Looking for a Vacation Rental? – Tips for the Search…

Are you looking for a vacation rental in Lincoln City?  Here are some things that you should keep in mind and some “best practice” ideas as you perform your search and enjoy your getaway.

1. Check out more than one rental and start searching early…
There are a lot of vacation rentals in Lincoln City!  We recommend that you start your search early so you will have the best availability and will be able to compare properties that meet your criteria.  All to often we focus on which property is going to be the least expensive for our stay.   You will find that there are search engines galore that will allow you to find the properties in the area and then sort them by nightly rate.  What I suggests is that you choose the area in town where you would like to be located. (do you want to be on the bay… does it have to be oceanfront…is a quiet neighborhood more to your liking, etc.)  Then take a look at amenities of the property… does it need to have a hot tub or a pool?  How many bedrooms and baths?   How many will you need to sleep… I’m sure you have others that are important to your and your family.   I then suggest that you call or email the property owners or their property managers.  How responsive are they to your inquiry?  What do they consider to be some of the best features of their property.   It is likely that you already know this from their property listing but there may be additional items not listed.  If you have seen online reviews of past guests that are of concern ask them to clarify or offer further insight.

Once you’ve done your homework, compare all of the properties and then use your “gut” as to which is going to fit best with you and your family’s needs and budget.

The closer you get to your arrival date the few properties that will be available and you may just have to “settle” for a place to lay your head.

2. Inquire about housekeeping
Different vacation rentals will offer different housekeeping options. Predominately what you will find in Lincoln City is a set fee that is charged per rental to cover the cleaning of the property. (Prices will vary based on size of property, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and many other factors.)   At Lincoln City Beach Retreats we also offer “additions” to the standard cleaning fee.  These additions can be for towels, bedding changes or even daily maid service if you would like.   I have also seen a few rentals that allow you to bring your own towels and bedding and have a potentially lower cleaning fee due to the savings in labor and cost of laundry.   On very rare occasion you may find a rental that will allow you to do cleaning.   I would be cautious of this last option as the prior guest may not have the same standards of “clean” as you do and you may end up cleaning the property to just be able to spend your first night.

Aldo consider  is the availability of the cleaning staff.   If something were to occur (think emergency) and you needed to have the unit cleaned is this going to be an option and how quickly could it occur? What will be the cost involved for a non-planned cleaning?

You should also ask what “necessities” are included in the unit… In addition to towels and sheets does the rental  include items like toilet paper, tissues, paper towel, basic bathroom amenities (bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions), dish soap,  etc?

3. Clarify the policies related to security deposits and damages
Some condo rentals require a form of security deposit or insurance in addition to the rental fee. You may need to clarify with owner or property manager which is required and how each are handled.   In most cases a security deposit is used to protect the owner from damage caused to the property that it not normal wear and tear or for the replacement of items that turn up missing. (binoculars, sheets and towels, remote controls, artwork, etc.)  If a security deposit is collected they are generally returned to you within a few days of the rental.   In the case of the rentals at Lincoln City Beach Retreats we do charge a security deposit and refund them to the same card they were charged on within 3-5 days of your departure.

Another option that is becoming popular with vacation rentals is “insurance” type products.   In this case you pay a one time fee (generally a set amount) that the owner uses to purchase insurance that can then be used in the case of damages or missing items.   If the property uses this type of product you typically will NOT be refunded the amount that you paid as it was used to purchase the insurance just in case.   Lincoln City Beach Retreats does not currently offer this option but we are considering it for the new year.

4. Spend time reading the rental agreement / contract
Most vacation rental owners will provide a copy of their rental agreement when you make an inquiry about the rental.   It is almost guaranteed that you will be agreeing to a contract or rental agreement of some kind when deposits and/or confirmed bookings are created.

The contract will contain information that will help you decide if you would like to rent this property.   In addition to information about the fees,  security deposits and refund policies,  you should also find information about policies related to property and perhaps even the surrounding neighborhood.  These could include things like quite hours, number of cars allowed on the streets, garbage collection days, pool or hot tube guidelines, smoking and pet policies and many more.   Read through this document.  You will be held responsible for the information that it contains and knowing this information will reduce the amount of questions you may have as you get closer to your arrival dates.   It is also important to note that in this electronic age that entering into a contract via an electronic acceptance is becoming the norm.   Our rental agreements clearly indicate at time of payment that if you continue and provide payment that you are agreeing to all of the terms and conditions.     Make sure you know what this document says.

5. Take pictures of the entire rental on your first day
I like to suggest that on your arrival while you are exploring the property that you take a set of pictures of the entire property as it was before you move your stuff in.  There is a two fold purpose for this… First, you will have undisturbed pictures to post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts of the great property that you are going to spending some time enjoying, and second if there is ever a question about damages you have pictures to back you up.

We do ask all of our guests to report damage to us immediately on arrival. Sometimes we ask for a picture of the damage so that we can arrange the appropriate repairman.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list but as you navigate the vacation rental marketplace we hope we have given you some ideas that will help you to make an informed decision for an enjoyable stay that will create lifelong memories for you and your family.