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Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

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Boulder, Colorado
6 posts
1 review
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Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

I'm swamped looking through listings, and wondering is there a difference between renting directly from the owner or through an agency. Does an agency provide higher service? Everyone seems to have a little bit of everything--in terms of representing properties all over Sanibel.

I know to look for recently renovated properties, and we're focusing on West Gulf Drive (stayed at the West Wind Inn last year and loved everything).

Any tips?

The Bakery
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1. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

That's a tough call. Many owners have fine properties and some don't, and many rent both direct from owner and through an agency and there's no real price difference. (I expect the owner keeps the agency booking fees.) I've done both. I have found varying degrees of objectivity from both when describing the property. I do like the rating system than Resortquest. com uses for all its properties, condos and houses.

A big price does not mean high quality nor does a low one mean a worn property, though the second is more likely that the first.

Now that you've narrowed down the area in which you wish to stay, and locked on to those complexes that allow the rental period you're looking for, contact several owners and agencies and see what feels best. One advantage the agency gives you is options should the condo become unavailable for any reason. That happened to me one year when some construction ran very late and I had to change complexes a week before I left. An owner can't help with that. Some owner direct units are a bargin. Some aren't.

It's your comfort zone with your decision that matters most, and the option of getting an agency involved should something not be right. TV's die, as do refrigerators and other stuff. It's sometimes easier to deal with an agency, but some owners have an on-island property manager, which also come in good and bad.

I'm not sure this helps, but I can tell you, I'm more likely to use an agency than do owner direct. I've had some real pain in the butt owners and only a very few pain in the butt agencies. Then again, I've rented all over the US and Caribbean, so I've probably dealt with more owners and agencies than most and had more opportunities for bad experiences.

Chicago, Illinois
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2,181 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

I know several property owners on Sanibel who give a 10% discount when one rents directly through their private website rather than going through their booking agency. In high season, that 10% can amount to $250 - $300 so it may be worth your consideration.

I guess we have been fortunate. Each condo owner we have rented from has called us within a day of settling in to inquire if all is well or if we have any questions or concerns and to wish us a pleasant stay. I believe the majority are interested in repeat business so why not do all they can to encourage satisfaction?!

Lake St. Louis...
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1,112 posts
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3. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

I only rent directly from owners and have never had a problem. I ask question for what is their plan for breakdowns etc.

Depending on where you stay this can save you a lot of $$$ and I find that usually the properties have a more homelike feeling.

Make sure to see current updated pictures of exactly what the property will look like when you arrive. I find out if smokers have been in the unit. Also, pets. Ask how often comforters are laundered. Are the bushes regularly trimmed to maintain a great view? (I have encountered this problem and someone was called out to trim the view back.) We have had an A/C break & was promptly fixed, and that can happen with a rental agency.

Basically a rental agency will handle everything for you in finding a property that meets your needs. If you are unhappy when you arrive you have them to deal with. But you will pay a premium for their services.

I gauge how motivated an owner is to make you happy by their E-mail response time and attention to detail in their E-mails. Some owners who have websites, never answer E-mail which I find?????

Good luck.

Boulder, Colorado
6 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

thanks so much!

we're still making our way through all the listings, I suppose it may depend on the property we like.

5 posts
1 review
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5. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

I am an owner of a condo in Sanibel (Pointe Santo). Most of the units for rent are marketed both by the owners and an agency- they are the same either way. The only difference for the most part is that the agency will have to charge you at least 10% more. In our case, which is typical, we pay a 10% commission to our agency for any rentals we book directly with clients; if the agency books someone not sent in by us, we pay a 20% commission. We therefore can offer our unit at 10% less to the public.

The service is the same in that the agency will process the booking, disperse the keys and act as a local contact should problems arise. If you have a good response from an owner, book with them- we both come out ahead!

Menomonie, WI
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9 posts
10 reviews
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6. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

GrandmaMac: Would you be willing to share information on renting one-bedroom condo units on Sanibel through the owners? Where can you find a website listing condos for rent by owners? I, like mermama, am swamped by all the information out there. Thanks so much.

The Bakery
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9,526 posts
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7. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

Try

greatrentals.com

vacationhomes.com

VRBO.com

villas2000.com

All have listings for Sanibel and usually show bed/baths in columns for easy selection.

Also consider cottages as an alternative. They sit on the beach and can be really nice alternatives to condos when you only need 1 bedroom. Do checkout Castaways, Mitchells Sandcastles, Jensens on captiva, Shalimar, Waterside Inn and many others. Their clean and neat and have very good to excellent locations.

You can find complete listings on www.sanibel-captiva.org, the Cahmber of Commerce website under small inns and cottages and Resorts and hotel headings.

Chicago, Illinois
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2,181 posts
11 reviews
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8. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

Susan: Regarding one bedroom units from owners....

I don't know if we are permitted to give specific websites on this forum. That might be viewed as "advertising". However, you might try doing a "Google" search using the key words "Ocean's Reach". That should give you some private owner sites as well as the main site so you can see what it is like.

The complex is being completely renovated as it incurred quite a lot of damage from hurricane Charley last year. I have a friend who owns a unit there and she tells me they will get their certificate of occupancy in just a few weeks. You should be able to count on all the units being very nice.

Sanibel
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375 posts
3 reviews
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9. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

Just an FYI regarding Oceans Reach, they have canceled all their reservations through 12/17.

The Bakery
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9,526 posts
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10. Re: Renting condo in Sanibel--through owner or rental agency?

I found this cottage on VRBO and it is very nice, much nicer than the condos I was looking at and the same price range.

http://www.vrbo.com/23973

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