Travel & Places Vacation Homes/Time-Shares

Be Wary of Agencies When Finding Your Vacation Rental Property on The Internet

This is for those folks who are trying to find a self catering, vacation rental property on the web.
It can be confusing.
When you enter a search term such as Vacation rental Catering France, you'll get a mass of Directories of properties covering the whole of Europe and and they will crowd out the first pages.
You'll have to go to page 6 or more to begin to find owners properties.
I'm just going to review one kind of Directory, the Agency, and to put up some warning signs.
Some Directories are really sales agencies.
Owners pay to have their properties sold for them, they may or may not be inspected by the agencies, their details are put on the internet, and the agency takes the booking.
Seems fine, but all is not what it seems.
You'll be paying absolutely top prices if you use the agencies and most owners will charge you less if you can find their own sites.
Sometimes a lot less and the relationship will be very much warmer.
We used an agency at the start with our little cottage in Scotland which we rent out.
They took 30% of our revenue, they then added a big charge on top of our usual rates to the visitors.
In exchange they took hold of a section of our prime dates in the summer (didn't want to know about the off season, left that to us).
Then out of 16 prime weeks or so they sold 7.
Wow! What a rip off for everyone concerned including the visitor.
Not surprisingly we took it over ourselves.
Yet not all directories are agencies.
The other kind of directories are fine to use, ones where they put you through to the owner direct.
No problem there, and they also have more properties on their books.
I'll write them up in a later blog.
Don't use an agency.
The only exception to this, might be the local Tourist Board site.
Their sites will be over every search term you can think of.
They carpet bomb the web with their sites.
Usually they are an agency.
Very expensive for owners to use.
While their commission rates are only 10% or so, quite affordable, they make heavy fixed charges for inspections.
These also are controversial in that they only measure physical features, such as the amount of wool content in the carpets (I kid you not) and not the view or the location or the warmth of reception.
Their sales people on the telephone do not know the properties themselves, they are separate from the inspectors.
But they are the people giving you official grades, of one star to five star.
Owners with these grades then use them to get up their prices in line with other graded properties.
So take care when using an agency to find your vacation rental property.

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