10 Tips for Choosing a Rental Cottage for a Great Waterfront
By: Joyce Shannahan
You’ve been looking forward to your waterfront vacation for months. Now it’s time to start planning and rent a vacation cottage for your use. Selecting the best cottage can be the difference between a great vacation and one where you feel like you are ‘doing without’.
Many vacationers consider the cottage as ‘just somewhere to stay’ since most of your time will be spent on the water, or enjoying local attractions. Don’t make that mistake. There is no reason to settle for less when, with a little planning, you can find a great cottage that you’ll enjoy as much as the other parts of your vacation.
Remember, your vacation cottage is where you’ll be sleeping, waking up, having many of your meals, and resting.
If it rains or is unseasonably hot outside, you may end up stretched out reading a book to while away the day – assuming there is a comfortable sofa. And when you meet new friends, you’ll want someplace nice for entertaining. Shouldn’t your vacation cottage be a pleasant get-away with the amenities that make vacations a real treat?
Here are a few tips to for selecting the perfect waterfront vacation cottage rental:
1.The single most important factor is whether or not you can “see” actual recent photos of the interior and exterior of the vacation cottage rental. It’s one thing to read a great description – and some of them are quite ‘complimentary’ (sometimes overly so) - but you need to see what you are getting.
With the Internet, a website is the quickest most convenient way for you to get information on prospective cottage rentals. If there are no pictures, you’ll know right away to keep looking. Brochures, books and guides are nice, but may have out-dated information.
2.List the amenities that are important to you, the ones without which you will feel incomplete. Next, jot down those that are nice to have, but not deal-breakers if not available.
With these lists as a guide, you’ll be able to quickly eliminate those cottages that won’t meet your needs. Your list might include proximity to the water, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type kitchen (full versus fridge and microwave), outdoor amenities such as decks and BBQ grills, boats or other water toys, and other items important to you.
On your secondary list, you might have things like a hammock for lazing about, or an herb garden for gourmet meals.
3.List the activities that you want to be able to enjoy while on vacation.
This will help you in selecting a general location (city, state). You also need to consider how close you want your vacation cottage to be to these attractions.
Some people feel that a great vacation is being able to walk or bicycle everywhere. Others don’t mind a short drive, and still others think nothing of getting on a freeway to enjoy attractions.
If you prefer a vacation without the hassles of traffic, parking problems, crowds and long lines, select a cottage such as Heartsworth Cottage, located in the quaint waterfront town of Onancock, Virginia. Visit http://www.onancockcottage.com to learn more.
4.Identify your first, second and third choice of dates for renting the cottage.
With several dates, you’ll save time when making arrangements.
If you find a cottage that you really want and you have some flexibility in scheduling, having alternate dates ready allows you to book right then, saving yourself the time and hassle of having to re-check everyone’s schedule and call back – and risking losing those dates in the interim.
5.Call the telephone numbers for the vacation cottages that seem to meet your needs and speak directly with either the owners or the person who is handling the property.
Be prepared with a list of questions. This allows you to compare apples to apples, and keeps you from forgetting something important during the conversation.
It also gives you a feel for the person who will be your contact should you rent the cottage and then encounter a problem. If you don’t get a warm, friendly welcome to your inquiries, don’t expect anything different when you call with a problem.
6.Ask what amenities are included.
You may learn of something that’s not on your list but is perfect for your plans.
Other things to consider: Is there a welcome basket? Will the owner stock the refrigerator for you, before your arrival? Is a newspaper delivered? Can you make arrangements to receive mail? Are there plates, utensils, pots, pans and other essentials for eating and meal preparation – or will you have to bring your own?
7.Inquire about restaurants, events and activities and other forms of local entertainment that are close by, perhaps within walking distance. Here’s where your list of preferred activities comes in handy. You should be able to find links to local attractions, calendars and restaurants on the website of your vacation cottage rental.
8.Are the owners Local? Do they live nearby?
Local owners are a wealth of information about the area and can give you tips on great out-of-the-way places that aren’t in the guidebooks. They also care about your enjoyment and comfort while at their cottage.
This can make a huge difference; especially should something need immediate attention in the cottage. There’s nothing worse than calling the rental company about a stopped-up toilet and getting somebody’s bored teenager who’s manning the phones for the summer.
9.How long has the owner been renting vacation cottages?
If the owner has worked with rental properties, they know what tenants expect and how to get things done.
If this is a new venture, beware. The owner may be in it for “fun” and have no idea how to prepare the cottage so that you can have a great vacation.
10.And last, when you look at the pictures, can you see yourself having a great time there?
If the pictures make you want to go right now, and the answers to the questions above meet your satisfaction, you’ve found yourself a cottage for a great waterfront vacation rental!
About the Author
Joyce Shannahan and husband Duke have been in real estate for many years. They are gourmet cooks, great hosts and know how to make guests feel welcome. Heartsworth Cottage, their waterfront vacation cottage rental in the waterfront town of Onancock, Virginia, is on the water with dock, tri-level deck, gas grill, and is filled with the comforts of home, including a bountiful welcome basket with wine. Visit them at http://www.onancockcottage.com