Last Spring my family rented a house at the beach. We scored an AMAZING deal on our rental house and I thought I would share with all of you how we did it. After everything was said and done, we got our house which is on the water for only $604 for 10 days including taxes and everything. That is $60 a night, you can barely get a hotel that cheap!
Considering we have two families going, we ended up only paying $300 for the entire 10 days!!!
First off, we found an amazing site called VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). It is a HUGE listing site for rental homes that are listed by owner. These are mainly individuals, not real estate companies, so you can correspond directly with the owner.
Second we started negotiating on properties that we thought would work for us. I really only had three requirements: WIFI, pet friendly, and on the water. We were searching anywhere between Tallahassee and Pensacola. The more flexible you are the better deal you can get. We just wanted the beach, we didn’t care where!
I found about 10 properties and started emailing owners offering their Winter rates, which are normally 30%-40% cheaper than the Spring rates. You can see on the site by the calendar if the property is rented for the time you want. Pay special attention to those that have been unrented for a while. Those property owners are probably more willing to deal.
I was amazed that almost half of the houses we inquired about actually accepted our lower offers. In some cases I was offering HALF of what the current rate was. If you feel like you are insulting them, you need to think about it this way – some rental income is better than no income! With the economy the way it is, these vacation rental owners are really willing to deal right now rather than have the house sit empty.
Determine what your budget is and then start a little under it and just start asking, it never hurts to ask! There are a few other things you can negotiate on too…
- Cleaning fees, if you do it yourself you could save up to $150
- Deposits, some houses may waive the deposit
- Linens, bring your own and save up to another $100
- Pet fees, negotiate lower pets fees
Our house was supposed to be $1000 for 7 days plus $250 deposit, $100 linen fee, $140 cleaning fee, $100 pet fee, plus taxes. Because we booked last minute (2 weeks before) I was able to talk him into $550 for 10 days, no deposit, no cleaning fee (we are doing it), no linen fee (brought our own), and no pet fee. Taxes were $54 so our grand total was only $604 for everything. By negotiating a little I saved all of us over $1000 on our 10 day vacation!!!!
We got the extra days because the last renters were leaving Thursday night and the next weren’t coming until Monday, so he let us have the extra three days for only $50.00 more. You can negotiate anything, just keep pushing for what you want. Just remember you get more bees with honey….Be super sweet!!
I would definitely allow about a week for responses and to find the right place. It does take a little work but if you spend a little time you can afford that great vacation you just gotta be a little flexible and start dealing!
Also make sure to get a contract BEFORE sending money. If possible use Paypal. Remember these are individuals, make sure to cover your booty! Ours was great and went above and beyond, but you never know!
If you have a vacation home that you rent out, you might want to check out VRBO. As a renter I was super impressed with them!