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Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

In cooperation with: Delaware Tourism Office
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Amherst, New...
posts: 56
reviews: 20
Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

I've heard a lot of criticisms about rental agencies operating in Rehoboth Beach, DE. So here's what I hope are some helpful bits of advice to potential renters:

1. Always tour cottages you are thinking of renting, or, at the very least, get a recommendation from a friend who has stayed in the rental, and who knows your standards. This is an absolute MUST. Anyone who whines about having a bad experience who didn't first inspect the property, has NO right to complain if something is wrong with the rental.

2. Agencies will either give you keys to tour a property, or provide an agent to accompany you on a tour of the cottage. If you have a preference (an unaccompanied showing or not), let the agency know that, and schedule a day to tour 3-4 cottage you are interested in. Do not schedule tours for check-in/out days, as these are very busy days for agencies.

3. If there is something wrong with the cottage (meaning it is not up to the same standards as on the day you toured it), bring the problem to the attention of the renting agency immediately. You have a right to have your grievance heard. More importantly, the agency acts on the authority of the owner, who gives the agency the the right to make improvements on their behalf, as deemed necessary. If there is a broken bed, the agency will replace it and charge the owner. Given the opportunity to do what's right, a good business that cares about it's reputation, will act in the best interest sof its customers. However, a business cannot make you happy unless you speak up.

4. Read the fine print on the rental document--and understand it. If there is a "sight unseen" clause, make sure you understand your rights, especially if you are one of those people who rent without touring or without getting a recommendation.

5. Keep the cottage clean for the next person. Clean messes you make, fix or replace anything you break. Don't leave it for the owner of the next person renting to take care of it.

6. As in home buying, when renting, it's all about location, location, location! There are many rental agencies that have a ton of homes and cottages for rent, some closer to the beach, some not. The key to knowing which agency to choose is knowing the neighborhoods where they have most of their rentals. If you don't mind driving everywhere, than it probably isn't an issue. But if you want to be able to walk to the main attractions and feel safe doing so, then you will need to rent with an agency that has the most homes in the areas where you'd like to be, so that you will have a lot of options from which to choose. I have always rented from Jack Lings, and have heard from several people on here that Long & Foster has some nice homes that are well-kept; thou many of their homes are further back from the beach and nicer areas.

I'd be interested to hear from anyone having experiences with other rental agencies operating in Rehoboth Beach.

Rehoboth Beach...
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
posts: 3,271
reviews: 28
1. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

Forty years ago, my mom would spend a day in Feb. or March inspecting cottages with an agent before choosing one. We lived about 2-1/2 hours from the beach resort.

I think this was the norm back then, but I question how many people do that today. It seems unrealistic for anyone that lives 100 miles or more away to take the time and expense to make such a trip. And, in peak season, I'm not sure how you would arrange to have a "back up" plan if you inspected your reserved rental upon arrival and didn't want it.

Living in the "information age," it is no longer unusual for renters to rely on online slide shows and/or or "virtual tours" to select their unit. Sure, this method is not foolproof, mostly because photos and descriptions can be deceiving (and yes, sometimes this seems intentional). This also goes for hand-selected reviews listed by the owner or agent . But as far as curb appeal, neighborhood suitability and the logistics of your intended rental's location, google earth and other sites can virtually take you there.

This thread could open an informative discussion of how people deal with the selection process and past experiences.

Amherst, New...
posts: 56
reviews: 20
2. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

I agree with you that pictures can be suspect, that's why I strongly recommend that in the absence of a first-hand tour, you rely on a friend, or, perhaps the next best thing, a trusted reviewer on one of the many vacation forums out there like Trip Advisor. I've stayed in many cottages in Rehoboth, but in the nice section of town. I can vouch for the cottages as clean, well maintained properties. But just like any resort area in any town, Rehoboth does have it's not-so-nice neighborhoods where noise, crowds, and petty crime are a norm.

Last year I was unable to tour a new cottage I was looking into renting, so I posted on another board, asking if anyone had stayed in this particular cottage, and if they had, could they post whatever images they felt ok with posting, and give their opinion of the place. I got a stellar recommendation from one woman who had stayed there with her family. She told me what she liked, what she didn't, and so I knew going in what to expect. Everyone I went with was delighted with the cottage. It's one of the big ones on the first ocean block, in the best neighborhood, and in walking distance to beach, boardwalk and attractions. I've rented it again this year; and in fact, leave in about a week for Rehoboth. Can't wait!

If you didn't inspect beforehand and found you "didn't want" a cottage upon seeing it in person, then you wouldn't, I don't think, be able to, in effect, return it and get your money back. Your options would likely be limited to informing the agent and allowing him/her to correct the situation, if possible, or, in extreme cases where you deemed a home to be a danger, contacting town to let them know that a home is not habitable. That's why it's so important to know ahead of time that a rental meets your standards. I think, if someone is going to pay $2000-$3000 for a week's stay, that it makes sense to invest a days' drive or a plane fare to tour a few places and is more than worth it. One wouldn't purchase a home without an inspection; the same is true of a rental. If you don't tour, you're putting yourself into a "renter beware" situation, in affect gambling with your investment. Can't stress enough, a tour or knowledgeable referral is a MUST. I was appalled by one reviewer, who posted how upset she was that her rental didn't meet with her expectations. Yet when pressed, she remarked that her problem with the home had to do with it's "basic fitness" for habitation. However, she stayed the week without informing the rental agent of her concerns. If there is an issue, it needs to be brooched with the agent asap so they can have the chance to fix the problem.

Cleveland, OH
posts: 27
reviews: 20
3. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

I think you are scaring people away from Rehoboth by stating that it is an "absolute MUST" that you inspect a property or get a recommendation from a friend. I live 10 hours away so spending a weekend and $1000 to do a walk through is not practical. None of my friends vacation in Rehoboth so a recommendation is not going to happen either. In fact, majority of people from Ohio have never even heard of Rehoboth Beach and think that I am crazy for vacationing in Delaware.

I think the best thing you can do is ask agents specific questions about each unit and ask questions on forums. If the agent can not answer specific questions on the unit in question, don't rent it.

Also, I don't think you can compare renting a vacation property for a week to purchasing a home. The cost is approximately 1000 times higher.

I have been happy with my vacation rentals from Long and Foster.

Edited: 9:23 am, September 12, 2011
Amherst, New...
posts: 56
reviews: 20
4. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

Hi Skipdaddy, thanks for commenting on my post. I appreciate your feedback.

I do, however, stand by my advice. As a long time visitor to the area, I've learned that renting in Rehoboth Beach, or renting anywhere, is a decision that should not be entered into lightly. These forums are filled with unhappy people who didn't do their due diligence, and got exactly out of their vacation what they put into it in planning and preparation.

You say you come from Ohio....I personally don't happen to think that's a terribly long way to come (many Rehoboth visitors come from much farther; coming even from different countries), but I realize it might reasonably be a long haul for some. Personally, I travel from NH (roughly 3/4 the distance you travel), but most times I take a round-about route through upper New York State, so drive-time turns out to be much greater. For me, it's as much about the drive as it is the destination.

Anyway, I wouldn't think twice about hopping a plane during one of Southwest's special $39 each way fares, and staying overnight in an inexpensive-- $80-$150/night hotel during the early off-season; which, conveniently, is the best time to set up cottage tours because agencies tend to be less busy at this time. But I sympathize with you if it would cost you $1,000 to do the same thing, and might be less inclined myself to make a personal visit under those circumstances. That's a lot of money.

However, in my first post I suggested an alternatived to the personal visit: Going into a traveler's forum and asking for information about a specific rental. I did this last time for the cottage I rented last year (and am renting again this year). Asking costs you nothing.

Basically, what I am saying is: Travelers will want to do their homework and read and understand rental contracts to make their experience the best it can be.

Thanks, and best to you.

Rehoboth Beach...
Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
posts: 3,271
reviews: 28
5. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

Doing rental inspections for prospective vacationers who don't live nearby seems like it could be a viable business.

It would be a conflict of interest for an agent to offer these, but an independent, objective firm offering a basic "walk through" inpection including photos for an affordable cost (say $65.-$95.) could save people a lot of money, anxiety, and possibly a botched vacation. You could advertize on the rental websites and in the free realtor magazines.

A lot of people are out of work.....start-up costs would be minimal.

Amherst, New...
posts: 56
reviews: 20
6. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

Seems like a good idea, thou I wonder how willing an agency would be to hand over cottage keys to someone who has no intention of actually renting it. If I were a rental agency, I'd be concerned with liability. I suppose they'd never have to know, but then that would seem underhanded, and they'd probably have an idea once they started having a glut of people tour cottages who then never come back to rent. I still believe that the best route short of personal tour is for potential visitors to ask about a cottage they have an interest in within a trusted forum such as this or the many others out there.

7. Re: Advice for anyone renting a cottage in Rehoboth, DE

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