Vacation Rental

Back in Georgia

We’re back where we started this month.  In Georgia.  In Acworth to be exact.  We’re staying in one of the cabins by Lake Alatoona again.  We spent a week here a little over a year ago.  We’re staying a month this time.

There aren’t many rentals in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia, so we’re pretty limited on where we can stay here.  The majority of the rentals that are here are incredibly overpriced in our opinion, and not worth breaking our budget for.

We had to make a Walmart run last night and became extremely aware of the fact that we’re back among the suburban zombies.  Everyplace was busy.  Roads that used to be slow country roads are now mini highways.  Very few people would look at us or speak.  We seem to be invisible here.

On the brighter side, it is nice to be someplace where we know the lay of the land better.    That way, if we have to escape from the zombies at least know the roads.

Categories: Georgia, travel, Vacation Rental | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Do you have to do yard work?

Time for another answer to a reader question.  Do we have to do yard work, etc?

The short answer is Nooooooooooo!  Since every house we stay in is meant to be a short term stay, the home owner has the responsibility for exterior home maintenance.

We do clean up after our dogs and pick up trash that may blow into the yard.  Anything further than that falls to the owner to do or hire to be done.  Honestly, I wouldn’t mind doing some outside work at some of the houses, but we’re can’t travel with lawn equipment and such items are not usually available at the houses.

Most of the home owners have hired a lawn maintenance company to do the work.  The rest do it themselves.  If there’s a fairly simple outside repair that can be done without spending money, we’ll do it ourselves if there is no monetary cost.

There you go.  Another question answered.

Brodie

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We answer some questions

  
Yesterday, Brodie asked if anyone had questions about the way we live. We have already received some great feedback. I would like to answer one from Jane. Here’s the question:

I have found your blog really useful as my husband and I have been considering doing the same thing in Canada, with the occasional dip into US. Most of my iterest is in how you decide where to locate yourself and where and how you select properties etc. Are there things you miss not having a stable home. We love the idea of doing all this but it is quite a scary thing to embark on as once we do it there is no going back. I doubt we could get back into home ownership market, or at least not to the level we have at the moment. But the thought of travelling and being free of all the things ownership entails is very tempting. Thanks.

How do we decide on locations?

We travel within my sales territory. Some of our location choices are based on work events in that month. Some are chosen due to projects that I have in the area. And sometimes, we are just interested in seeing a new area of the country. Of course, sometimes we choose a place because there is little available in other areas due to seasonal demand and prices.

As far as finding homes that are available, I rely mostly on VRBO.com. I have used FlipKey and airBnB a couple of times but not often. I look for single family homes that are dog friendly and have a King size bed. Those are the top 3 qualifiers that we have. The rest are just preferences. I ALWAYS speak to the owner by phone. There is no replacement for an actual conversation with another human. You DO NOT want to feel like you’re not welcome in the home you’re in which you’re staying!!!

Are there things we miss about not having a stable home?

This one is hard. I would first say that homeownership is no longer very stable. The investment of a home just isn’t a sure thing anymore. But, I would assume that you’re asking about lifestyle more than financial security.

I would say that the things I miss are kind of silly. I miss the couches that we chose and were comfortable to us. We never know how comfy a couch or bed will be in each house. But, we just don’t really care, now, because we know we’ll only be there for a month.

We do miss friends but we still see them. When we see them now, the time spent together is more valuable and cherished. Plus, they come to visit us in some pretty amazing places.

“If we do this, there’s no going back.” (This is my favorite part of this question)

This is a lie! Or as I like to say, “This is the devil.” You can always go back. What you are living now is the norm. You may feel like you could not recreate it but deep down, I know that you know that’s not true. Sure, it may be a different home with different furnishings but, you can always go back to homeownership. Plus, with all of the money you save living like a nomad, you could probably buy your next home with cash.

I promise you, the unforeseen challenges that you fear the most will turn out to be non-issues. I can say this because we had the same thoughts and fears. We just had to remind ourselves that we can change our mind and buy a home again at anytime.

Thanks for your questions, Jane! Feel free to reach out to us anytime.

-Jodi

Categories: Vacation Rental | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

What would you like to know?

We’ve been talking lately about our blog and the fact that we need to post more.  Here’s the problem, what do we write about?

We’ve been living in vacation homes and moving once a month for over a year now and the whole process has just become routine to us.  We’re still learning all of the time, but we don’t think about what someone would want to know about our lifestyle.

So, we have a favor to ask.  What would you like to know?  What are you curious about or what doesn’t make sense?  When we started living this way, it was all guess work.  We have made many adjustments along the way to get to where we are now and we really want to share our ideas and discoveries with others.  IMG_0121

 

Categories: Adventure, Moving, Vacation Rental | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Too expensive in Metro Atlanta

Jodi has been looking for quite a while to find a vacation or short term rental in the Metro Atlanta area.  If we could stay in the area for a short time we could see our daughter and friends, visit our old church, go to our storage unit, etc.

Up until now everything Jodi could find was a stupid amount of expensive and not a good fit for two people traveling with a small trailer and dogs.  Last night Jodi decided to try Air bnb to see if she could find any better results.

It looks like Air bnb may be the answer we’ve been looking for.  For unknown reasons more people, at least in the Atlanta area, are listing their rentals on this site more than any others.  Who knows, maybe they just did better marketing in Georgia.

So, hopefully we’ll hear back from one of the owners today and we can go home again for a month or so.

Brodie

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“Oh, it’s like that Tiny House show!”

  
No! The way we live is NOTHING like those Tiny House dwellers! I had never heard of this show until we began this crazy gypsy lifestyle. But, I bet at least 50% of the people we talk to mention the Tiny House movement.

There is no way I’d live in a 200 sq ft house. This doesn’t even sound fun and I’m a fan of camping. But that’s what living in a 200 sq ft house would be; camping! No! No! No!

Oh, and the price!! What? $30k+!!! No! No! No! 

Yes, they have chosen to live an alternative American Dream, like us. I think it’s good for all of us to downsize every now and then. It truly is amazing what you can live without.

You go, Tiny House livers! But I like to have separate rooms.

Just setting things straight…

-Jodi

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Some lessons learned:

If I were to ask you to define a perfect vacation home, how would you answer?

What if you would be in that home for 4-6 weeks with 2 dogs?

But what if you weren’t living out of suitcases and everything you own is along for the ride, as well?

That’s a hard question to answer until you’ve had a chance to give it a try. We are now 8 months into this new way of living and these are a few things we look for:

  
King Size Bed:

We have two dogs that sleep with us. We cannot do Queen size beds! It just doesn’t work. No sleep is had by the humans.

  
Single Level Homes:

Sometimes this is a challenge but I try my best to find homes with the least amount of stairs. When I see a two story home, I see the house above. Imagine carrying all of your belongings up several flights of stairs for a month’s stay. Blech! Just NO!

  
Must be a House:

While there are many beautiful apartments, condos, and townhomes, I only book homes. We have dogs and it’s just easier. Plus, the Beagle is a screamer. He just can’t help himself!

  
Close Proximity to Airport:

I still have to fly for work, sometimes. With our new lifestyle, I fly much less but it’s still necessary from time to time and I refuse to drive two hours to an airport.

  
Washer and Dryer:

Because DUH!
-Jodi

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3 Reasons to avoid carpet in a vacation rental

Jodi and I have stayed in several vacation rentals now.  Some have had hard surface flooring and some carpet.

In the ones with carpet there are always stains of some sort unless the carpet is brand new.  The stains are not always from messy renters.  Sometimes they are from normal foot traffic.

The house we’re currently renting for the month of may has light beige carpet in almost every space.  We’re finding that no matter how hard we try, we’re still need to spot clean the carpet.  These spots are not from dogs having accidents, they’re from normal traffic.

Take today for example.  I walked out, walked back in and didn’t realize that I had stepped in a small amount of mud somewhere.  (Yes it was mud, I tasted it to make sure.)  We travel with a spot bot, so no big deal.  I cleaned it and all is back to normal.  But a normal vacationing family is most likely not traveling with a carpet cleaner.

Hard surface floors are most likely more expensive initially than carpet.  But I would be willing to bet that in the long run they would be cheaper overall and last longer.

Brodie

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Perdito/Pensacola, FL Vacation Home Review

  

We just finished up a month long stay on Perdito Bay in Pensacola, FL. We really enjoyed this 3BR/2BA home with views of the bay. 

  

The house sits on a large property and offers a secluded and safe place for dogs to run and play.

  

The kitchen is bright and open to the living area. This layout is perfect for a large family or group of friends.the kitchen is fully equipped and has an awesome chef’s gas range. this home has all hard surface flooring which makes it great for beach living.

  

  

Do you like porches? Well, you have your choice of water view out the front or a screened in porch in the back.

  

Table for 4 in addition to the kitchen island which seats 6. Great flat screen TV with surround sound in the living room.

  

This isn’t a great picture but, you can see an additional seating area on the opposite end of the living room. This area is right inside the front door.

  

If the porches aren’t enough, you also have an all season room in the front of the house just off of the dining area.

  

The bathrooms are large and beautifully decorated. The master bath has a large walk-in shower.

  

This is the view of the bay down the driveway in the front of the house. There is also a dock but it was being repaired during our stay.

We really enjoyed this home and it’s proximity to Pensacola Beach, Perdito Key, Orange Beach, and Foley, AL. We Will absolutely return next year. Make sure to visit VRBO to rent this property: vrbo.com/423018

Tell Vicki that Brodie and Jodi referred you.

-Jodi

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Love notes for your vacation renters

As we’ve traveled from one vacation rental to another, there is at least one thing that’s been missing each time.  It’s operating instructions for the house.

Electronics of all types are common place in most homes now.  From the cable box to the remotes to thermostats that may be Transformers in disguise.  The controls are complex to say the least.  We’re actually pretty good with gadgets.  But, I don’t always want to have to learn how the house is engineered in order to function.

Most vacation renters are not staying in one place as we are and therefore they don’t want to waste vacation time trying to learn how to turn on the TV.  So, here are a few things that you as a vacation home owner can do to help your renters and garner that all important positive feedback.

1. Print out instructions for the T.V. remotes.  There is rarely just one remote for a T.V. system anymore.  Many have one for the T.V., one for the cable box, one for the sound, dvd player, etc.  That’s a lot of remotes!  I’m pretty tech savvy and I still find myself staring at the pile of remotes like a monkey with a laptop.

2. How do I run the sound?  I’ve noticed many owners like to put in a sound system of some sort.  That’s cool.  But, how do I turn it up or down?  You don’t have to explain every function.  Just let me know how to adjust the volume and turn it on.

3. How do I operate your fancy thermostat?  Thermostats are a whole new world.  Digital, programmable, save the whale settings and so forth.  Same as above, how do I make it do things?

4. It’s dark, please help me.  In the newer houses, this is what I see: groups of light switches on every wall and I have no clue what they do.  What we end up doing is flipping on a switch and then running around to see what happened.  Put a small label on them.  You’ll probably save on electricity and your renter will save time and frustration.

5. Should I just throw matches at the fireplace?  As I type this post I’m looking at a gas log fireplace in the living room.  I see no gas key, starter button or switch.  Do I just throw matches at it until something catches fire?

These are just a few items and I’m being kind of sarcastic just for humors sake.  Most of the above listed items are things that we figure out as we go.  But, I would be more annoyed if I only had one week of vacation time and a part of it was spent learning the engineering specs on your home electronics.

So, go get some paper and post it notes and make your rental user friendly.  Everybody will be happier.

English: Flight controllers in the space shutt...

English: Flight controllers in the space shuttle flight control room in the Mission Control Center at NASA’s Johnson Space Center watch the big screens during the landing of Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-128) at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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