Tips for Vacation Renters Purchasing Out-of-State - Article Banner

Buying things sight unseen is not as remarkable as it once was. In our digital economy and with our reliance on online retailers, we shop online for everything from dog food to dresses to dinner. Vacation properties are booked online, too, even from far away. It’s impossible to see a place for yourself if you’re planning to travel outside of where you live, so you have to rely on those online listings, video tours, and descriptions provided by owners. 

When you’re a vacation renter who is planning to purchase a trip from out of state, you need to know what kind of property you want to stay in. If you’ve decided not to stay in a hotel, it’s likely because you want a more personalized experience while you’re on vacation. You want more space and privacy than a hotel room can provide. Maybe you want to cook in the kitchen or relax in a backyard. 

Whatever your reasons and whatever you’re looking for, we have some useful tips that can help you feel good about it. At Anchor Down Real Estate & Rentals, we’ve been working with buyers and renters from out of state for years. We know how to help facilitate a smooth process that doesn’t result in frustration and disappointment. 

Here are some of our best tips for vacation renters who are coming into the Gulf Coast area from outside of Florida. If you’re feeling unsure about booking from so far away, this advice should help. 

Make Sure the Online Listing Tells You What You Need to Know 

Do you have all of the information you need to make an educated and smart purchase? Choosing where you stay when you’re on vacation is an emotional decision. Yes, it will depend on your budget and the number of people you’re traveling with and where exactly you want to be located, but ultimately, you’re making a decision that’s based on your emotional connection to the property you want. 

Before you get too caught up in the pleasure of scrolling through the photos, make sure all of the logistics work out for you, too. Check the price. Look for additional fees beyond the weekly or monthly rent. Double-check to make sure the availability matches the dates you need. 

If you have questions or need information that is not clearly shared in the listing, don’t hesitate to reach out to the owner or the management company renting it out. You’ll get a good idea about what kind of customer service you can expect based on the response time and the helpfulness that’s provided when you inquire. 

Look for Professionally Managed Properties 

Professionally managed vacation properties come with less risk. You won’t have to worry about dealing with dishonest owners or hard-selling landlords. A property management or vacation management company will understand the legalities around renting out vacation homes and they’ll take their role seriously. You can expect outstanding communication, efficient accounting, and generous customer service. 

If you have a concern or a complaint, property managers will likely do whatever they have to in an effort to make things right. If there’s a misunderstanding or something that doesn’t seem right to you, the professional manager will be willing and able to work through it and arrive at a mutually satisfying outcome. 

The professionalism provided by a property manager can be a relief to guests who arrive from out of state not knowing what to expect. 

Plenty of great homes are managed independently by the home’s owners. We aren’t saying that can’t work. Our advice to out-of-state vacationers is simply to help yourself navigate a market you probably don’t understand and definitely don’t have a lot of experience in. Leverage the knowledge, skills, and talents of local leaders so you can end up getting the property – and the vacation – of your dreams. 

Consider the Florida Climate and Hurricane Season 

If you’re coming to Florida for vacation but you don’t live here, the climate can be a bit of a surprise. Familiarize yourself with what the high and low temperatures are likely to be while you’re here and note how much rain can be expected. 

When you’re renting a vacation property from out of state, you may not realize just how hot and humid it can be in the summer. You may expect winters that are warm enough to swim and enjoy the beach every day, but it can get pretty cold in the winter months on Florida’s central Gulf Coast. You don’t want to pack for sun and hot weather and find yourselves shivering because it’s 40 degrees outside. We do get those 40-degree days. 

And let’s not forget hurricanes and tropical storms. Our season runs from June 1 to November 30. Before you buy a vacation getaway, make sure you understand cancellation policies and whether you’ll be refunded if there’s a hurricane. It might be difficult to get in or out of the state if we’re under emergency orders. If you happen to be here already when a hurricane approaches, you’ll want to decide quickly whether to evacuate or hunker down. If you do stay, you’ll want to have everything you need to weather the storm, including water and batteries and food and flashlights or candles. Does the property come equipped with that, or will you need to think of these things on your own? 

The geography, climate, and topography of Florida means that there will likely be bugs. It cannot be avoided. Even the cleanest, most pest-controlled property will see the occasional creepy crawler. It’s just a part of where we live. Prepare yourself for that before you book a vacation here. 

Get to Know the Listing Location 

Location is everything. 

You hear that a lot when talking about real estate. Booking a property from outside of the state can feel risky. You don’t really know what you’re getting, even with all of the photos and the detailed descriptions. 

Spend some time researching the neighborhood and the general area before you go ahead and book or buy. The listing will likely tell you a bit about where the property can be found. It might reference some attractions, a particular beach, or the home’s proximity to major roads and highways like Interstate 75. 

You’ll need to know where you’ll do your grocery shopping, whether there are any coffee shops within walking distance, and how the parking tends to shake out in and around the area. By understanding the location that surrounds the property, you can get an idea of whether it’s noisy at night or busy in the mornings. 

Location matters to vacation homes just as much as it does to full-time homes. Pay attention to where you’re staying so you’re not disappointed or displeased once you arrive. 

Pay Attention to Reviews and Testimonials 

When you’re deciding on a vacation property to rent or buy from out of state, you want to make sure you’re working with someone who is reputable. Online reviews will tell you what it’s Ike to work with the landlord or property manager who is renting out your next vacation home. 

Pay attention to what current and former guests have had to say about: 

  • Cleanliness
  • Wi-Fi and tech capacity
  • Amenities 
  • Outdoor space 
  • Whether the property was as described
  • Neighborhood features 

Check to make sure that there are positive reviews around communication as well. You don’t want to be waiting days for someone to return a phone call or a message. Responsiveness is important. 

These are just some of the tips we tend to share with vacation renters who are arriving here from outside of Florida. 

Find an Agency You Trust and Stick with Them

Managed PropertyWe talked about the importance of choosing a vacation property that’s professionally managed because it provides more protection for you, and it simply provides a better overall experience. 

An even better idea is to work directly with a vacation rental management company who can find you exactly the right home you’re looking for when you’re ready to travel. By partnering with one company that specializes in vacation rentals in the area you’re planning to visit, you can develop the type of relationship that helps you really leverage that professional’s understanding of the local market and home-hunting expertise. 

You’ll likely be able to negotiate a lower price, too, especially if your dates are flexible or if you’ve worked with the customer before. Establishing a relationship and asking for help before you even begin looking for your vacation home will give you a head start and save you a lot of time. Instead of scrolling through endless listings, your agent will send you specific properties based on your budget, expected dates, and particular needs. 

We love working with travelers who are seeking an exceptional vacation experience in Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, or the surrounding areas. Please don’t hesitate to contact us when you need help getting to know the area or finding the perfect place to stay. And, you can also enjoy discounted pricing when you book directly from us, at Anchor Down Real Estate & Rentals.