Have you ever wondered how to find a beautiful home to stay in while on vacation? Are you tired of paying hundreds of dollars a night for a lumpy bed and a tiny refrigerator that has $5 sodas in it? A few years back I realized there is a better way to travel than this. It all started when the real estate market started to slide downward. I had 2 brand new waterfront homes that I couldn’t sell. I tried listing them for rent with several realtors. Not only could they not get me renters, they wanted to rent these homes (that were appraised at $750,000) for $1000 per month. I started to check out the internet and found a lot of “by owner” vacation rental sites. HomeAway is the only site I found that lets you list your vacation property and get real results. I used 2 other sites also, in the beginning, but HomeAway has given me 10 leads to every 1 lead the other sites gave me.
You sign up and pay about $200 per year to list your home for rent. It gets listed on 4 websites with multiple pictures and an availability calendar. Customers contact you via email and make inquiries for dates to rent your home. I now charge $1,100 per week. I am making $4,400 per month off of each home. This had made holding my homes until the real estate market rebounds possible.
Now, you might think that $1,100 per week is expensive, but think about it. Hotel rooms can cost upwards of $200 per night in Florida. Renters are not paying $5 for a soda, they can go to the grocery store and stock up on everything they need for their stay. No more paying $12 for a hamburger and watching your child eat only the pickle! For the renters it is an amazing deal. They have 3 bedrooms (not 1 small room with 2 beds), a family room, dining room, game room, a full size kitchen, and their own private, heated swimming pool.
Finally, I decided to not just rent my homes, but to try renting someone else’s home, and it was great! We rented a house on the east coast of Florida in Delray Beach. Instead of being trapped by all of the tourist spots and hotels we got to really get a feel for life in Delray Beach. We had great meals at locally owned restaurants for reasonable prices, because we were not caught up in the “tourist trap”.
The bottom line, is if you have a property that you cannot sell, and would like to see it support itself, the HomeAway network will make it possible. Even if you are just looking for a great vacation with better value it is also worth checking it out, but plan ahead, renters get hooked on the homes and sometimes book a year in advance.