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Guest Post by: Dave Pollock, A Canadian Vacation Home Owner in Davenport. Updated for 2016

Many people are turning to renting vacation homes in Orlando instead of the more traditional hotel rentals. Over the last five or six years my family has rented houses in the Orlando and Tampa, Florida area. This past spring we purchased a house in Davenport, Florida. Davenport is just outside of Orlando, 15 minutes from the theme parks.  We are currently renting this house as well as using it for our own personal vacation retreat.

Because I have been on both sides of the fence, renting a home and renting one out, I can give you several tips on renting a vacation home.

Start Your Orlando Vacation Rental Search Early

Canadians in OrlandoSix months or more in advance is best. This will take the stress out of renting a  home, especially if it is during the vacation season. The good homes go early, so the sooner you start the better.  The Internet is a powerful tool. Use Google to help your research. You can also search popular web sites such as VRBO, AirBnB and Homeaway where Orlando vacation homeowners rent directly to customers or use a travel agent to help out.  If you inquire about a vacation rental home, directly to an owner, you should get a timely response, if not move on.

Photos!

Do not rent a vacation home that does not have at least eight pictures showing the exterior and interior of the home. This helps eliminate any surprises you might encounter when you arrive. Who wants to sit on a pink plaid couch or wake up to purple walls! Second to pictures, is a virtual tour which provides video of the home.  If there is no virtual tour provided, consider another home, it’s that important. Also, many home owners have a personal web site of their home which provides additional details of the home and surrounding area.  Not only is the additional information handy, it shows commitment on the owner’s part.

What You Need To Ask
vacation rental lockbox

How do you gain access to the home? If you arrive at midnight, do you have to go to a property management office to pick up the key? I’ve read a couple of horror stories where families have had to wait outside all night or rent a cheap motel until the next morning. At a minimum, the home should have a lock box with the key inside. You will be given the lock box code a few weeks in advance. Even better, a door lock with an electronic keypad. This allows you to punch in the code on the keypad, and presto you’re in the house. There should also be a lock box, in case the electronic keypad malfunctions.

Are you provided with a local property management phone number? Who are you going to call if the AC unit fails, the pool heater is not on, or toilet is plugged?  You should be provided with a phone number you can call 24/7. Do not call the phone number outside of normal business hours unless it is a real emergency. If you call after hours, and it’s not an emergency, it will cost you money. The pool heater can wait until the next day!

About The Author: Dave Pollock and his wife Lois own a beautiful Davenport vacation home in Sandy Ridge. It’s the perfect retreat for anyone looking for an affordable vacation home with a private pool. The home is located  within a short 15 minute drive to Disney and other Orlando attractions. Consider renting the Pollock’s “Sun Retreat” next time you come to Orlando.  www.OrlandoHouse.me

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