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Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!

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6 posts
2 reviews
3 helpful votes
Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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Do NOT rent through HomeAway, VRBO or Expedia!!! If you are a renter, you have no rights. You might think that buy prepaying the booking in full that you are guaranteed the rental, but the homeowner can cancel your booking at any time with no consequences at all. That means you can be canceled right up until check in.

Their so-called, "rebooking team" is a joke. You can't call them. You go through the regular help line and are told you will get a call back, "in a couple of days." Even if your rental is less than a week away, you have to wait until they get through their backlog of canceled renters. You will be offered whatever properties meet your needs as long as they are slightly higher or slightly lower than what you originally booked. If the rate is higher, you will have to pay for the entire rental and then submit a request for refund for the overage.

You have no rights as the renter and you can't leave bad reviews about the homeowner. They won't post reviews that mention bad business practices of the homeowners, only posts about the physical property itself. If you mention you were ripped off or that the owner kept your deposit, you aren't allowed to mention that in the review. Renters have no way of knowing that they might be sending money to a fraudulent or unreliable owner.

Rent through a local vacation rental or through any company besides HomeAway, VRBO or Expedia. Don't let your holiday get be ruined!!!

723 replies to this topic
1. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!

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Removed on: June 07, 2019, 11:33 am
 
Lansing, Michigan
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1 post
4 reviews
2 helpful votes
2. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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HomeAway is owned by VRBO!

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
8,053 posts
33 reviews
48 helpful votes
3. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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I find your advice really odd.

Renting through a local vacation rental gives you zero protections - even less than VRBO. If the owner cancels on you, then you are the ones on the hook to find a replacement - nobody is going to do it for you. The only benefit that booking directly gives you is the ability to have contact with the owners or manager on the phone and such like, to get more comfortable verifying that they have availability and are who they say they are (which the booking companies don't want, because then they can't charge their fees).

Any company other than HomeAway, VRBO and Expedia would be companies like FlipKey/TripAdvisor Rentals or AirBnb. In my experience, these companies give exactly the same amount of customer service as VRBO.

Sorry, but Vacation Rentals have an associated risk with them that you need to be aware of and protect yourself against as much as possible - don't rely on an internet company to do it for you.

Cape Cod...
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
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18,819 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
4. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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So for security and peace of mind why not make your vacation rental reservation the 'old fashioned' way and that is through an established and reputable realtor. In vacation areas realtors not only sell homes but handle vacation rentals too. Realtors are members of local associations and Chambers etc and have their reputation to consider as they properly handle their business.

In the Mid-Cape beach village of Dennis Port on Cape Cod we rent our summer home through a local realtor who has about 300 properties in Dennis Port and nearby towns that they rent from May through Sept. Knowing the market they help us set the rate and then they require that we meet their standards each season. If anything goes wrong during the season the tenant easily reaches them for a quick fix.

I can't speak to your comments about a tenant being cancelled because I've never heard of such a thing except that I know that airbnb allows owners to do it.

Our realtor markets via their own easy to use website, TripAdvisor/FlipKey and HomeAway and newly though Airbnb but the majority of their homes are rented for no less than a week in season. The homeowner signs a contract for what weeks they want rented. If they want another week for themselves later on they can have it as long as it is not already rented. It's all very straightforward and business like.

Give it a try. I'm sure that there are plenty of well established realtors around the country in vacation destinations like Florida, Hawaii and unique Cape Cod. Call the towns Chamber of Commerce and ask for the names of a couple of realtors and go from there.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
8,053 posts
33 reviews
48 helpful votes
5. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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Going through a local realtor will limit your choices significantly. Since the VRBO-style sites have come up, more and more owners have chosen to cut out another layer of people that take a cut of their proceeds.

Also, how does someone that isn't familiar with an area determine whether a real estate professional is "established and reputable" and not some fly-by-night company or person? Even asking the Chamber of Commerce might limit you significantly.

But if your risk tolerance is low enough that you would rather have a smaller selection but ones that are more reputable, then go for it. :-)

6. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!

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Removed on: June 07, 2019, 7:48 am
 
Cape Cod...
Destination Expert
for Cape Cod
Level Contributor
18,819 posts
31 reviews
28 helpful votes
7. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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I don't know about how many vacation rentals you've booked but I am speaking from experience of about a dozen years, though on the other end as the home owner seeing the operation over the years.

It would be unlikely that the realtor could not find a similar rental from inventory or even co-operating with other realtors on the spot if a the highly unusual situation sited about a house burning down.

And, by the way, our realtor charges less for bookings coming in through all the marketing sites (including their own) than when a house rents through airbnb due to their required extra charges. The marketing sites that charge the most to the renter are Homeaway/VRBO and AirBnB after changes in the past couple years.

Furthermore the realtor advises the proper rent to charge per the market. It's the owner who comes up with the fees to the realtor just like home sales transactions.

I guess you are right that finding a good realtor needs a bit of care just like finding the right doctor, dentist even hairdresser if you are not at all familiar with the area.

Good luck with your current methods.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse, Cayman Islands
Level Contributor
8,053 posts
33 reviews
48 helpful votes
8. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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My point is that due diligence on the part of the renter is absolutely vital, no matter which way they choose to go - either through a listing agency like VRBO, AirBnb, or TA Rentals, through a local real estate management company, or directly with the owner. There is no single super-safe option that provides guarantees that will cover the eventuality of an owner being less than honest.

Trying to represent to a renter that any one way is automatically safer than another is a bit disingenuous, to my mind.

As for the various fees that each agency charges, you have to compare like with like.

VRBO has two plans - an annual plan for $499 flat fee, or a 5% owner fee. Both options have a 3% credit card fee. Guests pay between 5% and 12% on top of that. TA/FlipKey has a 3% owner fee, no credit card fees and 8% to 14% to the guest. AirBnB has a 3% booking fee, no credit card fee and the guests pay a 5% to 15% fee.

While VRBO has the highest fees, it's also the place where I get by far the most bookings. TA and AirBnB are comparable from a cost perspective.

9. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!

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Removed on: June 07, 2019, 7:46 am
 
Bumpass, Virginia
Level Contributor
2 posts
7 reviews
2 helpful votes
10. Re: Do NOT book through HomeAway or VRBO!!!!
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Everyone saw this coming. If a new global national site does a vacation site and gets traction it gets bought up. All the vacation home owners need to go back to basics like the old VRBO and go locall. Branding a site locally is what VRBO was founded on. I started a local site www.LakeAnnaRentalProperties.com 30 days ago for an area of 200 rentals and that’s what we are trying to do “Locall Branding.” The second hurdle in today’s market is showing up on Google. The VRBOs etc. showing up always on the 1st and 2nd pages we are constantly fighting a constant battle.

Folks start thinking Locally!

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