1 5 6 7 8 9 Previous Next 133 Replies Latest reply: Nov 12, 2012 1:38 PM by snowlow Go to original post RSS
      • 90. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
        New Member

        I agree with the above comments that VRBO - supposedly standing for vacationrentalsbyowner, has strayed from its mandate of byowner listings.


        A website you might want to try, focused on by-owner listings is:




        - Free to list your property

        - Just 10% commission on bookings paid after booking is completed

        • 91. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
          New Member

          I am a professional property manager in Florida and we advertise on VRBO. It’s interesting to see the other side of the coin through these posts.    If you will allow me…I would like to share my point of view.  Some of you many not realize that you are our toughest competition these days…not the property-management-company-down-the-road. We feel the odds are heavily weighted in your favor for a traveler looking for a vacation rental on VRBO as they know, in most cases, they will get a better deal by working with a private owner. It probably won’t come as a surprise to you that many homeowners renting on VRBO, do so outside the law…some unknowingly, some intentionally.  Regardless, state and county fire code regulations are violated on several levels…they do not carry the proper licensing and, most egregiously, do not collect and file the appropriate state and county taxes…in our area…that’s 12.5%.  Quite an advantage for the traveler as well as the private homeowner, wouldn’t you agree? I have a client that rents on VRBO, she handles all the calls and rate negotiations and passes them through for us to handle the paperwork, taxes, check-in and troubleshooting while the guest is in-house.  And…let me tell you…she offers rates w-a-y below market and below rates we would ever consider offering out.  Yet another client utilizes us for bookings through our own means and rents on his own through  VRBO.  I am very impressed at the amount of bookings he is able to get on his own…many more bookings than we do.  That leads me to believe…even though we may advertise multiple units on multiple websites, have our own websites, have dedicated reservationists and other sources that would seemingly give us an advantage…it doesn’t appear that is the case.  Consider two vendors selling widgets.  Side-by-side ads…one selling his widget at $100 and the other selling his at $50.  Which vendor is going to get the most sales?  Is it possible the property managers who advertise at higher rates…plus this, that and the other fee…are really giving the homeowner the advantage by advertising on VRBO? I believe in the end…a private property owner that is attentive to their ad, offers lots of quality photos, continuously updates their calendars, responds immediately to inquiries and has good reviews will be successful… regardless of who your competition is.  So, there you have it…the other side of the coin.  

          • 92. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
            spoonbill Contributor

            First, let me state that I am not one of the owners complaining about property managers using VRBO, but I do agree that it should be an owner only site.  I'm not sure I agree with your assessment as to which has a competitive advantage.  I operate as legally as possible and collect and remit a 15% tax required in Galveston so I have no tax advantage.  I rarely discount my pricing because I strive to offer a quality product and that costs me money in upkeep and maintenance.  I really don't worry about the owners that negotiate discounts.  I have nothing but great reviews and have eaten a few costs to keep it that way.  The big advantage management companies have over me is their local availability and check-in/check-out ability.  I have to do everything via the web as I live about 1,500 miles from my property.  I have spent a substantial sum to have internet controls for door locks, AC, external security cameras, etc.  I use a premium cleaning service and I offer it at no mark-up to my customers but they pay for it.  I charge a booking fee because I maintain an on-line booking service that I pay a monthly fee to use.  Because I only own one property I don't have the flexibility that a management company has to offer an alternative property if the desired property is not available.  My point is that I really don't have any significant advantage if run like a business.  If anything I am at a disadvantage as I pay more for advertising and other services.  Just another view point!




            John Griffith

            Phone 951-732-7512

            (877) 762-3138 (FAX)

            SKYPE NAME johnbgriffith

            If clicking on the "BOOK ONLINE NOW" blue button

            below does not take you to the on line booking site,

            copy the link shown below into your web browser:



            • 93. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
              New Member

              An insightful response, John, and thank you.  I figured I would get some feedback from the homeowners who are operating as a business…some perhaps ‘not so nice’ and in fact, I considered not posting because of that.  I appreciate and respect your point of view…and thank you for being kindly in your presentation of it! 


              Perhaps instead of private homeowners considering spending years and the millions of dollars it took VRBO to become what it is…to develop their own site…a more expeditious approach would be to make a suggestion to Home Away to develop a true ‘private-owner-only’ leg of their conglomerate.  A win for private homeowners because with the funding Home Away has…how would a new start-up website hope to compete? And, since many homeowners would continue to market on VRBO because it is an excellent vehicle, as well as advertise on a new owner-only site, it would be a win for Home Away as well.   


              Just a thought.  Good luck and best wishes for continued success!


              Annie Mathews ~ Broker/Owner

              Recognized. Respected. Recommended.


              Tropic Homes & Barefeet Rentals

              Sales ~ Management ~ Vacation Rentals ~ Long Term Leasing

              Sales:  www.Tropic-Homes.com

              Long Term Leasing:  www.TropicHomes.diyres.com

              Vacation Rentals:  www.BarefeetRentals.com

              Luxury Rentals: www.KeyLargoLuxuryRentals.com

              Office: 305-394-9787

              Cell: 305-394-4044

              Toll Free: 877-214-9590

              Toll Free Fax: 866-581-2013


              Barefeet Travel

              Full service travel agency ~ Air ~ Auto ~ Cruise ~ Accommodations


              Toll Free: 800.522.2708

              Toll Free Fax: 866.581.2013


              Mail to: 101425 Overseas Hwy., #630, Key Largo, FL. 33037

              Location: The Pink Plaza ~ Suite #203 ~ MM 103.4

              • 94. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                lrbaldwin Active Contributor



                You make some good points. However one size does not fit all.  I don't undercut the prices of rental agencies.  I try to price my one cottage right up there with the rest of them.  The major differences for variations in prices are presence or lack of private pool and proximity to the beach.  I research comparable homes in my area and price mine accordingly.  I do pay taxes each month in full to the state and county for every rental. My advantages are where I believe I can truly compete because rental agencies have little or no control over the following:

                1. House is extremely clean. I pay my cleaner far more than the rental agency paid theirs for the 4 years I employed the agency (even gave their cleaners generous tips). There is a very noticeable difference in quality of cleaning.

                2. I would challenge any owner on The Outer Banks to show me a kitchen that can rival mine in depth and breadth of very high quality equipment and supplies including any herb or spice that could be found in a grocery store here, a selection of 9 ground grains (including grits, corn meal, and hush puppy mix of course <g>) for cooking and baking, super high quality utility knives that are kept SHARP. I've paid close attention to the members of a very active OBX forum composed of both renters and owners, and I have purchased everything I can that renters say they have to bring from home or wish they had in their rentals.

                3. All renters receive a call from me at 9AM sharp the day after they arrive to make sure the house is spotless and find out if there is anything I can do to make their stay more enjoyable. Our contact information is posted in several places in the house and also in the lease agreement and in emails exchanged with renters. They are instructed to call me for absolutely any problem they find.

                4. Between signing of the lease agreement and their arrival, I email the renter with information about the OBX tailored to their needs....first timers, children's ages, repeat visitors, etc.

                5. I have built a personal web site with links to information and things to do.  I also built an interactive floor plan of the house with multiple pictures of every area inside and out.  Families with children have enjoyed this because they can choose who stays in which bedroom, no bickering upon arrival.  And really important are the lists of kitchen and other inventory in the house so the renter know exactly what to expect.


                My rental agency for the first 4 years managed around 1600 houses.  There is no way they can supply the personal care of an owner, and those who have been using VRBO for years to find their vacation homes have come to count on that personal care.  Just in our little town of Duck, there are now approximately 25% more agency managed listings than owner managed.  That's a big change from a year or two ago.  I have had both renters and friends complain about how much of their search time has been wasted because so many agency managed houses show up on their searches.  VRBO has finally made a step in the right direction: Last year I requested (before the Community forums were created) that they at least add icons to the lists of homes to indicate whether it is managed by owner or professional manager.


                Bottom line, I agree with you in that I am not intimidated by rental agency managed listings but for different reasons than you stated.  I now net 30% to 50% per week more than I did under the agency. The only difference in the tax situation is that I write the check rather than the agency writing it and deducting it from my take. My main problem here is the change from all or mostly owner managed VRBO listings to the majority now being agency managed.  VRBO had a unique place in the vacation rental listing business that users had come to depend on.  One might compare this situation to a high end specialty shop more than doubling their offerings by adding Walmart style merchandise.  The quality of service will drop, and though they may increase their overall profits, they're going to lose a big portion of their loyal clients.  Good for the shop, not good for the loyal shoppers (by shoppers I mean those looking for owner managed rental houses). They may even lose some of their boutique vendors, but they'll be replaced by twice as many lower end vendors.


                I estimate that I put in more man hours on average per week than the agency does for more than 10 houses.  


                There's room for everybody in the vacation rental business.  I'd just prefer to market my unique wares in a unique shop.  For now VRBO is still, IMO, the best place for me to advertise.  However that may not be the case in the future.


                Just my not so humble opinion,


                • 95. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                  lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                  Hi Laura,


                  Thanks, I'm a Virginia girl too.  It's definitely worth the 4 hr trip to get here. 


                  Any word on including house management type in VRBO's search?


                  Thanks, and Keep on Duckin',


                  • 96. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                    spoonbill Contributor



                    I do many of the same things you do.  For example, a guest recently had the oven door handle break.  I discovered that it could not be replaced as the stove was 15 years old and they no longer manufactured the handle.  It held the front glass on the oven.  I replaced the range with a top of the line induction unit for $3,500 instead of a far less expensive range.  Very nice ranges were available for $1500.  Why, because I want my guests to experience the best in my home.  The same is true for the washer and dryer.  I put in the top of the line LG top loading washer & dryer pair.  Every year I upgrade as much as I can afford to so that my home will stand out from the rest.  I too call my guests after their arrival to check on how things are and often around the mid-point to make sure everything is still ok.  If you offer a quality product people quickly recognize it and want it.  Thus I rarely have to offer any discount other than the repeat customer discount I offer to returning guests.




                    John Griffith

                    Phone 951-732-7512

                    (877) 762-3138 (FAX)

                    SKYPE NAME johnbgriffith

                    If clicking on the "BOOK ONLINE NOW" blue button

                    below does not take you to the on line booking site,

                    copy the link shown below into your web browser:



                    • 97. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                      Active Contributor

                      Hi Linda,


                      Are you referring to being able to filter by "owner" or "property manager" on VRBO? If so, I've conveyed that as a customer request, but don't have a status update for you on it at this time.


                      For the most recent update on the owner/pm icons, you can read my post here.


                      Hope that helps, and all the best,



                      • 98. FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                        lrbaldwin Active Contributor

                        I see that the search works very well.  However, that's not something the general user would know to do.  I didn't see any instructions indicating how to find owner managed houses.  There's a drop down box for sorting.  If one more sort box were added before the existing sort box, this would be very helpful to anyone who cares to find owner managed properties.  It would be a simple matter (even I can do the html for it) to have the first dropdown to have 3 choices: owner managed, rental agency managed, all. The icons are a good addition, and they seem more useful than the secret code needed to put in a search box.


                        Thanks for trying to help,


                        • 99. FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                          New Member

                          For "annierents".


                          I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as a Property Manager, but you make the same mistake that many property managers make.  You equate owner managed properties with:

                          • being unlicensed.
                          • being outside of the law
                          • fire code violations
                          • failing to collect and pay taxes.


                          And then you seem to say that this gives owner-managed properties a competitive advantage.


                          I work with both owner-manged and agency-managed vacation rentals.  While it is true that some owner-managed VRs do have the problems you describe, it is my experience that such VRs are a very small minority.  In communities where licensing and taxes are required, and where the law allows owner-managed VRs to thrive, I have seen that the vast majority of owners are licensed, pay their taxes, and run safe, high quality homes.


                          Agency-managed homes have their problems too!


                          I own two VRs that I manage myself.  I have stayed in many agency-managed VRs over the years.  I would suggest that both approaches are valid, and each approach has its strengths and weaknesses.


                          Doug Coates

                          Oregon Assoc of Vacation Rental Owners

                          • 100. FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                            New Member

                            I am in 100% agreement, Doug…agency managed homes certainly have problems as well.  Considering myself a fair minded individual I did a little research after seeing your post.  I thought perhaps I was mistaken in my thinking that the majority, not the minority, of our local VRBO private homeowners were not playing by the book and operating outside the confines of local and state laws. I took a look at the first 20 properties that came up when I did a random search of dates on VRBO.  I  looked at ‘‘Managed by Owner’ properties...the icons made it very easy to identify these.  Just a cursory look in one local town I counted fully 60% of them are not in compliance with county ordinance or their HOA’s minimum stay requirements…and we won’t talk about the taxes.  Perhaps this is more of a problem for us than in your area because we do have very restrictive laws for renting private homes in residential subdivisions.  I would like to make one last comment on ‘fighting back against realtors’.  Those who are upset that professional management companies are now advertising on VRBO, you have a valid point.  Someone changed the rules in the middle of the game.  But let me just say…when I was conducting the search I mentioned above, the properties that were owner-managed came up first and far outnumbered the management company listings.  Additionally, the owner-managed listings had much greater detail and an obvious personal touch that is lacking with most management company ads.  You set a very high bar. I think a far greater threat to owner-managed rentals are the scam artists pretending to be private homeowners and renting houses they do not own or that are non-existent. Big publicity over the last year. Annie Mathews Tropic Homes & Barefeet Rentals Key Largo, Florida

                            • 101. FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                              New Member

                              60% is very hard for me to believe.  My experience is that probably less than 5% of the owner managed VRs are not complying with local laws.   But you do have a point -- when VR regulations get overly restrictive, it drives some VRs to Agencies, and it drives a lot of the remaining VRs underground. 


                              Doug Coates

                              • 102. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                                New Member

                                Oh were it that the powers-that-be had been better visionaries.

                                • 103. Re: FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                                  connie.anderson New Member

                                  Thanks to you and all the blogs I've been reading....I don't know what to do. VRBO no longer exists.


                                  I own a great house that I live in sometimes and would like to rent out. It's just outside the biggest resort in central Oregon. VRBO is full of their homes and condos and each listing reads, "Like many of my fellow Sunriver owners I have partnered with Sunriver Resort, a company that has been providing excellent service to Sunriver owners and their guests for over 40 years" (which is bull because my parents owned a condo there 40 years ago and the Sunriver Resort was purchased a few years ago by huge resort conglomerate).  I can't compete and I don't understand why VRBO sold us out instead of putting these pros someplace else.


                                  I also have a home in Florida that I would like to rent out but it's in a small beach town and I don't have this competition (that I can find now). 


                                  My family has rented through VRBO for many years and a few countries and talking to the home owner was part of the joy in our vacation process.  When I got to this place in life I thought I would put my cool houses on VRBO and manage them myself but I can't compete with this. It makes me very sad.


                                  Let me know when you find a new and real VRBO. 

                                  • 104. FIGHT BACK!  Competing with REALTORS on Homeaway & VRBO!
                                    New Member

                                    I absolutely agree. I started with VRBO.com in 2003 when I purchased my property. The site has morphed into something that frankly I was trying to avoid when I listed my property.  This site is so large that recently I had to refine my search to my neighborhood in order to find my own property o VRBO. How many people who DONT live in Big Bear Lake know where these small neighborhoods are located. I might as well advertise on a billboard somewhere. I do not want to compete with any ordinary Realtors and/or property managers. I bring a  much more personal and less complicated service to my rental property which is also my second home. I want the customers who are looking for this type of upscaled service to be able to find me. That is impossible in the sea of  realtors and property managers that have taken over this site. I will also jump ship if someone starts a REAL BY OWNER ONLY!!!!!!!!!website. The owners of the properties arent the only loosers here, the guests are too!!!

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