Quaint or quirky?
Nella/Shutterstock Some home-sharing options are appealing to because of their quirks, like renting an old row house on a cobblestone street. But other vacationers are drawn to a more modern home with all the upgraded amenities. If you prefer the quaint and quirky, be sure it’s still manageable for you. For example, if you rent an old row house, are you able to walk three flights of stairs to the bedroom? Do you mind tiny bathrooms and rubbing elbows while brushing your teeth over the pedestal sink or a noisy fan instead of central air conditioning?
What’s this charge for?
fizkes/Shutterstock When you’re comparing rentals and prices, factor in additional fees for cleaning, security deposits for pets, booking fees, taxes, etc. “Fees vary widely between properties so it’s important to factor all the fees when comparing prices,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert and a VRBO/Homeaway homeowner. “Compare the total price per listing and look at the per night or per week price. You may get a discount for multiple nights or be able to negotiate a discount on the rental rate if you stay for a longer period of time or if you’re booking a last minute rental since the homeowner may want to fill the space so not to lose any rental income.” Some owners may waive the booking fee if you ask, but know that you will forgo the various types of “assurance guarantees” that home-sharing websites offers.
Check out the ‘hood
Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock Another reason to check out the ‘hood besides personal safety is to find out the proximity of the house to the activities you’re planning. If you plan on hitting the beach, find out if it’s walkable or if you’ll need to drive. If you’re looking for a quiet retreat but the home is surrounded by restaurants and bars, you’re likely not going to get a good night’s sleep. “Ask for the address of the property if it isn’t listed so you can look it up on Google maps to verify the location,” suggests Woroch.