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Why Owning a Vacation Home is no Vacation

June 1st, 2012 · 4 Brilliant Opinions · Hamptons, Random Things That Make Me Smile, Vacation rentals

I recently read an article in the NY Times about the huge increase in vacation home rentals  in the United States and abroad.  The take home message was that its not a “get rich quick scheme.”  I can attest to that.  However, besides making money  to offset the expenses of a second home, I think they are some very real advantages to renting a vacation home.

For one, nothing is worse than a rarely used vacation home.  If you don’t use appliances like a dishwasher fairly often, they tend to mildew or get rusty.   Also, pest control becomes a bit of a dicey proposition when a house is left largely vacant. Someone I know with a second home ended up with a serious bat infestation.  (Its no vacation if you wake up one day as Dracula.)

 Although the crime rate is fairly low in the Hamptons, a vacant home can be an invitation for thieves or worse – the infamous Hamptons squatter.   On the East End of Long Island,  folks have been known to enter homes and make themselves quite comfortable during the long winter.

Every spring we get busy doing repairs and updates to our vacation home but we are always concerned about the little things we miss by not being daily residents.  So far we noticed a motor issue with the pool pump and a leak in the outdoor shower.  Most of the work is geared on moving out old broken toys, mulching around the playset, weeding the garden and cleaning the yard furniture.  I purchase linens in white (except for colorful beach towels) and buy in bulk.  I ditch the worn ones every season but still have plenty in the original packaging.  I also buy toilet paper, tissues, paper napkins, shampoo, shower gel, dishwashing liquid, detergent, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, coffee, and tea  in bulk for our summer guests.  This year I purchased new serveware. I always buy double the amount I need. That way if a plate or cup gets chipped I have a replacement (I just lock up my second set in my owner’s closet).

New Dishes

My favorite things to purchase every year? No fancy gelato makers or spinning martini shakers – but new toys for our younger guests.

Is it work?  Yeah, it is. Then again it forces me to try new restaurants and experiences I can recommend to guests.  Frankly, I love the fact that other folks are enjoying our home when we can’t be there.  We keep a guest book at the house and my kids love to read the notes from renters.

Tightening up the outdoor furniture

Bye Bye old toys

Mulching around the playset

What are the downsides?  I can’t take the folks who know that we don’t accept pets but still ask about bringing their “well behaved” cat, dog or hamster.  Funny how no one ever says they have a poorly behaving pet. For the record, I’m allergic to cats (and live with one full-time) but I love dogs.  But I don’t like dog poop and I have a funny feeling it would be all over the yard.

 The other folks who make me “sigh” are the ones who want an exact street address.  Hmmm … I think most folks are honest, but should I really give out the address to my often unoccupied home over the internet?  Really!?  Most vacation home rental websites warn homeowners to not reveal the exact location until the final payment is made.

So here are my questions for you.  If a vacation home is not pet friendly is that a deal breaker for you?  Would you rent a vacation home without knowing the exact street address?


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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Kamilah

    Pet not a deal breaker as I one don’t own one. Address not a deal breaker. I thought it would be but as long as I can see pictures of the property and have some understanding of where it’s located in relation to the beach, shops, dining, etc. I’ll be good to go.

  • Ann

    Kamilah – That’s good to know. I know folks love their pets but I’m super allergic to cats and some dogs. BTW – checked out your blog. Your hair is gorgeous. I have loc envy :). Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Kelsey

    Not allowing dogs is not a deal breaker when I travel abroad or far distances but if its a weekend or week trip with the family within a 5 hour drive of home then I very likely would want my pet with…and in that case it could be a deal breaker…but maybe that is ok. Maybe there is a place that doesn’t mind my dog being there that would be a better fit? You are allowed to have rules at your rental that might not make it work for everyone. We have a vacarental and we say no dogs/pets but if we go up for the weekend we often bring our dog (we sometimes are flexible about other people bringing their dogs as well…but have rules about where in the house (we have a front enclosed 4 season porch with tile that we sometimes allow people to keep their dog…do they always follow that rule..no). 🙂 Good luck . 🙂

  • Ann

    Hi Kelsey – Thanks for your comment. We recently got a puppy and we are thinking about becoming a pet friendly vacation home. Our biggest concern is having folks pickup the pet waste during their stay. We live in NYC where here is a pooper scooper law yet so many people don’t pick up their pet waste.

    I would bet your guests are not keeping their dogs in the 4 season porch… unless you have a big yard. Do you ask for a pet deposit? Is it refundable? Do you require that the dog be in a crate? I would love to hear about any other rules you have.

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