ADVICE for RENTERS - Quick Tip #5

QUICK TIP #5 - Advance Deposits/Payments/Vacation Home Scams
98% of the vacation homes offered are legitimate efforts by the homeowner or local management to provide a service to people visiting Orlando.  Unfortunately, there ARE vacation home scams are out there, and unscupulous characters use the unfamiliarity with vacation home processes to exact their toll from unknowledgeable or unwary renters.  Just a little knowledge combined with a little due diligence will help you avoid most of the scams that are out there.  Take a quick look at the newpaper article below.  It discusses one of the scams that have hit vacation home renters.  Here are some things to avoid this happening to you:

1)  MAKE SURE you identify the local management company EVEN IF you make the reservation directly with the owner.  If necesary, Google the home's address to see if you can find the home listed with that local manager.  Call that local manager to ensure that they service the home you are renting and verify the owner's name.  While speaking with them, take the opportunity to learn about the customer service policies that they maintain (see the 'Questions to Ask the Local Managers' section).

2) You don't have to pay the entire amount in advance for a hotel, you shouldn’t have to pay the entire rental fee fo a vacation home until you check-in and see the home you are renting.
 ON THE OTHER HAND, realize that a Booking Deposit is designed to protect the Vacation Home's owner from renters who block out dates for several months before check-in, but suddenly decide they can’t come at the last minute, leaving the home empty and no ability to rebook the home.  Any advance deposit should be an appropriate amount  (10 to 35%), but should always be refundable when the Home's owner or Local Management is given enough advance notice, typically 30 to 60 days, and in ALL cases should be returned if the owner manages to re-rent the home.  In many cases, a Last Minute booking should not really require a booking deposit because it really serves no purpose:  you are not taking the home off the market for a long period of time in advance of your check-in.

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Romancing the Mouse reply:  We have a flat rate $250 booking deposit with payment of the balance upon check-in.  Booking deposits for cancellations more than 30 days in advance are fully refundable and Booking Deposits are refundable up to 0 days in advance if the cancelled week is rebooked.