Tips before you rent a vacation home

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The summer months are officially here. Before you rent a summer house for vacation, 22News is working for you with tips to protect your money.

Vacationers ready to spend money are sometimes a target and consumer experts want to make sure you don’t have your money and your vacation stolen from you.

As the temperatures heat up, you may be ready to plan your getaway, but before you do, consumer experts say it pays to do your homework.

“It has happened locally and I suspect it will continue if consumers aren’t savvy,” said Springfield consumer expert Milagros Johnson.

Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation wants to remind you to be careful as you book vacation rentals. Fraudulent listings are becoming more common, and people in western mass have fallen victim.

Johnson says there are simple things you can do to avoid getting duped. “You can check the registry of deeds in that city or town, you can also do a Google earth map search and look at the property and make sure it is what it’s supposed to be. There’s several things you can do.”

Experts suggest using a realtor or other reputable agent to help you weed out the good from the bad.

“If you have an issue, certainly you have us to work with that preferred provider to resolve any issues that may occur. With us you wouldn’t have an issue with showing up and realizing someone actually lives here year-round which are some of the scams you hear of,” said Sandra Marsian, AAA Pioneer Valley.

Whenever possible, experts also suggest you personally inspect the property. Or as friends of Feeding Hills’ Shelley Choquette have done, get to know the people you’re renting from.

“They work directly with the family, they rent their home and the family rents theirs so they really get a chance to know the people so it’s a much more secure kind of thing.

Additional tips from the Office of Consumer Affairs: Get everything in writing and don’t pay any money until you’ve carefully read the rental agreement.

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