Monday, August 10, 2009

VRBO: An Expat Entry Strategy

For those of us who like a little nibble before we commit to an expensive entrée, think of VRBO as a big ol´ tapas bar. The ungainly acronym stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner, a website that serves up more than 120,000 properties. Mostly it lists short-term vacation rentals, but there are also some great condos, chalets, and cottages for a month or longer—so you can taste-test calamari all over the world before settling in with your favorite.

Why does VRBO excite me? Well first, because that tapas analogy has got me thinking about happy hour, but also because generates enough rental income to pay the mortgage on my and Rick’s investment property in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Unlike a lot of travel-related websites that seem about as substantial as a sliver of carpaccio, this one has been around for more than 10 years and has lots of depth. The rental agency we use in Rehoboth takes 15% off the top to “market” and manage the property, but it’s VRBO that brings in 90% of the rentals.

Another reason you want to check out is because it’s like the menu at a TGI Fridays. Photos! Detailed descriptions! Prices! Everything you need to feed the wanderlust. Here’s a little taste...the value-conscious-but-adorable oceanfront cottages Rick and I will soon be renting in Bonaire (for just a week, sadly). How cute are they??

For longer-term assignations, how about a $700/month 2 bedroom 2 bath in the beach town of Manta, Ecuador? Or, for loftier tastes, maybe a penthouse in Rome for the paltry sum of $8,500/month.

History hound? Then consider this sharp one bedroom in Buenos Aires overlooking the famous La Recoleta cemetery, eternal home of Eva Peron. A little steep at $2200 a month, but when you consider what you pay now on a mortgage, utilities, maintenance, mulch; well, Evita’s neighborhood starts to sound a little less pie-in-the-sky.

Oh, and here’s something else: it’s not too far from a tapas place called Museo del Jamon. That’s “Museum of Ham” to you and me.

What more enticement could anyone need?


Anonymous said...

Nancy, I love your comment, "...think of VRBO as a big ol' tapas bar." I just passed this on to our CEO and COO.

I returned Sunday night from an incredible VRBO property (223227) on the beach in San Pedro, Belize where we did six dives, including the Blue Hole (with Ecologic Divers).

Take care and keep enjoying the VRBO experience!


Nancy said...

Hi Marvin and welcome! I'm glad you liked the post; personally I'm now completely consumed by the thought of tapas...

Looks like a great VRBO spot in Belize. We'll be passing through there on a cruise in November and looking forward to getting reacquainted with the Blue Hole ourselves!

Thanks for commenting!