There have been several discussions about this. Here is one which is pretty thorough and gives both sides:
My feeling is that, especially for a short rental, photos should be enough. However, it depends on the circumstances. In our case, the house is on an island so it would just be people already there who are looking for a place for their next visit. We have an on-island representative who could show it to them as long as no one was staying at the time. It's only happened once in 14 years!
I am just starting out, so I can't say whether or not my choice was the "correct" one... but I recently had a renter from TX (my rental is in CO) ask if his friends who were staying nearby could come check my place out. They met me and my dad there (had him along for safety just in case) and I let them in so that they never had access to my lockbox code. The man inquiring wanted to book a six week rental...I mainly deal with 2-3 nights or a week, so this was exciting, especially since he is looking to do this every year. He had been booking a 6 week stay every year and his previous place of choice had been sold and was no longer a vacation rental. His main concern was that my home was going to cost him a few thousand more than what he was used to paying... so I think he just wanted to know it was worth it, especially for a six week stay. His friends raved about the place and he took their opinion into great consideration and has now booked the stay!
I am not sure if I would repeat this, especially for a shorter stay (a week or less).... but for such a long visit, the possibility of repeat booking year after year, and the fact I will get his payment in 4 installments over the next 6 months (which is very helpful since I am just starting out)... it was worth it to me in this instance.
Not to mention - more exposure, since his friends who came to see the house were staying in the town and do so frequently. Who knows, they might book a stay sometime too.
I really think it needs to be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account what you will get out of it, how the person is behaving, and is it worth it to you. And always be safe about it!
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 drive for me and some folks choose to no show.
Looking forward to meeting you,
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,
Wow excellent advice. The guests deserve thier privacy. I live in another state it happens that I will be down soon so I am doing it for one guest. I do not like the idea of doing it generally. Lara makes some wonderful safety points for why to discourage it. Thank you everyone that takes the time to reply. Is this blog only visible to owners or can travelers view it?
I have had this request a couple of times. One person seemed very insistent that I at least give her the address for a drive by, even if she couldn't access the property due to an occupant in the house that week. I refused to give her the address. I could just imagine her driving by, then seeing the renters out front and asking them 20 questions or saying that I sent her over!
On the other hand, I have allowed an agent to show my home when I have not been available and the house was vacant. And the only way I would consider doing any showing would be if it were for a term of at least one month. Otherwise they can look at my website and reviews and make their decision.