Tips 'n Tricks — February 17, 2015 at 5:00 am

6 Tips For Finding the Perfect Summer Rental

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©istockphoto/philipdyer

©istockphoto/philipdyer

Forget hotels.

When you’re heading out on a family summer getaway, a rental house (or town home or apartment, for that matter) is the way to go. It’s the best way to keep everyone together and to enjoy home-cooked family meals, and it’s often much less expensive than going the hotel route.

Deciding to rent a holiday home is easy—finding the right place to rent is a little harder. That’s where we come in: this guide will help you find the perfect summer rental for your family, setting the backdrop for the best summer holiday yet.

Start Early
Regardless of your destination of choice, it’s generally true that the earlier you book your compound, the better. Booking early will give you plenty of options to choose from, allowing you to work with your preferred dates instead of trying to squeeze into whatever is available.
Note that the definition of early varies from place to place. For some summer spots, bookings for the following summer begin as early as fall.

Assess Your Options
Unfortunately, for most summer getaway locales, there isn’t one central database to search for all available rental options. You’ll typically have to browse through a number of different rental-by-owner sites (check out VRBO and Air BnB) as well as a multitude of property management websites.
Yes, it is tedious—but the extra effort is worth it to find your perfect homestead. You could always make a list of websites and assign a few to each adult, instructing them to return with the top 3 picks from that site once you’ve all set agreed upon parameters.

Peruse Price Points
Having a budget is important, but it’s tough to set one without knowing what your money will get you. Spend some time browsing the aforementioned websites to understand the price/value relationship in your destination of choice.
For instance, a $1,000 per week rental might get you a five-bedroom cottage in one place, whereas it’ll land you a run down shack with no electricity somewhere else. In short, learn as much about the local market as you can.

Know Your Needs
Your needs are essential: these are the factors that you absolutely cannot live without. For instance, you’ll need a place for every attendee to sleep—that’s a no brainer.
Other non-negotiables for you could include a fully eqipped kitchen, a location on a quiet road (versus a busy thoroughfare), or a home that’s walking distance from the beach.

Know Your Wants
Your wants include the perks that aren’t totally essential, but that would be very nice to have. In other words, they aren’t the be all or end all, but they’ll help you make the final decision of which rental property is right for you.
Wants might include a yard big enough for the kids to play in, a property that’s right on the water (versus walking distance), or an outdoor shower. Be realistic about what wants could be included at your desired price point.

Ask for Help
Working with a property manager is not a bad idea, especially if you’re new to the area. Property managers know the properties on their roster inside out and are often able to provide you with more information than what’s listed online. They know the ins and outs of the local area, and they’ll probably be able to answer every question you have along the way.

That’s it—now, you’re ready to start your search. Happy hunting!

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