#houses on rent
All About Orlando Vacation Rental Homes
While Europeans have been vacationing in each others homes for years, this is a relatively new concept for the North American vacationer. When planning a vacation, our first thoughts after picking a destination are travel and lodging. While travel can be by private car, air, train, bus or rickshaw :-), accommodations are generally sought in a nearby hotel or motel. Recently, however, more North Americans have discovered the value and comfort afforded by staying in a privately owned home.
This may leave you wondering how different the experience of renting a vacation home will be from staying at a hotel? And how this industry is regulated? And you may need more convincing on choosing a home vs. a hotel for your vacation. After all, time is precious especially vacation time and the last thing you want to do is ruin your vacation! This article will attempt to address these issues for the vacationer new to private rental home accommodations. It may also be of use to rental home veterans and investors considering purchasing a vacation rental home.
Here in the Orlando area, vacation rental homes are regulated both by the State of Florida and the counties. The counties that allow permits for Orlando vacation home rentals currently include Lake, Polk and Osceola. These are three of the four counties that border the Disney property. Orange County has not made these permits available yet, perhaps preferring to send their visitors to the hotels in the county.
Because the greatest demand from vacationers is close proximity to Disney, most of the homes for rent are indeed within several miles of the Disney property. If you look at a map (below), you can see how our rental homes rented by our property management company OurFloridaConcierge.com surround the Disney compound.
To make a Disney area home available to rent for vacationers, the homeowner needs to apply for a Florida State hotel license and a county hotel license. The homeowner then needs to pay State sales tax and County tourist tax on the gross rental for each booking. Currently the combined State and local taxes are 11% for Lake, 12% for Polk, and 13% for Osceola county properties. Many owners leave this chore to the property manager if they are using one.
Speaking of property managers, since most Orlando vacation home owners are not local, most of the rental homes are indeed maintained by a property manager. The property manager ensures that the homes under their purview are well maintained and suitable for family vacations. This includes maintaining the pool, the lawn, the interior and the infrastructure. Some property managers do all of the work themselves, and some outsource all or parts of it to specialty vendors.
So how do you find the perfect Orlando vacation rental home? (After all, by some estimates there are 15,000 homes in the area to choose from!) Many folks choose to rent directly from the owners using websites such as VRBO, Home Away and Craigslist. Others chose to rent from the management companies directly. Renting from the owner directly may be a little cheaper as the owner has the prerogative to change prices at will. Renting from the management company may save you time and will certainly provide you a wider selection of properties available during your desired vacation dates.
When you first arrive at your Orlando vacation rental home, expect a home much like your own, although hopefully cleaner since most of us don’t hire a maid every week! The normal kitchen appliances will be provided, as will linens and towels. Most Disney area vacation rental homes follow the “self-catering” concept brought to us by the Europeans. This mean the house is “clean” without extras such as laundry soap, dish soap, paper towels, etc. left behind. This usually isn’t much of a burden as most families head to the grocery store upon their arrival.
While we are on the subject of groceries, food costs are one of the key economic drivers of renting a vacation home vs. staying in a hotel. With access to a full kitchen, families that stay at vacation homes can save a bundle by not having to dine out for every meal. They can also avoid the long lines at the local restaurants, especially during peak times.
Ah, peak times! Another sequel! Peak vacation times in the Disney area are the weeks before and after Christmas and the weeks before and after Easter. Various weeks during the winter are also peak (syncing up with the college and secondary winter and spring breaks in the U.S. and Canada), and summer is always busy since the North American kids have summer break.
Hopefully this article answered some of your basic questions regarding booking an Orlando vacation rental home. For more information, head to the OurFloridaConcierge website and please let us know if you have any questions!
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