|Eleuthera Vacation Rental - Palmetto Point|
My wife and I have rented quite a few vacation rentals on Eleuthera as well as Harbour Island and a number of other islands throughout the Bahamas. We are hopeless Bahamas junkies.
I am a photographer and when I am shooting photos on a larger island like Eleuthera, I/we may rent upwards of 4 to 5 different vacation rentals in a period of weeks. This provides me with more immediate access to the various areas of Eleuthera.
But I promised my wife I was not going to talk about photography in this post (darn!) I am going to share some notes on what we learned from our experience renting vacation properties. We recently authored some advice on renting a vacation home on Eleuthera. This can be a real bargain when done right. Much of what we wrote is similar to what you might read elsewhere on the internet. We reconstituted and added points we think are more specific to Eleuthera rentals and renting vacation properties in general.
Our experiences with vacation rentals have ranged anywhere from excellent to near disaster. We have stayed at better than a few dozen homes and visited countless more. Once the bug of "vacation rental" bites, it can be addictive -- especially when the rental is right on the beach! They definitely have some advantages over staying at hotels or resorts on Eleuthera, albeit we stay at those too! We like some of the conveniences, privacy, ambiance and value that vacation homes can offer. The bonus is these vacation homes are in some very amazing locations. Check out our satellite map of Eleuthera rentals and see for yourself.
The focus here is on "value" and what that means. Amongst the pool of rentals throughout Eleuthera, Harbour Island and the Abacos, there are some real cherries to pick from. Many times, it starts with being able to find that unique person or couple who is renting their "vacation home" directly to you. Our definition of "vacation home" is a place where the homeowner lives or visits the house more than a couple of weeks out of the year. In a number of cases, the homeowners aren't necessarily looking to make money from the rental, rather they are looking to help pay down overhead, and perhaps one day, build up enough equity so they can enjoy the gains and benefits at retirement. What typically goes with this mindset is a reasonably maintained vacation home. It's a win-win for both parties.
For us, there are two elements to consider when evaluating vacation rentals: maintenance and cleanliness. "Maintenance" means the plumbing works, the electricity is on, there is running water, etc. We always like to know who fixes what around the rental and make sure we understand exactly what it is going to take to get their attention if the toilet backs up or the refrigerator shuts down. We know where they live, work, and their telephone numbers. Sometimes, we learn who their kids' are and what time they get up and go to bed. When you spend a pretty penny to enjoy a not-nearly-long-enough vacation in paradise, you don't want problems! Maintenance is not something we want to do. We leave that at home.
|Vacation Rental by Owner|
on Eleuthera Island
What happens when things aren't right? I'm a photographer. I take photos. If the place truly sucks, I take a lot of photos. I'm also prepared to email the photos to the owner while I'm still on the property if I think it is necessary. Nice to have the right email addresses with you in these events.
We are not afraid to ask for a partial refund if things are sincerely unreasonable and avoidable. Tell home owners right away. We may ask the them to pick up the tab for some extra cleaning. Pictures of vacation rentals in the right places speak a thousand words -- the only caption I have ever had to use is "look at this and tell me what you think." Nothing like having 3 pages of comments from various people saying "yuck" about a property photo on Trip Adviser. Having said that, please don't do this until you've made an earnest attempt to allow a homeowner make good. Saying nasty things about a property on TA or anywhere on the net really should be a last resort. Your exchange should be documented in fairness to you and the owner. It should go without saying, this is an island environment and it is a challenge to keep things running. Don't expect perfect.
While we talk about potential pitfalls with renting a vacation home on Eleuthera, we don't want to be a Debbie Downer either. If you do reasonable homework and you know who you are dealing with, you will likely have a most memorable vacation.
Now where did I leave that Goombay Smash?
©2012 Perry Joseph Photography
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