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VRBO transaction at Myrtle Beach
Old 11-21-2014, 08:08 AM   #1
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VRBO transaction at Myrtle Beach

I am in the process of booking a 3 month rental at Myrtle BEach via VRBO. I have not used VRBO before, but on first glance, the site does little to protect renters.... For example, the reviews are never negative, and are severely filtered by VRBO and the rental owners. Also, any transaction where I rent a property site unseen and pay 100% in advance kinda scares me.

As the rental period is long, I am considering just driving to Myrtle in early Jan and taking my chances. Any experiences or tips for minimizing risks with VRBO?
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:24 AM   #2
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I would think you would have a lot of choices if you just drove there in January, but I don't have any experience doing that personally.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:28 AM   #3
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I've rented quite a bit from VRBO.

I usually email back and forth with the owner, prior to booking, to get a feel for how professionally managed it is.

I've never had any issues.
I've rented both in the States, and in Europe through VRBO.

Most don't require the balance of payment till 2 weeks before the rental. Usually 1/2 down, 1/2 2 weeks prior, and a cash cleaning deposit at the time you show up.

I have seen bad reviews on VRBO properties.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:54 AM   #4
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Ditto what rodi said. I have used VRBO in the US and abroad without a hitch. Do a little research on neighborhoods and you can usually find good deals in good locations.
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Old 11-21-2014, 08:55 AM   #5
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DW's Mom and Dad stayed 3 months during winter at several MB resorts every year for about 5-10 years running. They cut their rates to the bone, plus if you stay 3 months you are exempt from the state and local taxes! You may want to check that out. Indoor pools, exercise facilities, daily limited room service, weekly regular room service, lots of other folks there to play cards, shoot the breeze, etc. They had their regular group each year. If they found a better deal, the whole group moved the next year. Gives you some bargaining power!
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Old 11-21-2014, 09:19 AM   #6
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Hello,

I am an owner of a vacation rental on Hilton Head Island, SC and rent it through VRBO (as well as a few other sites). My recommendation is to speak with the owner and make sure you get a good feeling from them. Nothing beats the personal connection. I do this with most of my renters as well.

Another suggestion is to pay with a credit card. If the rental is non-existent or does not meet what was advertised, you can always work with the credit card company to pull back the payment. I request 50% payment upon booking and the rest within 20 days of the rental. Maybe you can negotiate for some better payment arrangements from the owner. I would be willing to modify my payment requirements for a 90 day rental.

As far as reviews go, I can tell you from experience, bad reviews CANNOT be changed directly by the owner (or VRBO). The owner can have some influence though. The way it works is if you receive a bad review, VRBO gives you a few days to convince the reviewer to modify their review. They have to modify it...not the owner. After those fews days pass, the review gets posted (modified or not).

Hope this helps....
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VRBO transaction at Myrtle Beach
Old 11-21-2014, 09:58 AM   #7
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VRBO transaction at Myrtle Beach

I have rented three places through VRBO: two in NC and one in Naperville (Chicagoland).

I agree that it's good to get a feel for the owner. If you are nice, they probably will be too.

Edit: I never heard of VRBO till coming to e-r.org.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
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Thanks for the responses folks. I really appreciate the feedback as I am very nervous pulling out the credit card.

As far as the reviews go, I am very used to tripadvisor, were you see a wide range of reviews ( some unduly harsh, some over the top with praise, and most somewhere in the middle ). Generally, they give us a very accurate expectation for the property, and I have come to trust them.

On VRBO, I usually only find positive reviews, and really wonder where the negative experiences are. It just makes me wonder where the outlyers are, thats all.

I am aware of the 90 day stay tax break in SC, that's why I am focusing on 90 day rentals. My concern is that March availability will be poor if we wait til Jan to drive down and look for a spot,

BTW, and forum members winter in Myrtle? How is your experience? We spent a week in early March there perhaps 5 years ago and enjoyed it.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:16 AM   #9
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+1 on seeing negative reviews on VRBO. That led us to a nice place in the mountains of NC and steered us clear of crappy places.

I'd talk to the owner and see if you can structure the payment to minimize your risk. Credit card (maybe through pay pal?) for part or all, even if you have to pay a 3% fee to cover the CC fees. Don't pay 100% up front (maybe just for 2 weeks or first month). I would trust the reviews.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:23 AM   #10
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From what I can see, the standard VRBO transaction is 50% deposit on credit card up front, and 50% 4-6 weeks from arrival. In my case, thats essentially 100% at time of booking. For a 3 month stay, that's a really big deposit....
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superdave View Post
I am in the process of booking a 3 month rental at Myrtle BEach via VRBO. I have not used VRBO before, but on first glance, the site does little to protect renters.... For example, the reviews are never negative, and are severely filtered by VRBO and the rental owners. Also, any transaction where I rent a property site unseen and pay 100% in advance kinda scares me.

As the rental period is long, I am considering just driving to Myrtle in early Jan and taking my chances. Any experiences or tips for minimizing risks with VRBO?
Very NOT True in regards to reviews. As a vacation rental owner, I've used VRBO for more than 5 years. The very first review on our Atlanta rental was negative. Reviews are NOT filtered. They are what they are. Most people don't bother to leave a review whether it would be positive or negative. Also, right on the VRBO website is optional insurance for travel and for properties that may not meet your expectations or were not as advertised. VRBO is not for everyone, I can understand not wanting to pre-pay. So I would definitely buy the insurance in your case. I've had many people "check out" my place prior to booking.
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:36 AM   #12
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I have used VRBO and AirBnB several times and the only time I got screwed was on VRBO. The rental owner doublebooked and cancelled on me while we were en-route to the place !
We had to scramble to find somewhere to stay (in NYC nonetheless) and I was very P-O.

Saying that however, we were fully refunded to the penny (we paid by PayPal). I understand VRBO (and the other sites) take that kind of thing seriously (although we didn't have to involve the site to get our refund).
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Old 11-21-2014, 10:41 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by jimnjana View Post
Very NOT True in regards to reviews. As a vacation rental owner, I've used VRBO for more than 5 years. The very first review on our Atlanta rental was negative. Reviews are NOT filtered. They are what they are. Most people don't bother to leave a review whether it would be positive or negative. Also, right on the VRBO website is optional insurance for travel and for properties that may not meet your expectations or were not as advertised. VRBO is not for everyone, I can understand not wanting to pre-pay. So I would definitely buy the insurance in your case. I've had many people "check out" my place prior to booking.
That's interesting. Perhaps the properties I am focusing on are simply good properties. Its just like on say, tripadvisor, I see negative reviews for exceptional hotels I have stayed at in the past, and have learned to filter these out.

My concern with the VRBO insurance is that it wont be there when you need it. VRBO goes out of their way to proclaim that they are an advertising site only, and take no responsibility for the properties.

Maybe one of the owners will go for 50% now, and 50% on arrival. Worth a shot.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:30 AM   #14
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My concern with the VRBO insurance is that it wont be there when you need it. VRBO goes out of their way to proclaim that they are an advertising site only, and take no responsibility for the properties.

Maybe one of the owners will go for 50% now, and 50% on arrival. Worth a shot.
That's why they call it insurance. VRBO will do little if you don't have insurance besides allowing you to write a bad review and to call the owner if the traveler is successful in getting thru to them regarding an issue with the stay...As an owner, there is no way I would do the fifty fifty thing. Especially for a long rental. I would not want to tie up my schedule for a rental that could fall thru on check in day plus I'm not local to the vacation home. You're much better off buying insurance or contacting an owner and having a conversation with them. Many guests have called and just wanted to talk to me prior to renting. Pehaps if you discuss your concerns the owner can address them. You may also want to try one of the beach rental agencies. They have multiple properties and if you have a legitimate issue with one, they may be able to move you to another.
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Old 11-21-2014, 11:37 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jimnjana View Post
Very NOT True in regards to reviews. As a vacation rental owner, I've used VRBO for more than 5 years. The very first review on our Atlanta rental was negative. Reviews are NOT filtered. They are what they are. Most people don't bother to leave a review whether it would be positive or negative. Also, right on the VRBO website is optional insurance for travel and for properties that may not meet your expectations or were not as advertised. VRBO is not for everyone, I can understand not wanting to pre-pay. So I would definitely buy the insurance in your case. I've had many people "check out" my place prior to booking.
I have heard just the opposite of this from a couple of investigative reports I have seen here locally on VRBO (they are alleged to filter many of the negative reviews) and people being bilked out of their money. Anyway, I have used it to locate the properties and then just gone through the owners directly...and will usually use a credit card that has protections in place. I also agree on looking at other reviews, particularly on Trip Advisor.
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Old 11-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #16
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Many owners don't like taking credit cards because of the fee involved and because of dishonest people trying to do bogus charge backs. VRBO has a product, Carefee Insurance that covers owner default and bad or bogus listings. It's not very expensive, I payed about 50 bucks for a 1500 dollar rental. I ended up making a claim on it the first time I used it. Lots of paperwork but they paid back all my money. Be sure to read the T and C's before you buy the insurance. It's valid only if you use the approved VRBO contacts numbers and such. You also need to keep track of all emails between you and the owner. On our last several rentals the owners have not offered Credit Cards options because of the hassle involved for them.
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Old 11-21-2014, 01:04 PM   #17
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I have heard just the opposite of this from a couple of investigative reports I have seen here locally on VRBO (they are alleged to filter many of the negative reviews) and people being bilked out of their money. .
That's what I have read as well, and why I an suspicious of the reviews.

Top 160 Complaints and Reviews about VRBO.com | Page 4
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Old 11-21-2014, 01:39 PM   #18
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We are 3 for 3 in thumbs up for VRBO. Stayed on Marco Island, Kauai, and on the Oregon coast.

All three times we spoke with the owner, completed real rental forms, etc. before making payment.

We were only staying a week so was not as much of a risk. Maybe if I were staying 90 days would want to scout it first in person.
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Old 11-21-2014, 03:33 PM   #19
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Have been working with a property owner today who has been responding promptly, and is willing to do 1/3 rental cost on deposit, 1/3 mid Jan and 1/3 mid feb. That works for me and makes me more comfortable going forward.
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Old 11-21-2014, 04:31 PM   #20
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Be careful and don't provide any access to your bank account. See Item 4 in this link:
VRBO, homeaway.com scams : How to avoid a vacation rental scam?
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