It’s that time of year again, when the holiday hype has died down and we’re all sick of the cold weather and snow that’s associated with the Buffalo area. This feeling can only mean one thing – Vacation time!

However, before you pack up your sunscreen, beach towel, and favorite pair of sunglasses you have to book your trip. As we all know booking a vacation rental can sometimes be the hardest part, whether you’re looking for a rental a year from now or even one a week from now. Proposed below are tips about things to know when renting a vacation home from a private owner.

  1. Start early. The earlier you start the better and the less stress involved trying to book last minute. Remember the best vacation homes tend to book up the fastest. A few of the most common ways to find a rental is through magazines, newspapers, a recommendation from a friend, online websites such as Vacationrentals.com, or through rental agencies and realtors.
  2. It is important to know what’s included in the rental.  Some places might not have laundry or allow pets, while other places may charge for cable and utilities. These are all important things to know before signing the rental agreement. The best plan of action is to know what amenities you’re looking for and check to make sure that that they are included. In addition, reading the fine print is a must.
  3. It’s also important to know if there is anyone to call for assistance. When something breaks what do you do? Established companies offer an emergency guest service contact number that guests can call 24/7 for maintenance or general questions.  For non-professional places it up to the owner’s policy, be sure to be know this policy before signing.
  4. Security deposits can be expected. Paying with a credit card rather than with check or cash ensures that you receive your deposit back a lot faster.  Also be aware of where your security deposit goes when it comes to what it is used for, how you will get it back, and when you will get it back.
  5. Lastly, make sure there is a written agreement between you and the person renting to you. This could be the most important item on this list. The last thing you want to find out is that the vacation rental you thought you booked never existed or someone was booked the same week as you.