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MouseStation 219 - Renting a Vacation Home with Fred Zorayq

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We celebrated their 200th show with a balloon drop on the MouseStation (you'll have to take our word for it, we forgot to take pictures). We realized that there's probably over a solid week's worth of audio between all of the shows that we've recorded, and we've actually spent months worth of time working on the podcast.

Featured Topic - Renting a Vacation Home with Fred Zorayq

In this week's feature, Mark talks with Fred Zorayq of Advantage Vacation Homes to find out what you need to know when you consider renting a vacation home for your next trip.

 

Vacation homes are generally owned by people as their own vacation home, and then they rent them out either directly or through a vacation home management company. They can range from 2-7 bedrooms, and may be a standalone home, a townhome or a condominium. There's a minimum age to rent a vacation home, but otherwise anyone can rent one.

Usually a group of people will rent a home, either a family, a golf outing or (increasingly so) sports teams. Occupancy is governed by the same laws that govern hotels, so it's generally two people per bedroom, plus sometimes another two for a living room with a sleeper sofa. That gives you a total of generally 4-16 people per unit.

Vacation homes in the Orlando area are generally located in Kissimmee, Claremont and Davenport, to the south of Walt Disney World. There are a very few homes in Orange County, generally near International Drive or Lake Buena Vista, but the vast majority of the homes are in the "tri-county" area. Travel times to Walt Disney World are anywhere from three miles to thirty minutes in heavy traffic.

You don't have the amenties of a hotel room such as room service, nightly housekeeping, etc. There are plenty of benefits, though. The smallest units are probably at least 3 times the size of a hotel room. If you're going to be renting multiple hotel rooms, it can be much cheaper to rent your own place, with a two-bedroom home running in the vicinity of $100/night and a three-bedroom running around $150/night. Having the kitchen gives you the option of making your own breakfasts to save money, heating up late night snacks, etc. You also have communal spaces to socialize together, rather than trying to coordinate visiting among multiple hotel rooms.

When you decide to rent a vacation home, you can check out the various properties on the Web, taking a look at all of the properties available to see what is in your price range and what fits your space requirements.

When you rent a property on the Web, you still need to make sure that the home is licensed to be rented, that it's insured, and that there is someone local to take care of any problems that may occur while you're there. This is one major reason to look at the management companies rather than the individual owners. This is also a benefit when you have an issue related to a home after you arrive that needs mediation.

There are a number of web sites where you can check on the reputability of vacation home management companies before renting from them. In the Orlando area, look at:

Most qualified companies that have a good reputation from the above organizations will do well for you, then you'll need to check out what they actually have available during the time of your trip.

Along with the rental fee, you'll pay the same rental and occupancy taxes as for hotel rooms, roughly 13 percent in the Orlando are. In addition, there may be a cleaning fee. In most cases, they will include it in the price if you're staying at least 5 or 6 nights, though if your book a shorter stay, you may need to pay a fee based on the size of the home.

Vacation homes tend to be busiest during the school holidays, so if you're going during the Easter/Passover holidays, the summer and the Christmas/New Year's holidays, you'll want to try to make your reservation at least 3-6 months ahead. The further ahead you plan, the more homes you'll have to choose from. Some Europeans, who are very familiar with vacation home rentals, will book 9-12 months ahead.

One thing to bear in mind is that you will need to provide your own transportation when you rent a vacation home, since they are not generally on public transportation routes and there are no shuttles to the theme parks from housing developments. Of course, that also gives you more flexibility when doing things away from the parks.

Fred and Advantage Vacation Homes will be joining us as a sponsor on our Friday shows starting this week. You can find them at AdvantageVacationHomes.com.

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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).