The Pitfalls of Online Vacation Rental Sites

  |  May 29, 2012

Uh-oh. The Times had a story this weekend about the proliferation of summer rental homes on the market — there are more than ever, thanks to the number of vacation rental websites like AirBnB and HomeAway. “HomeAway listed 304 homes for rent in the Catskills in 2008; now it has roughly 520 homes available,” they write.

Which means that tenant reviews of rental properties are more important than ever. “A co-owner of a rental house near the Catskills, speaking anonymously in order to avoid trouble with future renters, said: ‘We had a couple who did some damage to the house, and when we told them about it they said that it wasn’t them. We decided it was better to eat the $150 repair rather than risk having a bad review.'”

The increasing number of rental vacation houses also means renters are haggling over prices. Owners say inquiries from interested parties aren’t as often turning into actual leases and checks.

We don’t say this to discourage y’all from buying a place that you’re going to rent to offset the mortgage. But one can’t assume that it’ll be easy to rent a place unless it has something special to recommend it: views, bodies of water, chef’s kitchens, or maybe just a really reasonable price.

Read On, Reader...