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Author: inparadise Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 91  
Subject: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/8/2011 7:51 AM
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We have rented a place in GA, settling in since our recent arrival. It is a place that has huge potential, and a fabulous setting, but it is definitely marred by what appears to be lack of day to day maintenance. The property has been in service as a VR for about 8 years now, and some of the issues like the carpeting needs to be replaced, worn and stained, are pretty pricy. Much of it however is stuff like missing or cracked switch/outlet plates, handles that fell off the kitchen cabinets, dents and scratches in the wall...each by itself not a huge deal, but one on top of the other compounding into a place that is rather run down.

Had these issues been taken care of as they came up, they would have been so much easier to deal with. Now the house is for sale, and the deferred maintenance making it tough to unload, not withstanding the fantastic water frontage in this strongly buyers market.

We met the owner last night, when she had DH help her to unload the new grill from her truck, and handed him the instructions and all the parts that Lowes had not put on. I don't know if owning and managing a VR was simply more than she had anticipated, if the tough N GA economy has simply slammed her business, but she is sending this place into a death spiral with her lack of attention. The better you have a place maintained, the better the occupants tend to take care of it. Let it slide downhill, and people won't bother with the common courtesies that protect the home, and treat it as the property in decline that it is.

I do worry that our enthusiasm for owning a VR will dampen after a few years. That's one reason why our specifications for the property we buy are so tight, that it be able to serve as our retirement home when Youngest heads off to college in 4 years, that are able to pay for it without income from the property and that we love the place ourselves. While I know we love the VR concept, certainly our experience of having used them for the past 10+ years will be a different reality from owning and managing one. This is a great investment on paper...what new visions will reality bring?

IP
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Author: JustMee01 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 44 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/8/2011 8:48 AM
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When looking for a place to rent, how do you avoid the dumps? One thing about hotels, is that brand gives you some idea of what you're getting. In most cases, you get a better product with the better names, although abberations happen.

But, with a VR, you're blind. We've rented places locally before, and ended up with better places just through word of mouth, walking the beach and looking at other properties, etc. But, if you don't have that local knoowledge, how do you avoid the run down properties?

Peter

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Author: inparadise Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 45 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/8/2011 10:42 AM
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When looking for a place to rent, how do you avoid the dumps?

In theory, the reviews. HomeAway and IIRC VRBO have recently made it much harder for an owner to block a negative review, and the owners can no longer opt out of reviews. Unfortunately, they also now make people sign up as a client before they can submit reviews, and so the number of reviews, positive or negative, have plunged.

This place had wonderful reviews, however, and in truth it's no "dump." It is however suffering from neglect, and not what it could be. For the price, I expected a better maintained place, though.

IP

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Author: LLRinCO Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 46 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/9/2011 5:58 PM
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You really can't avoid getting a dump, owners have their friends write reviews on their own property. We have had pretty good luck renting properties, we avoid the real cheap ones and just hope for the best.

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Author: inparadise Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 47 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/9/2011 7:12 PM
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we avoid the real cheap ones and just hope for the best.

Ironically, this is the most expensive place we have ever sprung for!

IP

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Author: vaking One star, 50 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 48 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/16/2011 7:50 AM
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When looking for a place to rent, how do you avoid the dumps?

In theory, the reviews.


We don't have any renter-supplied reviews on HomeAway or VRBO yet, but for the past few years of renting our place I've been sending a follow-up email requesting comments and/or their completion of a survey/questionnaire I put online. We also have comments from our guestbook. So, I've been planning to collect these comments and start adding them as owner-added to the listings. I know these will be taken with some grain of salt, since they're provided by the owner, but was thinking it would help.

The other option is to reach out to past renters asking them to do so, but I don't want to bug them too much (would rather they only get a rare email from me asking if they'd like to return!), and could see that some folks wouldn't want to register on the site(s) nor would do both sites anyway.

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Author: inparadise Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 49 of 91
Subject: Re: Constant Maintenance Date: 8/16/2011 8:26 AM
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So, I've been planning to collect these comments and start adding them as owner-added to the listings. I know these will be taken with some grain of salt, since they're provided by the owner, but was thinking it would help.

It depends on the quality of the review. If it is simply gushing, with no balance, then I tend to reject or minimize it's value. If it's balanced with not only compliments but recommendations, I give those more credence. No place is perfect for everyone, and some recommendations, particularly those you act on and can state as such in your "reply," have a positive impact. For example, a review of our current rental would include the fact that the location and river frontage is just about perfect. They have hit the trifecta of view, sound, and great access, but it was nearly impossible to find a pan I was willing to cook in, and that perhaps fewer of the pans would have a permanent layer of burned food if the dials on the stove actually gave some indication of how high the electric burner is. Now the location, which is perfect anyway, can't really be changed, but a new set of pots and taking a sharpie on the stove controls could remedy those complaints and show the owner to be attentive to the renter's needs.

The other option is to reach out to past renters asking them to do so, but I don't want to bug them too much ...

Bugging them too much is never the answer, but make it easy for them. Send them an email to the effect that you hoped they enjoyed their stay, and would appreciate them taking a moment to review the property to help others decide if this property is the right one for them. Provide the link, and ask them to email you if they submit a review so that you can make sure the review appears and their efforts are not wasted. When you have a few reviews, start the email off with "If you found the reviews to be helpful in making your choice to rent our property, please consider submitting one of your own." Offer a return customer gift if they submit a review. Something like a local product your area is known for or a gift certificate to a restaurant would not break the bank, and reviews would help you get more business.
I know that some people resort to family and friends submitting reviews, which is one way to jump start your reviews, and ethical if honest.

Every time I've been provided a link, I've submitted a review. When I have not, I often forget. I do wait for my security deposit to be returned before I review, however.

IP

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