Am I asking the right questions?

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Sep 18, 2014
Husband & I are discussing renting a place in central FL in January & February for about 30 days (or so, depending on the deal we can cut). We have looked @ several sites VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, and some others suggested by a friend who rented there last winter. We've narrowed things down by price, to a couple of areas and by amenities wanted (# bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.) This is the first time we've done anything like this, so I'm trying to be as informed as possible before we commit.

We are planning to call one of the management companies tomorrow about a couple of their properties in a gated community that hub's friend suggested. I printed out the thread at the beginning of this forum (Short Term Rental Consumer Suggestions/Vacation Rentals), but we still have additional specific questions.
- Age of property/complex
- Use of common facilities (pool, rec center, etc.) -- do we need temporary ID, and how much is it?
- If gated, how do we get in & out? How do guests/visitors get in & out?
- Cancellation/early termination policy?
- Linens supplied (beds, towels)? How many sets?
- May we speak to property owner? Are there references/reviews available (many of the places/sites I've looked at have no reviews listed)?
- May we have a family member who lives in the area check out the property for us before we commit? (His sister & BIL live in FL about 7 months/yr, and they're pickier than we are!)

We figure we will be purchasing trip cancellation insurance as part of this outlay.

Any other questions we should be asking? Thanks for your help/suggestions.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Check the insurance policy you consider- some don't cover these type of trips. You usually have to choose the name of the company you are booking with.

And NEVER EVER wire money for a rental. That's a huge red flag and all of the vacation rental companies tell you never to wire money.
Apr 10, 2017
Make sure there is assistance readily available should something go wrong in the condo. I have rented numerous condos over the years through VRBO and this is important. One time my husband and I were at a condo in Deer Valley and the washer didn't work. I called the property manager and he had it fixed that very day. He followed up the next day to make sure it was working properly.
Jul 13, 2016
As Patina says, long term rentals have much stricter cancellation rules. Typically, any rental of 28 days or more is considered long-term and I believe that long-term policies usually have a 1 month rent penalty fee. So if you contract to rent for 30 days, pay in full, and then need to cancel, you would lose all your money.


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I wouldn't rent a property without any reviews under any circumstances. The owner or agent should be able to answer all your questions, but I'd get it all in writing. I don't book VRs that don't offer payment by credit card. OTOH, my sister rents a dozen VRs a year and pays no attention to any of our warnings. She always talks to the owner/agent tho. She's had only one property that wasn't terrific, and it wasn't that bad.
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 18, 2014
Thanks to all for their comments & suggestions.

We did call the management company for the complex suggested by hubby's friend/occasional fishing buddy, G. (G had looked @ it last year when he was planning to spend part of the winter in FL, but couldn't book there because they don't allow boats to be kept on site, and he planned to bring his boat.) We did eventually find some links for reviews for the place on Google (largely favorable); we even figured out the address for the specific villa we wanted, so found it on Google Maps then went to to get info about square footage, age of the property, prior sales, etc.

(We LOVE Google!)

After a couple of conversations and a few e-mails, we've now started the booking process for the property. Awaiting receipt for payment confirmation, then we can get a few other things started (like shopping for trip insurance, notifying credit cards that we'll be out of STL for a few weeks, and a gazillion other things we need to do before we leave). We have given them a credit card # for a deposit and eventual final payment; we printed out the terms & conditions; and we've notified the credit card co. that we're using to charge this to about what we're doing and about our upcoming trip.

in the near future, I'll be putting together a to-do list of things to take care of before we leave, and may post it here if the mods approve.