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VRBO - No reviews
Old 10-07-2019, 04:03 PM   #1
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VRBO - No reviews

We're going to visit our son early next month in New York city, and the hotel we usually use is booked. Surrounding hotels seem to have jacked up their rates, so not sure what the heck is going on that weekend.

Anyway, I found one on VRBO that looks great, price is right, but there are no reviews.

How diligent is VRBO in checking these listings? And if you buy the insurance, yeah, you're not out anything, but you're sleeping on the street? Do owners get paid before the booking? I've been emailing the 'owner' but am trying to make sure I'm thinking this through.
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:03 PM   #2
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Our only experience, with AirBNB, was a bedroom in a house in Norway's Lofoten Islands. No reviews.

We got there and discovered that the bedroom was on the third floor, separated from the ground floor bath by two very tight spiral staircases. Impossible to negotiate at night. The bathroom had two doors, one from the front/stairway area and one that opened into the living room/kitchen. So when the bathroom was in use, you could be stuck on one side or the other.

We booked two or three months before the trip and, had we had the wisdom to check, in the interim several reviews highlighted the layout problems. But we didn't check. Fortunately the host had another property, a pseudo-fisherman's shack, that suited us just fine. So it ended well.

YMMV, but our view is to never book without reviews.
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:16 PM   #3
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It could be a newly rented place. My own vacation rental did not have any reviews at one point.

Or it could be a scam...
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:07 PM   #4
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I have rented over 30 properties through VRBO. I doubt that it’s a scam. You can email the owner. I suggest that
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:32 PM   #5
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I book a lot of Air Bnb’s and VRBO’s. My policy is to never book properties with no reviews. There are too many others available that do have reviews and I’ve found the reviews to be pretty informative as to pros and cons of various properties.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:08 PM   #6
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I think NYC bookings must be 30 days to be legal, so personally I would avoid this one if it’s just for the weekend.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
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... not sure what the heck is going on that weekend.
Probably the NYC Marathon
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:28 PM   #8
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I think NYC bookings must be 30 days to be legal, so personally I would avoid this one if it’s just for the weekend.
In general you are correct. However, if the owner owns the entire building (for example a duplex or triplex) and has everything up to fire code, it is possible it's legal, if the owner resides in the building.

This is rare, though.
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Old 10-08-2019, 04:53 PM   #9
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I've rented several Airbnb's. Always went with places with numerous reviews. Also prefer super host when possible. Zero reviews? Not for me. Perhaps if the owner had several other highly rated properties, I might consider. Perhaps.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:22 PM   #10
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my rental has no reviews on vrbo but has (6) 5 star reviews on other websites. Look at all the pics or better yet put the address in google search and see where else it is listed as I might have reviews there.
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Old 10-09-2019, 03:42 PM   #11
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... My own vacation rental did not have any reviews at one point. ...
Of course. It's similar to the paradox: How do you ever get a job if all jobs require experience?

The answer, IMO, it that I am not obligated to take a risk on a property with no reviews. There will always be someone willing to take that (probably very small) risk. Then I and others can get the benefit of their experience. In the mean time, there are plenty of options where I can see reviews.

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my rental has no reviews on vrbo but has (6) 5 star reviews on other websites. Look at all the pics or better yet put the address in google search and see where else it is listed as I might have reviews there.
I might do that if there were something really exceptional about the property. Otherwise I'll just move on. If a host has reviews elsewhere maybe it is permitted for him/her to state that in the property description text and even to provide links. That might be a workaround for no reviews.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:23 PM   #12
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We're going to visit our son early next month in New York city, and the hotel we usually use is booked. Surrounding hotels seem to have jacked up their rates, so not sure what the heck is going on that weekend.

Anyway, I found one on VRBO that looks great, price is right, but there are no reviews.

How diligent is VRBO in checking these listings? And if you buy the insurance, yeah, you're not out anything, but you're sleeping on the street? Do owners get paid before the booking? I've been emailing the 'owner' but am trying to make sure I'm thinking this through.
YRBO is just a listing service. Be very careful. We rented a summer place for our son that turned into a disaster. It was supposed to be a small cabin on a “country estate”. It ended up being a converted storage shed with no lock on the door, no outdoor lighting and no driveway. He never even stayed one night. VRBO said there was nothing they could do. It was at the owner’s discretion. Our credit card company said we agreed that there were no cancellations within 30 days. We lost a lot of money. I wanted to take them to court, but my wife, who is very conflict avoidant and the one who booked the place refused.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:54 PM   #13
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Of course. It's similar to the paradox: How do you ever get a job if all jobs require experience?

The answer, IMO, it that I am not obligated to take a risk on a property with no reviews. There will always be someone willing to take that (probably very small) risk. Then I and others can get the benefit of their experience. In the mean time, there are plenty of options where I can see reviews.
That's right - and it is generally the reason why owners list their property at a substantial discount until they have accumulated 5 or more reviews. That way, whoever takes "the risk" gets compensated with a better deal.
I have "taken the risk" twice. One time in Switzerland for an AirBnB that turned out fantastic and was probably at least 30% discounted. Also, just a couple of weeks ago, we booked a cabin on the Northwest Coast of Scotland through booking.com. Turns out, the owners had just started their business and booking.com does not publish a rating until they can average a total of 5 reviews. We took a chance and it turned out great. In fact, we ended up being the 5th review and they now have a 10/10 rating on booking.com. I fully expect that their prices will bump up shortly, now that they are "legit".
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