at another time. (The gate code changes for each renter).

    • New Member 16 posts since
      Jan 28, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 3, 2011 4:56 PM (in response to dancer)
      Re: Showing of Property

      "to make sure that the property really existed and that the website

      wasn't a scam".

       

      I was really prepared to read about a total implosion after seeing that

      statement.  It's good to know it worked out.

       

      But how can anyone think that an offering via VRBO (or any of its

      affiliates or well-known competitors) could be a scam?

       

      Frankly, if someone has expressed that sort of doubt to me, I'd have

      replied "I believe it would be in everybody's best interest for you to

      look elsewhere."

      • New Member 6 posts since
        May 16, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 4, 2011 12:43 AM (in response to deserthideaway)
        Re: Showing of Property

        Actually there have been several articles in the local (Arizona) news about rental scams. People post photos of houses that are in foreclosure. After a renter sends in their money and arrives, they find out that the property isn't owned by the people who claimed they owned it, and now they are out their money and have nowhere to stay!  Since these were people from out of the country who had never rented a vacation property before, we weren't all that surprised with their request and were happy to make them feel comfortable.

      • wiffle Contributor 217 posts since
        Feb 23, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 4, 2011 12:50 AM (in response to deserthideaway)
        Re: Showing of Property

        I agree with what Dancer said. I have also heard of scammers using photos of legitimate vacation rentals for bogus ads on Craigslist. They collect the payment and the traveler is out the money with no place to stay.

         

        In this day and age, I don't fault people for using caution. I think that is smart.

         

        This is a stranger who is planning on giving a good chunk of money to a relative stranger. I wouldn't take it personally that they want to be cautious.

      • Currently Being Moderated
        Sep 18, 2011 3:11 AM (in response to deserthideaway)
        Showing of Property

        I have been surprised this past year by the number of inquiries that are worried about scams. I have never had anyone question my legitimacy until recently, and I chalk it up to the abundance of travel articles warning about various traps for the potential renter.

         

        Yes, it is a "leap of faith" on both sides - my home, their hard-earned money, and nothing to go on but some undated photos, creatively-written ad copy and reviews that may or may not be entirely honest. 

         

        VRBO used to be above reproach in the VR industry.  There are scams on HA/VRBO, which you may read about on many travellers' forums.  I chalk this up to the many recent changes in this company, as well as the VR business in general. 

         

        Our only recourse as VR Owners is to conduct ourselves as honest businesspeople.  I must now spend double the time with inquiries, most of which is spent convincing prospective guests that I am a real person who happens to rent my real home from time to time.  It is unfortunate that the recent changes to the HA/VRBO policies have made this job even more difficult for us.

        • tsvr Contributor 220 posts since
          Feb 28, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Sep 18, 2011 6:33 AM (in response to manouche)
          Re: Showing of Property

          manouche, what scams on HA/VRBO? What changes in the policies of HA/VRBO do you feel have made our job more difficult for us?

          • Currently Being Moderated
            Sep 19, 2011 2:01 PM (in response to tsvr)
            Re: Showing of Property

            tsvr - I was actually referred to many negative reviews of VRBO properties by several of my prospective renters - they pop up on TripAdvisor, RickSteves, Frommer's, Google, etc. There are many of them, and they warn of VRBO scams, whether concerning property or financial arrangements.  I was not aware of them until recently.

             

            Property was not available when guests arrived (double booking or accidentally-on-purpose?), so they were sent to another apartment - not at all the location or amenities they had paid for and expected, from viewing the listing, no refunds.  Many other reviews concerning the actual condition of the property as opposed to the photos on the VRBO listing - the property featured glowing reviews, however photos were obviously taken many years ago, property seriously degraded since then.  Amenities listed - WiFi, telephone, TV, stove, fridge - all were present, but none of which worked.  Manager was called, but stated there was nothing to be done, as the Owner did not want to spend the money. sorry, no refunds.  Someone had listed an apartment as a rental, without informing the owner of the property. When guests arrived they had no place to stay,since the Owner was living there, and are still trying to get a refund from the Manager, who does not respond to calls or emails.  If you care to look, you will be amazed at the scam references.  I would expect this from CraigsList or other similar sites, but VRBO has always stood for quality.  Now it appears that only quantity matters...The changes I refer to have to do with HA/VRBO allowing the multi-list, hands-off approach to vacation rentals.

             

            I listed my apartment on VRBO because it was highly recommended to me.  In the beginning, I had excellent results - prospective renters felt very confident about the transaction, since they were dealing directly with a well-established company and the Owner.  Now I am asked to prove both my personal honesty - how can they be sure II am who I say I am? - as well as to provide references from previous guests - something I refuse to do, as I respect their privacy.  All my clients' reviews are posted as they have written them. Several people have mentioned that they suspected a scam, since my reviews are positive.  I guess I can't blame them.

             

            I have attempted to rent numerous properties through VRBO during the last 2 years, when I have family or friends coming to town.  I cannot count the number of "bait and switch" offers that now exist - "Contact Manager for Availability", only to discover that the property listed is never available, but several dozens more are.  I have been greatly disappointed at the condition of many of the properties I have rented, which were all "Managed Properties" here in Paris. 

             

            My reference to the policy changes at HA/VRBO concerns the fact that Owners and Property Managers have been able - and are encouraged to - take over the site with multiple listings, which are often poorly maintained and managed, and for which they pay only the fee for one listing - most often not available for rent.  As a Renter, I find this trend discouraging, and have been researching other sites.  As an Owner, I have seen a negative impact on my business, and am investigating other means of advertising my property.

             

            Yes, we have been awarded an "Icon", and yes, we can certainly add "Owner" to our Headlines and ad copy.  What we cannot do is hope to compete with the sheer numbers of unpaid listings that HA/VRBO allow.  The overall perception of this site has degraded, both in the minds of prospective renters and those of us who pay for our listings.

             

            Sorry for the rant, but have just been through the mill while housing the in-laws.  Several of the situations listed above applied...

            • New Member 6 posts since
              May 16, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Sep 19, 2011 2:32 PM (in response to manouche)
              Re: Showing of Property

              I agree with your complaints.  Most renters won't take the time to leave a positive review.  We've had luck also listing our property on FlipKey dot com, which is part of Trip Advisor.  The listing fees are similar but pictures are unlimited (as opposed to extra charges for more than 5 photos with VRBO).  FlipKey also wants you to solicit reviews, but your standing in their listing doesn't depend on how many reviews you get.

               

              Convention 2009

               

              p.s. I would have posted this for everyone to see, but I couldn't get into the community website!

              • sfvacationhut Community All-Star 643 posts since
                Dec 31, 2010
                Currently Being Moderated
                Sep 20, 2011 1:01 AM (in response to dancer)
                Re: Showing of Property

                dancer, I'm on FlipKey, too, and it seems that the number of reviews (and overall rating, in stars) DOES affect how high up you appear in the search results.  Doesn't it?  Or maybe you are talking about something else?

                • swlinphx Senior Contributor 2,194 posts since
                  Aug 30, 2011
                  Currently Being Moderated
                  Feb 10, 2012 5:00 AM (in response to sfvacationhut)
                  Re: Showing of Property

                  Yes FlipKey, and especially its all-inclusive sister travel site TripAdvisor, definitely rank heavily on reviews.  That is their main sellling point and what makes them popular with consumers and earns their trust.  We couldn't port over any of our reviews in the past 7 years from other listings, but luckily since we started with them in early November we already got 9 good reviews in 3 months!  I heard you can't really gauge the efficacy of FlipKey/TripAdvisor until you have at least 3 - 5 reviews total.

                   

                  ...and don't use their review solicitaion tool for reviews.  They often go to SPAM as TripAdvisor has newsletters it often sends out to visitors of the site and it may be confusing.  Instead, send a form letter from your e-mail address they have been doing business with all along to their e-mail address personally. It works a lot better!

                  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
                    Nov 9, 2011
                    Currently Being Moderated
                    Feb 10, 2012 8:32 AM (in response to swlinphx)
                    Re: Showing of Property

                    We won't use flip key. I don't like waiting for my money. My rates are really sharp for what we offer. We are the lowest priced rentals. As a result, we use the money paid to do the work needed to upgrade my homes. Flip key gives you money after tenants have checked in. Also tenants can cancel, we do not refund on cancellations. We really do not wish to take deposits or payments unless guests are certain of their plans.

                    • dogwoodridge Contributor 75 posts since
                      Jul 17, 2011
                      Currently Being Moderated
                      Feb 10, 2012 8:44 AM (in response to marilyn)
                      Re: Showing of Property

                      Hi Marilyn!

                       

                      I think you must be talking about AirBnB.  I'm pretty sure FlipKey doesn't have anything to do with our rental transactions.  AirBnB, however, handles all the money transactions and - like you said - doesn't let you not refund for cancellation.  The best they give you is a "strict" cancellation policy that allows the renter to receive a 50% refund.  I don't worry about it too much because as long as I have been listed with AirBnB, I have NEVER received an inquiry - not one - so they really don't do anything for me, but being listed there is free.

                    • swlinphx Senior Contributor 2,194 posts since
                      Aug 30, 2011
                      Currently Being Moderated
                      Feb 10, 2012 8:59 AM (in response to marilyn)
                      Re: Showing of Property

                      Yes, I was going to say the same thing dogwood.  Marilyn is definitely not talking about FlipKey/TripAdvisor.  They work no differently than VRBO, HomeAway, etc.  I like being signed with a different company and not having all my eggs in one basket with HomeAway solely.

                       

                      We have been a part of commission-based sales listings but they always jack up the price to accommodate their take and they don't charge for listing so we don't have anything to lose, even if we never get a booking through them.  However, they are few and far between.

                    • maureen.baumgartner Contributor 79 posts since
                      Jun 22, 2011
                      Currently Being Moderated
                      Feb 11, 2012 2:56 PM (in response to marilyn)
                      Re: Showing of Property

                      Marilyn, you definitely have Flipkey confused with AirBnB.  I totally agree with you about the idiocy of AirBnB's owner-unfriendly policies, especially their RIDICULOUS cancellation policies, which they laughably call "strict;" they even have a policy whereby renters can cancel and get some money back AFTER arrival! 

                        But please believe me, you are losing LOTS of money by not advertising on Flipkey.  Flipkey is GREAT!  It has NO control over how or when you get paid; the renter pays us directly at time of booking, just like all our other sites. We take their credit cards right over the phone, or you can use Paypal, have them send you a check, or do it however you do it on your other sites; Flipkey does not involve itself.  But they charge only $299 for a great page with unlimited pictures, unlike VRBO and it's gouging for pictures, and it's $700 "Gold" tier level in it's new tier system.  If you want to be seen then you have to buy Gold level or close now on VRBO, so Flipkey is half the price, and we get just as many, and sometimes MORE, inquiries from Flipkey.  The smart thing is to do both, plus Homeaway.  But Flipkey is the best value, because you get great exposure on TripAdvisor, which is huge!  I'm hoping that now you know it isn't Flipkey that you're thinking of (we've used them 2 yrs now), that you avail yourself of the great extra exposure and income they provide.  They're giving vrbo a real run for the money.  I consult on turning your home into a vacation rental and I tell all my clients Flipkey is a must.

                         As for "walk-throughs," we won't do them at all, as we work, the house is usually rented, and we absolutely won't show it uncleaned, even though everyone claims it "won't matter."  We did it in the beginning, and we almost always found it was a bride or big party planner, who just wanted to see how many people they could fit on the property, and hadn't read our many "No weddings, no parties," pronouncements.  I agree with Sophie; if you have plenty of pictures and tons of great reviews, there is no reason to do walk-throughs, or give out the address til booked.  Just give the nearest major intersection.  Video walk-through is a great idea!  Thanks!

                      • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
                        Nov 9, 2011
                        Currently Being Moderated
                        Feb 11, 2012 3:06 PM (in response to maureen.baumgartner)
                        Re: Showing of Property

                        I will certainly look I to flip key again. Thanks for all the great info.

                         

                        Unfortunately, many people show their homes in the hamptons and so I need to follow the pack. Tenants might think it suspicious if I refuse and others show.

    • swlinphx Senior Contributor 2,194 posts since
      Aug 30, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 10, 2012 4:52 AM (in response to dancer)
      Re: Showing of Property

      Same with us.  We live in a gated condo community in the Phoenix area and the gate codes change monthly (we also get a lot of Canadians).  If the tenant is looking for next year or their relative is in the area I will let them come by.  If the place is rented they can look at the property, but I assure them the pictures and floor plan is accurate.  I don't like showing a place "unmade" however so often that is a factor.  We don't make up a place when guests check-out until a day or two before the next guests check-in.  That way it is always freshly cleaned and they comment on that aspect as well.  No sense paying for a cleaning and then letting dust accumulate if it is scheduled to be vacant for a few weeks.

       

      We never give out the actual address unit number over the phone in advance for the many reasons people here have already stated.

      • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
        Nov 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 10, 2012 8:41 AM (in response to swlinphx)
        Re: Showing of Property

        In order to see my properties an appt needs to be made and we meet at a neutral venue, I.e. A shopping center. Addresses are never given out. My problem is that once rented, tenants now have address. I have had an occasion when a future tenant came to my house and asked current tenant to let them in to show family members where they will be vacationing. We now include guidelines on this as well in our confirmation. This is a no no. We will never show a home when it is occupied for any future rentals. Guests always need to wait until my homes are not occupied.

  • New Member 15 posts since
    Jul 28, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 17, 2011 2:03 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    Our cabins have had a few breakins in the past couple years. Ive never thought it could be from someone taking a peak. Thanks for the warning!

    • msdebj Senior Contributor 1,359 posts since
      May 25, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Sep 19, 2011 2:28 PM (in response to apexrentals)
      Re: Showing of Property

      Wish I could say I'm shocked the "competition" is trashing VRBO, but I'm not.  Recent changes may have allowed some with no integrity to advertise.

       

      Here is a tip.  I have made  a short video using Microsoft's free My  Photo Story software.  ( You can upload and edit photos any time you make improvement, etc.).  I then send that video to a SERIOUS renter. Saves me money, and offers them more info on my home.

       

      I never give out my address UNTIL I have a singed contract and deposit ( saftey issue).

  • dogwoodridge Contributor 75 posts since
    Jul 17, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 23, 2011 4:00 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    Hi All!

     

    This has been a timely thread for me as this has happened a lot lately!  I did actually allow one person to come by and meet my husband and I at the property and do a walk through.  I allowed it that time because as others have said, they wanted to rent our home for a month and after they saw the place it became two months!  I figured if someone is going to basically 'live' in your place for a month or longer, it would be a good idea to let them walk through, by appointment of course.  But my last three inquiries have all been for Thanksgiving weekend and all of them have wanted our address "so they can pass it on to family members" or "so my sister can do a 'drive-by'".  One person said he wanted the information for his daughter, but provided no exact dates and no number of people in the party.  He just "wanted to know the address so he could pass it on to his daughter for Thanksgiving week."  I immediately replied no to his request, yet politely.  But the other two did provide information relevant to their stay, so I was really struggling with how to reply to their requests for our exact address.  I am not comfortable giving our address out to just inquiries because our own home is also on the property, so after reading all the responses to this thread, here's what I came up with:

     

     

    Hi XXXXX!

     

    Thank you for your inquiry for The Guest House at Dogwood Ridge (VRBO  #354632).  I apologize for the delay in answering your request.  Our  home is available for the dates you requested and we would love to have  your family stay with us for the Thanksgiving holiday.  However, our  policy is to not give out the address unless a reservation has been made  and a deposit has been received. This is for security reasons and for  our guests that are staying at the home at the time.  Currently, our  home is rented through October 29 and we strongly protect our guest's  privacy and comfort.  Also, the home is in a secluded location and a  "drive-by" is not possible as the home is on the side of a mountain and  the gravel drive ends in front of the house.  I can give you the general  location - our home is in Franklin, in the Iotla Valley area, off Olive  Hill Road.  This is a very beautiful area of Franklin and you wouldn't  be disappointed :)!  I hope that you can understand our policy and know  that if you book with us we would treat you with the same respect as we  provide all our guests!  Your privacy and peaceful vacation is important  to us!

     

    For your convenience, I have attached a quote for the dates you  requested - xx/xx/2011 through xx/xx/2011.   If you have any more questions, please feel free to call or email me  directly.  Also, feel free to check out our website and our facebook  page listed below.

     

    Best Regards,

    Stephanie Sainz

    The Guest House at Dogwood Ridge

    (828) 215-0606

    www.wix.com/armandosainz/dogwoodridge

     

    Like us on facebook!  Go to  www.facebook.com/dogwoodridge

     

    I think that if a prospective guest cannot appreciate where I am coming from with a response like this, then they are probably someone who I don't want renting our home in the first place.

     

    Thanks everyone for your input!

  • New Member 1 posts since
    Apr 27, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 25, 2011 12:37 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Showing of Property

    I am very leery of people who call and want to know the address of the property so that they can get the feel of the area.  They are not willing to give me their info but feel that I should just allow them access to my rental unit.  Who are these people?  Can they be trusted?  My in-laws had a rental unit that they gave info out to prospective renters who then proceeded to return and steal anything that was not nailed down.  Also, it is not fair to the renters who are currently in the unit to have me call and ask if I can show it to another prospective renter.  Photos on the web should be enough for anyone serious about renting.

  • bend2011 Contributor 163 posts since
    Apr 28, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2012 12:19 AM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    This is a great question.  I get requests for viewings all the time. 

     

    Some people no call, no show.  So, I came up with a solution.

     

    Dear Perspective Renter,

     

      I would love to have you tour my vacation home(s).  I will be available these times and dates____________(between guests.).  For your security and mine, I ask that you fill out the reservation information and allow me to charge your credit card $25.00 which will be applied to your stay.  If you do not end up booking, this will cover my time as it is a 30 mile(in good conditions) drive for me and some folks choose to no show.

     

    Looking forward to meeting you,

    Lara

     

    Ok, so this covers my butt.  Robbery is an issue with vacation homes.  Yes, I have vacation rental insurance, but I would still like to avoid it.

     

    Also, NEVER give the address of your home to some one if you do not have their information.

    I have been doing this long enought that I can smell trouble over the phone, so phone calls are always good.

     

    If someone is serious, they will pay the $25.00.  Last week I had an inquiry for a stay that would have totaled $3600.00.  They were SOOOO enthusiastic and said they wanted to book, but they wanted the addresses of both places and refused the tour.  So, that's a red flag.  They can aford $3600.00 but not $25.00 to cover me driving up there, which would be applied to their stay.

     

    Another thing, if you were a guest at my home, would you feel comfortable if I was giving out the address for strangers to come and pier in the windows?  CREEPY!

     

    So, if you want to say no, just tell them for the security and privacy of your guests, they cannot have the address.

     

    Anyway, I hope that this helps,

    Lara

    www.alluringbend.com

    • anja Senior Contributor 1,560 posts since
      Aug 9, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Jan 3, 2012 5:18 AM (in response to bend2011)
      Re: Showing of Property

      I really like your "$25 angle".  Smart!  I never give my exact address until I have a contract and final payment.  I live quite close to my two rental units so I can be "on the spot" in a few minutes...but  I will not give my exact address or do a "walk through". I'll forfeit the booking, if that's the outcome. Why? Your "creepy" scenario actually happened at my place....not once but three times. When I purchased my property, it had previously been a rental, and the owner's had posted the exact address + directions to the property just about everywhere they advertised  including on their website. I discovered that they were on about a dozen "ad sites ...most were "free sites".  We were inexperienced so didn't question the "address exposure".   Only a couple of  months after taking  over, I discovered the first couple 'peering' into a window of one of the units {it was occupied...but thankfully the guests were out}.  I hot-footed over there and dealt with them. The second time, I was  in one of the rentals preparing for arrivals ....and a car pulled into one of the driveways....a woman emerged and "disappeared". She had gone straight through the deck entrance of the other unit which I could not see from where I was working.  Again, I hot-footed over there. She had walked around to the back of the house....and when I entered we "met" face to face...I startled her. She said that she thought no one was there! {So...had she been watching the house?]  She said she knew it was a rental and was wanting to get details {then, why not contact me, first?}. That evening and the next day I spent hours "revising" all the ads the previous owners had put online. I had to get the address and directions off the Internet.  The third time, my husband and I came home from errands...saw a vehicle parked in front of one of our cottages....and then saw a small child ...then saw a senior lady....then saw a baby stroller.  We hot-footed over there and when we arrived, we greeted the little boy in the driveway who exclaimed with glee that it was "his new house".  Parents and grandma emerged with baby in arms. They knew it was a rental but they thought that they could get it for "long term" ...meaning one year or more. {We don't do "housing".}  So, they came around to "take a peek"...with the family {thinking that grandma could have the other, smaller unit}.  They had spent an hour there...they had peered in windows...they had relaxed on the deck...they even visited our shed to check out lawn equipment. They said it was "perfect" for them.  My husband and I were numb for a few seconds {I'm never speechless}. It was a real "awakening" how vulnerable we have been, thanks to the previous owners. We politely told them the situation, but we also told them they should never arrive on private property unannounced....what if our vacation "guests" had been there...and they remarked, "Oh...we knocked first."  [Sigh]   Once we purged the address from all those websites, we never had the problem again. It is both a security risk and a general nuisance for unsuspecting, paying guests.  Admittedly, I gave  in to one walk-through request a year ago... for a couple from Germany who phoned me from a nice hotel here. The guy was so polite and considerate on the phone...I let them come over...and it resulted in their booking for 5 weeks the following winter. They were wonderful guests.  So, I guess it can work...but I'm just not comfortable with the "walk through".

    • New Member 1 posts since
      Jan 1, 2012
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 5, 2012 10:20 AM (in response to bend2011)
      Re: Showing of Property

      I guess I have been lucky. I usually do not have a problem with people looking at the outside of my house, especially in the winter. I am primarily a summer rental on Long Island, NY, so in the winter potential renters will take a drive out to the area, and visit a number of their choices in order to make a decision. I live in NY City, so I am often not there, so they will just walk around the property and get a sense of the house. As many of you have said, the photographs give a good sense of the interior. One woman I got in a long conversation as she was considering the house for a full month rental, and I told her how to get inside, but I have only done it that once. (They declined as I do not have AC as of now, although with it get warmer and warmer every year, I'm strongly considering putting in AC units.) 

       

      I think I may get less requests, as I do not have AC, so perhaps if & when I put AC in, I may feel differently about it. But I also just go with my gut about whether I give out the address. I definitely like to talk to the people, as the house is in a row of empty houses. There are year-rounders right across the street, but my immediate neighbors are all summer people too. But as others have said, I've had a couple of people that started out as a week rental turn into 2 or more. And I have said "No", especially when there are people renting the house, or it just doesn't feel right.

       

      The other thing is, I have a number of photographs of the exterior that I can email them. A typical summer fishing cottage that was fixed up and winterized. It's probably easier than many others to photograph as it's such a small lot.

  • doug.bremner New Member 1 posts since
    Jan 4, 2012
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 4, 2012 5:18 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    I found this site after getting some emails from someone coming through abritel.fr using a local phone number. After the initial inquiry I asked if he wanted to rent and he said "my house is one of several in the running" which I thought fishy. He then asked to see the house and I said it was rented for the next few weeks, to which he replied he didnt feel comfortable without seeing it. I googled his name and he had a recent arrest here in the Atlanta area. I then got another email using same email address but different name saying "our call got cut off so email or call me". I never felt comfortable with this guy and I guess he is looking to case houses so he can break in. I have met some people wanting to do weddings and the like and have given out the address for drive throughs in the past, but my experience is a lot of no shows or poor conversion to rental after you go out there to meet the whole family who are late or no show. From now on in I am going to require security deposit before I let people see the house, give out address or make appointments. I think it will save a lot of time as well as I have a full time job and cannot spend my life catering to these people.

  • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
    Nov 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2012 3:57 PM (in response to msfluff)
    Re: Showing of Property

    By meeting a prospective tenant away from the house, at a Starbucks for instance, you have the opportunity to meet them first. I am usually a pretty good judge (hope it continues) of character and then proceed to show my home after qualifying the tenant.

    • New Member 2 posts since
      Sep 1, 2011
      Currently Being Moderated
      Feb 10, 2012 11:17 AM (in response to marilyn)
      Re: Showing of Property

      I have to say, one thing that so many of you seem to have is the time and capability to meet people. There are a lot of us who don't have the time, or simply can't because we do not live close enough to our rental properties to do so. So it is a tricky situation where you really do have to judge who the person is by talking to them, perhaps doing a Google search on them, making sure they are who they say they are, maybe asking for references from past rentals. It's sad to hear of so many having troubles with break-ins. Luckily, knock on wood, my area hasn't had that problem as of yet. I also think it's a really good idea to network with other VRBO renters (or Home Away, or what ever system you are in) in your area, so that if you are concerned about someone, you can send out an e-mail asking if they have had a contact from this person. I have two good friends that I keep in touch with. We will often share info on potential renters, especially if there is something fishy about them.

      • swlinphx Senior Contributor 2,194 posts since
        Aug 30, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 10, 2012 11:32 AM (in response to cottage15)
        Re: Showing of Property

        While it definitely puts me at ease first to speak with the guest over the phone before and after booking, and then to meet in person, if I couldn't I would be sure to have someone I trust who is a friend and cares about us or our property on a personal level to meet them, even if I had to pay them a "greeting" fee.  Like I said, there are so many different situations and we do have owners that live out of state and just keep a lockbox.  We have tourists renting from those owners coming in driving around asking for "the office" or where a certain unit is.  The fact we pretty much "hold their hand" the whole time is not only for their  convenience and assurance but for ours as well.

         

        Some guests have almost become like friends in a way.  When I go over to give them something or assist in any way they often keep me there talking or ask me to join them for dinner, LOL.  I try to keep it business though.  We have had such great renters and a lovely older Canadian couple we had a couple months ago just booked three months with us next winter, and they specifically wanted the same unit and everything to be the same.  I am a bit of a worrier because we put a lot of effort and care into our units and I don't know if I could feel comfortable enough if I was removed from the process by distance and communication.

        • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
          Nov 9, 2011
          Currently Being Moderated
          Feb 11, 2012 12:49 PM (in response to swlinphx)
          Re: Showing of Property

          Have you ever considered asking an electrician, plumber or handyman in your area to show your house or greet your guests if you are not available?

          • sophie Senior Contributor 969 posts since
            Mar 4, 2011
            Currently Being Moderated
            Feb 11, 2012 1:25 PM (in response to marilyn)
            Re: Showing of Property

            Is this a serious question? The general consensus on this board is that if photos, videos, descriptions, talking on the phone, etc., isn't enough to get the person to book, then maybe both parties should move on.

             

            This is really bad advice to the newcomer coming on this thread to see someone say:

            marilyn wrote:

             

            Have you ever considered asking an electrician, plumber or handyman in your area to show your house or greet your guests if you are not available?

             

            This is not wise or potentially safe. Can you possibly imagine the things that could go wrong with this scenario? AND...that you would be held responsible for it?

             

            It's not a great idea to meet some stranger at a Starbucks or you own home before you have a signed contract but to have a handyman bring someone in to show them around??

            • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
              Nov 9, 2011
              Currently Being Moderated
              Feb 13, 2012 10:27 AM (in response to sophie)
              Re: Showing of Property

              Hi Sophie

              I am not suggesting getting an electrian out of the yellow pages.

               

              I have a 11 year relationship with my electrician. He has worked on all my homes over the years.  All of them have keys to all of my homes. Ditto for my plumber and handyman. There was even an occassion when I locked myself out of one home and the handyman had to come with his set of keys to let me in.

               

              My comment was meant that if you are dealing with someone that you trust, you might ask them to show a home for you if you re not available or out of state.

      • marilyn Active Contributor 459 posts since
        Nov 9, 2011
        Currently Being Moderated
        Feb 11, 2012 1:00 PM (in response to cottage15)
        Re: Showing of Property

        I love to use one of my homes in the off season on weekends . I ask all prospective guests to visit my homes on the weekends when I am available to show. I am only 1.5 hours from my vacation properties. Most local people are also available on the weekends. So it works.

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