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    16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 15, 2010 4:02 PM by stokestrip

    Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience

    simon07 Wayfarer

      Does anyone here own a second home/vacation home that you rent out? How do you go about renting out? I found this website called VRBO. Have you tried the listing your home on VRBO?

      How much do you pay to list your property and how often do you get inquiries on your property? We own a second home, with the economy as it is...we're thinking of renting it out when we don't use it.
        • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
          simon07 Wayfarer
          thought I would ask the question again - can anyone share their experience with VRBO?
          • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
            beach123 Newbie
            Yes, this is a wonderful site to list your 2nd home/vacation home. We have had our vacation home listed for the past several years and it is a great source of income. It allows us to also use the home when we want it. You deal directly with the guests. We have had no problems so far.
            • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
              beach123 Newbie
              On the property listing, the costs are broken down for you. Very easy to navigate and write your own copy. The more pictures you have on your property the higher the cost of your ad. 16 pic's is the max., you can add a youtube video of your home for free if you pay for 16 pic's. Their rates are very reasonable considering if you get 1 rental it will easily pay for the cost.
              You need to register with the city and state to collect the taxes, and send them in every month. Like any other business, you need to be aware of scams and screen your guests. VRBO has updates on this and a great forum. Tons of books and info. on this topic also.
              We have 'snowbirds' in our home for 4 month at a time in winter. Summer months are busy. Aug - Nov. fairly dead. But you can get more in 1 week through vrbo than leasing it monthly. You do have utility costs, maintience and cleaning fee's. Hope this helps.
              • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                FullyBooked Newbie
                VRBO is the largest of the leading online listing sites. It is truly a "must" for successfully renting your second home. But it is not enough. We recommend also signing up with (Note: HomeAway now owns VRBO and most of the other leading sites.)

                As for loading up on pictures on VRBO to get a higher position in the results, here's an article on just that topic. It appeared in an issue of our FullyBookedRentals newsletter:


                Our advice to owners who want to offer their properties as vacation rentals has always been "Start with VRBO." Sure, the site is long overdue for a facelift. And the search tools leave a lot to be desired. But the fact is, VRBO gets about three times as many unique visitors each month as its parent company, HomeAway (1.2 million for VRBO vs. 400,000 for HomeAway, according to traffic statistics compiled by More important, VRBO produces results.


                Early this year (2008), VRBO quietly introduced new prices and a revised photo policy. The annual cost of a basic listing is now $229 with 5 photos (up from $179 with 3 photos). You can add more photos, up to a new maximum of 16 (instead of 12) for an extra charge of $24 per photo, increasing the annual cost of your listing to $493 ($229 plus $264 for 11 extra photos).

                And just why would you want to do that? According to a recent newsletter from HomeAway, "To show up higher on the VRBO list for your area."

                To which we say, "Not so fast, Old Sport." Ad ranking has been an issue since the very beginning of the online vacation-rental industry, and VRBO has always used the number of photos as its primary ranking criterion. But in our opinion, playing the "pay for position" game on VRBO rarely makes sense. For two reasons:

                • First, vacationers don't shop by number of photos. They shop by number of bedrooms. And in all but the most competitive vacation destinations, it's just not that big a deal for vacationers to review all the properties that have the number of bedrooms they need.
                • Second, to make the review process even easier, at the click of a mouse prospective renters can override VRBO's "number of photos" sort order and re-sort the results by number of bedrooms. (That's the first thing we do whenever we use VRBO to look for properties.) So much for that extra $264 many VR owners have paid in hopes of appearing higher on the list.

                In our opinion, there is only one reason to add extra photos: To persuade a vacationer to book your place instead of someone else's. So make sure that you include your very best five photos in your VRBO listing. If you need more pictures to tell your story, consider creating an online photo album and inserting a link to it in your listing. (For more on this, see the section on "Making Your Listing Stand Out from the Competition" in the free Vacation Rental Resources Guide that's posted at our FullyBookedRentals Web site.)

                In short, don't just assume you have to play the VRBO pay-for-position game. That extra $264 might be spent more effectively by advertising on an additional site, hiring a professional photographer, or adding some new amenity that will give your property a competitive edge.

                Copyright--Alfred and Emily Glossbrenner,
                • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                  DomainDiva Ranger
                  Any reputable rental agency will want to see the property and will require a contract. Before listing with any agency be sure to check them out, and have your attorney vet them and the contract as well.

                  If the property is a condominium, then the condo managment may be able to help as well.

                  Rental commisions are usually 10-15% for the agency, you receive the rest on a pre-determined schedule agreed to in your contract.
                  • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                    julietv Newbie
                    Yes. VRBO is the most effective way to market your vacation rental property. The largest and most popular vacation rental site. Specializing in BY
                    OWNER vacation rentals, homes, condos, cabins, villas and apartments.

                    Reverse Mortgage
                    • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                      TahoeWeb Newbie
                      Hi Simon;

                      I do not know about that company you are looking at...But I do have a second home in Lake Tahoe! I just built a simple website (easy for me becuase I own a e commerce hosting compay) and post away on Craigs List with the link back to my site. Yes it may sound pretty crazy..However I do get a lot of rent time from that (CL). Maybe something you can try via Craigs List?

                      I have used a few rental places in the past, however they were pretty much going to do the same thing. So I figure I would save in the rental fee.

                      Best of luck
                      • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                        balsamiqval Newbie
                        And from the other side: I have used VRBO to rent homes for remote employees coming for short-term stays in the Bay Area. Fantastic. Great site.
                        • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                          mmatchev Newbie
                          I have used VRBO com for few years,
                          but I don't get as much bookings from there as I wish.
                          My property is in Italy. I'm geting the most of my inquiries from
                          But you have to try for yourself it VRBO works for you
                          • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                            DonyBye Newbie
                            Hello Simon07

                            I use(ed) VRBO for two propertes, one in Ireland and one in Spain. I
                            get almost three times more rentals from than VRBO.
                            I believe this is so as when you set up the website for your property,
                            homelidays translate it into about 7 European languages. As a result,
                            when someone Googles a holiday destination, in any language, it will
                            show up in homelidays. homelidays also have a very clever map search,
                            where you bring up a Google map area of where you want to stay and it
                            shows you all the properties in the area. homelidays allow you 14
                            photographs, they are less expensive than VRBO and at a time when the
                            whole world is reducing prices, I think VRBO and homeaway have a cheek
                            upping theirs. That said, VRBO has given me great service, it's just they should deal with market realities.
                            • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                              Henderson Wayfarer
                              where is your rental property located?
                              • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                                charmandhamer Newbie
                                From another perspective - I am not a renter - but a "rentee" - on several occasions... some family time, some girls weekend away time...
                                Every time I've used VRBO it has been great!

                                I've even told all of my friends - anyone who mentions a vacation - to check out vrbo.... it really is nice to deal direct with the homeowner.

                                • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                                  listedplaces Newbie
                                  Hi all, I wanted to share another great resource that is free, its called listedplaces: is a new startup based in nyc.
                                  Very clean web presence, no advertising and you get to post up to 30 images of your property.
                                  I thought you may find this also useful.
                                  • Re: Vacation Rentals by Owners VRBO - any experience
                                    stokestrip Wayfarer
                                    I am an travel agent and I have used VRBO to put a client in a house in Hawaii. Make sure that after you take care of the logistics of renting it out that you have the house rules outlined fully and a good contract. It limits your liability. Make sure you pay a minimum of 10% commission to travel agents and post that on the page so that we will direct clients to you. We only reserve what we get paid for.
                                    Believe you me it is easier dealing sometimes with agents than the general public because you have only one individual calling you instead of multiple people who are all traveling together. Also, agencies such as mine have insurance to help deal with various client issues. Put as many detailed pics as you can, a virtual tour is even better. When putting details about your listing, make sure you focusing on emotions and feelings of experiencing your home in addition to the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. That is what we convey to our clients. Remember every agent that see yours listing has the potential of recommending you to their database of hundreds of clients.

                                    You can also list your property on and - THIS IS FREE.