How to Find Your Perfect Vacation Home ….



Part Two of a Two Part Article
(See Part One Posted 1/19/14)

In researching and writing this article I spent quite a bit of time on and and found the following reviews.  These reviews are random samples.  I will discuss my thoughts further into this post.  The following reviewed properties are not represented by Vacation Rentals of the Desert.


Review 1

“The unit was satisfactory for our needs   (2 out of 5 stars)

  • Guest Unhappy Renter from Palmdale California
  • Date of stay 04/13
  • Review Submitted 05/08/11

Very odd floor plan. Entrance from the garage goes through the master bedroom. Atrium needed some updating. Kitchen items were very minimal. Patio furniture needed to be upgraded. There was supposed to be a TV in every bedroom, but there was only one and that one was from 1980. Living room furniture very old. The unit was clean and well kept, but needed major upgrade.”

Review 2

“Never Again (1 out of 5 stars)

  • Guest Unhappy renter (BC, Canada)
  • Date of stay 01/26/11
  • Review Submitted 08/01/11
We rented this unit in January and February 2011. It was dirty, run down and the appliances and televisions are old and out of date.”

Review 3

“Dated but a great location (2 out of 5 stars)

  • Guest Thomas
  • Date of stay 11/26/13
  • Review Submitted 12/04/13

My family was out during the Thanksgiving Holiday week and though we loved the weather and the location of the home we were a little disappointed. The house was old and some of the Formica cabinets were coming apart and the fact that there were no flat screen TV’s in this day and age was also surprising. The owners are nice and very accommodating but they did not have clear directions on how some of the appliances worked, i.e….the spa and the DVD player. I would stay there again, but at a much lower cost.

Owner response: We have had dozens of groups use our home over the years, many of whom are repeat visitors, and we have never received this sort of feedback about the house. Unfortunately, our recent guests expected the home to be brand new and to include amenities that we do not indicate or suggest the house has. The pictures in the listing reflect exactly what the house looks like so if you don’t like the decor, please do not consider staying in our home. We appreciate that the house did not meet the expectations of these guests and because of that, we choose to return all of the money they paid for their stay. So rather than acknowledge that they might have had unrealistic expectations of what less than $500 a night might get them for a group of their size, they felt compelled to leave this review. Sometimes there is no pleasing people. Fortunately for us, we have had hundreds of happy guests with whom we have great relationships who love our home.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  

OK … the truth is … in respect to vacation rentals everything is relative to each person’s perception.  At Vacation Rentals of the Desert we try to price the property in keeping with its desirability, location, amenities and market value.  Example …. let’s take two properties sitting side by side with the same floor plan and bed arrangement … Property #1 is newly updated throughout: new flooring, kitchen, appliances, furniture and supplies.  It  will rent for let’s say $3,600 per month.  Property #2 is 25 years old:  original flooring, etc.  It will rent for $3,200 per month.  A difference of about $12.90 per day (based on a 31 day month) … not a big difference in $$$ but it may be a HUGE difference in the quality of your vacation … depending on your “must haves”.

The above guest reviews tell me that they did not ask about the age of appliances, TVs, kitchen supplies, etc.  It is difficult to get all the information from pictures however the response from the one owner does indicate that the description and pictures were accurate and perhaps the guests were unrealistic in their expectations.  The owner’s response also shows that he was offended by the comments and if indeed he returned all the rental money, that would indicates that the owner was also uncomfortable taking payment from an unhappy guest.

If you take out the cleaning and maintenance issues … after the Guest Reviews these three properties now have a lower desirability rating because the guest’s expectations surpassed what the property owner clearly described and photographed.  In all three examples above, after review, I found that the each of the listing descriptions were clear, the pictures plentiful and the rates were surprisingly low when  compared to similar properties.  However the rental experience was less than the guest expected and the property received a bad review … a very unfortunate outcome for both.

Not all … but most vacation properties are second homes for the property owner.  Whether they are modest studios or luxurious homes … most owners takes pride in ownership.  If you are a guest looking for a wonderful vacation property and require more than just a bed to sleep in, you should be very diligent in finding a property that will fit your needs and expectations.  When I am speaking to prospective guests I have no idea of their level of expectation without asking.  They may live in a $500,000 property on an expansive lot in an affluent area.  If that is the case then they may not be happy with the gorgeous, updated $150,000 condo on the second floor overlooking a community pool that I have suggested for their extended stay.

If you are searching “By Owner” websites then compare similar properties amenities and rates.  In addition, look up local vacation rental management websites such as Vacation Rentals of the Desert and view posted rates for properties in your search area.  There will be a difference in rental rates but you will be able to compare amenities and get a better feel of what to expect for your dollar.  If you are working with a professional management company, ask for a rating scale such as …. “standard,” “deluxe,” “luxury” or where a particular property falls on a one to five star scale.  You should also ask about cost difference for a more desirable property at a higher level?  You may be surprised what a difference a little higher rate can make.  Remember above … $12.90 per night!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Follow these four steps and you WILL find your PERFECT vacation home …

1)   Never Assume …

2)   Make a List …. Know What You are Looking for In a Vacation Home…

3)   Ask Lots of Questions …

4)   And Compare Similar Properties!


Lastly …. when posting a review, be fair.   Did you get what you paid for … or did your expectations surpass the properties description and photographs?  And please always remember you are a “guest” in someone’s home.  Be kind to the vacation rental property!  Whether you love it or not … someone does!


(Reviews from:,


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