The Right Choice: Management Company or VRBO?

Most families who vacation on the Gulf Coast prefer renting a condo rather than a hotel.The benefits of multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, fully equipped kitchens and great rooms for relaxing are obvious. However, the decision of whether to rent through VRBO or through a management company may not be as obvious. We’ve put this helpful guide together to help you navigate the pros and cons of both options.

Pros of Renting Through a Management Company 

  • The management company generally has a larger selection of units within your desired property and has a trained staff to help you find the best match for your needs.
  • Once you arrive, you generally have a contact nearby  in case you encounter any problems with your rental unit.
  • Local companies know more about the area and can help guide you to local activities and restaurants.
  • If you rent through an onsite management company, you will have staff at the property to assist you with any needs.
  • At properties with numerous amenities, onsite management companies are able to include access to all property amenities at the time you book your unit. They also may offer additional perks such as advanced beach chair rentals or resort charging privileges.
  • Guests renting through an onsite management company may also be offered discounts on food and other services.

Cons of Renting Through a Management Company

  • Typically the rates are a bit higher than you can find on VRBO.
  • Across the board, management companies are less likely to make exceptions or negotiate on price.
  • There may be less personalized service than you get with VRBO.

Pros of Renting Through VRBO

  • You can usually find lower rates on VRBO than you can with a management company.
  • You may get more personalized service upfront. Since you’re dealing with the owner, they will have more personal knowledge of the unit you are interested in renting.
  • The owner may be more likely to negotiate price, especially to move gap nights.

Cons of Renting Through VRBO

  • If you do encounter a problem with your rental, you could be dealing with someone hundreds of miles away trying to coordinate repairs. And if the problem is serious, there may be no other options to move you to another unit.
  • The owner’s knowledge of the local area may not be up to date or comprehensive.
  • You may have to pay extra for access to property amenities. So, you may not be getting a true picture of the entire cost of your vacation upfront.

So, the best option for you probably depends on your expectations for the ideal vacation. If you want a stress-free vacation, someone onsite to take care of problems and full access to property amenities with no extra cost, then a management company is the way to go. However, if you don’t mind taking a chance that nothing will go wrong and paying for additional services and amenities once you get onsite, then VRBO may be a good option for your family.


Gulf Coast Dreaming: Is it time to buy a beach home?

At one time or the other, most of us beach-lovers have fantasized about owning our own condo or house on the beach. But maybe you are one of the lucky ones ready to stop fantasizing and get serious about purchasing.

The time seems right in a lot of ways. Interest rates are low and the market appears to be on the verge of a rebound.

Before you wade in, here are some things you may want to consider before buying a beach home.

To Rent or Not to Rent?

Beaches are prime locations for second homes with potential rental incomes. If you do plan to rent, and want to maximize your rental income, make sure the property you are considering has the amenities most renters expect. Things such as proximity to the water, updated kitchens and bathrooms, swimming pools and other onsite amenities will help increase your potential occupancy and determine the amount of rent you can charge. In general, it will cost you more upfront to purchase property with a lot of amenities, but you should also realize higher rental revenue.

Work with a tax professional if you decide to rent your beach home. They can help you decide whether it is best to treat it as a second home or an investment for income tax purposes. Generally, though, you cannot occupy a rental investment for more than two weeks a year (or 10 percent of the total days it’s rented).

How important is proximity?

Whether you plan to rent or not, most people want a vacation home that is relatively close to their primary residence. You’ll probably use it more often if it’s close enough for long weekend trips. Plus if it’s not too far away, you are more likely to be able to use it for holidays and extended family gatherings

Also, returning to the same place time and after time allows you the opportunity to expand long-term friendships with residents and become part of the social fabric of the area.

Head start on retirement

Locating and buying a second home prior to retirement enables you to experience the benefits of a dream location before actually retiring there. It also give you time to correct and amend your plans if the reality is different than the dream.

While all assets fluctuate in value in the short term, vacation properties are more likely to retain their value and appreciate simply because they are located in popular areas with a geographically limited supply. There is simply a finite amount of shoreline on which coastal residences can be built.