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Stay Awhile: Our Handy Guide to Palm Desert's vacation rentals
With a variety of accommodations ranging from luxurious hotels and resorts to upscale RV parks, there’s no shortage of ways that a visitor can experience a stay in Palm Desert. For those people who are really looking to get away from it all, staying in a home, condo or casita in Palm Desert is a viable option to consider as well. With an abundance of properties available to rent, Palm Desert can accommodate individuals looking for either a short getaway or a long-term stay.
So how do you go about finding the perfect rental property? It’s going to take some research of one kind or another. The obvious answer is to start with an online search, but you can still pick up the phone and make a call to rental agents and property managers.
All the major online rental services, including VRBO, FlipKey and Airbnb, represent properties in Palm Desert and the surrounding Coachella Valley cities. A longtime presence in the rental market, VRBO appears to have the lion’s share of the market right now so they may be as logical a spot to start as any. Flipkey has benefited from its association with TripAdvisor and their connections with travelers who appreciate reviews on attractions and accommodations. Airbnb has matured from its origins with the couch-surfing crowd, but may still have some ground to make up with the luxury resort market. One way that Airbnb is doing that is by making it easier for owners to submit their taxes (charged for short-term stays) to local government, so watch for more listings to migrate to this site as owners take advantage of the added convenience.
In addition to those major national players, the Palm Desert rental market is served by a large number of local offices. Individual country clubs may have an onsite office that handles sales and rentals alike for their locale, while many of the area’s real estate offices and property management firms also handle rentals. Talking to these local experts can save a lot of time and energy, as they can quickly steer you in the direction of rentals that will meet your needs.
Regardless of whether you’re conducting your search online or working directly with an agent, it helps to identify what you really want and need from a Palm Desert vacation. In addition to the usual search criteria filters (such as number of bedrooms, price, pet friendliness), consider questions such as is it important to you to be on a golf course? Would you prefer to be within walking distance to shopping or dining? Be sure to check the list of features and amenities listed for a particular property. Who knows…the presence (or absence) of a hairdryer may be the deal-clincher or deal-breaker.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list and identified what’s important, you may want to consider a scouting party if you’re unfamiliar with the Palm Desert region. A short reconnaissance mission is a small price to pay especially if you’re considering an upcoming stay of a month or more. Contact owners and agents to try to arrange a viewing in advance. If that isn’t possible, scout out the neighborhood at least, to get a look and feel for the area.
Some gated communities can be difficult to access, but going to open houses on the weekends is a smart way to get into those developments even if you’re not in the market to buy. Search for Open Houses online on the California Desert Association of Realtors website, or by picking up the Saturday edition of the Desert Sun newspaper, which will contain all the real estate ads in a special section.
If it’s not possible to preview a rental in person, be sure to do all your due diligence online. Look for verified listings as well as listings with several good reviews. Property descriptions should be accompanied by good quality photos that provide a clear picture of what to expect. Check for an updated calendar of available rental dates, which will indicate that the owner or manager is keeping information current. The owner or representative should also be very responsive to messages. Renting directly from owners or their agents does involve a fair amount of trust. If anything causes you lose trust, move on.
Lastly, it should go without saying not to wait too long! The late winter and early spring months of February and March book up early, oftentimes several months in advance. Thanks to the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals, April weekends can be difficult to book as well, especially properties near one of the festival shuttle bus stops.
Fortunately, there’s lots of inventory out there, and in all likelihood the perfect vacation rental is out there for you as well. To start your search for companies and online services handling rentals in Palm Desert, check out our complete list online, or print out the handy PDF version. For any other questions about your upcoming vacation in our area, feel free to contact Palm Desert Visitor Services at 800-873-2428. We look forward to welcoming you to Palm Desert!