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Renting Privately Owned Vacation Properties

Jul 25, 2008
Vacation Rentals by Owner, or VRBO, is a term in the travel community that refers to an individual renting out a furnished apartment, house, or condominium on a temporary basis in place of a lodge or resort. They are often referred to as villa rentals in Europe, and are more popular there than in the United States. Prevalent areas in the United States include major tourist destinations such as Hawaii, California, and Florida.

Vacation Rentals by Owner and Timeshares
While vacation rentals by owner may seem similar to timeshare rentals, they are in fact quite dissimilar. A VRBO is owned and controlled by an individual, where a timeshare is owned by multiple owners who each share part of the financial responsibility of ownership in return for a time period each year where they have sole use of the property. Many timeshares are owned by so-called timeshare resorts who allow owners to trade their selected time in one unit for time in another unit owned by the resort.

Benefits of VRBO
Vacation rentals by owner were once known as lower-cost alternatives to resorts and lodges. This isn't as true as it used to be, but the sensible traveler can find excellent deals. Further, even at the same price as a hotel or resort, the main benefit of a VRBO is that you can experience the local community of the area you're vacationing in.

Problems
However, some people view immersion in the local community and forgoing the support structure found in resorts as a weakness. Room service, concierge, problem resolution, and experience staff are certainly an upside to resort life, and something you won't necessarily have in a VRBO. Dealing with property owners directly may be an issue as well if there's a language barrier or they're difficult to get in touch with.

The Big Picture
When weighing the pros and cons of a vacation rental, the benefits of a vacation rental by owner tend to outweigh the drawbacks, especially if you deal with a management company that acts as a intermediary for the property owners. This type of arrangement will fill in many of the gaps between a VRBO and a resort, with 24 hour check-in, problem resolution services, maintenance, and even maid service in some cases.

Vacation Rental by Owner Management
Commonly, property owners hire a vacation rental management agency to run the vacation rental property. They also handle reservations, billing, maintenance, advertising, and any other eventualities that may come up. Look for a company that's part of the Vacation Rental Managers Association.
About the Author
Allen Wright is a freelance writer who loves traveling and is an expert on Outer Banks vacation rentals, Destin vacation rentals , and Hilton Head vacation rentals.
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