MOUNTAIN LAKES VACATION RENTALS
10 Questions to ask before selecting a vacation rental home.
When you decide to rent a vacation home in the Lake Hartwell / Lake Keowee area we hope you will choose to rent from Mountain Lakes Vacation Rentals. Whether you choose to rent from us or someone else, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
1: Is the Agency or person reputable? Most that we know of in this area are reputable, but we all have heard stories of people listing houses on the internet, collecting advance rental money, and disappearing. If in doubt, check with the local Chambers of Commerce, Welcome Centers, and/or area businesses. Mountain Lakes is a licensed vacation rental agency and is a member of most local chambers.
2: What is the cancellation policy? Is it in writing?
A written cancellation policy should be a key factor in
determining where you rent. The Mountain Lakes cancellation policy is covered in
our "House Rules" and is repeated here.
"Reservation Fee: The price you were quoted and billed includes a reservation fee service charge of $55-$125 depending on the house selected. This fee is not a rental fee but is a separate charge for processing the reservation and is not refundable under any circumstances. In case of cancellation you may apply this fee to a new reservation within a year from the original.
CANCELLATION: If you cancel more than three weeks in advance you will receive a full refund less the reservation fee described above. If you cancel less than three weeks but before the day arrival is scheduled 1/2 of the total rental fee is forfeited in addition to the reservation fee. The day arrival is scheduled the entire amount becomes due and payable. If the house is re-rented you will receive credit for the pro-rated rent less the reservation fee."
3: Do I want to trust an unknown individual with my personal and Credit Card information? We are a professional Vacation Rental Management company licensed by the state of South Carolina. Your information is only on our internal computer and not maintained on any internet accessible server. We are not Real Estate Sales Agents and will not try to sell you a house, time share or anything else. Our business is Vacation Rentals. We concentrate on providing you the best vacation possible whether it is for a month, week, or weekend. You will not be inundated with phone calls, e-mails, or junk mail. You may receive an occasional letter or e-mail about what is going on in our area.
4: How can I be sure that what I see is what I get? Today with digital cameras, photo processing software and the internet a good photographer can make a shack look like a palace. Often, individuals with only one house to rent will go to extremes to make that house look like THE perfect vacation rental destination. For this reason all the descriptions and pictures you see on our web site must meet specific guidelines for fair representation and were written/taken or approved directly by us. We have over 70 houses available and we don't want your choice of house to be based on the skill of the photographer.
Don't have time to surf through all available houses? Talk to our staff, tell them what you want, and let them make suggestions. Our reservation agents are trained to listen to your needs and find you a home that suits you rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
If your schedule permits, you can make an appointment and we will show you up to three houses before you make a decision.
Even so, things can happen or your situation may change. Should you arrive at a home and find that it is not right for you for whatever reason, Mountain Lakes Vacation Rentals can arrange for you to move to another available home with no penalty charge. You only pay the price of the new house. Not only do we want you to rent from us, we want you to return year after year.
5: Stuff happens. What if the A/C, Plumbing or something else major goes out? We carefully inspect your rental prior to your arrival but things can go wrong and need repair. When they do, our staff is usually able to take care of things in a matter of hours. Sometimes we do need to call an outside service person. Since we manage so many houses, our service contractors generally place our requests at the top of their priority list. If, for some reason, we can not fix the problem in a reasonable period of time we will arrange for you to move to an equivalent or better house at the same price as your original house. If nothing satisfactory is available, we will promptly provide a refund.
6: Is there an emergency local point of contact? Our Lake Hartwell office is open 9-2 every day except Sunday. Our locally staffed answering service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Having a local contact with local knowledge helps provide safety and security not available from an individual owner who lives 100 miles away or just happens not to be available.
7: Can I save money by renting directly from an owner?
You might or you
might not. There are many reasons an owner may choose to manage their own vacation rental
instead of using a professional agency. Some of the more common are: 1) To be able to
refuse to rent to anyone for any reason, 2) The home does not meet agency
standards, or 3) To
make more money by not paying agency fees and/or local & state taxes.
Most equivalent vacation homes that are rented directly by their owner are priced the same or even slightly higher that they would be if they were being rented by an agency. The true vacation rental "deal" comes in getting what you pay for. Agencies will not overprice a house and will often be more economical. If you find a deal that looks to good to be true, it usually is.
Also be aware that the law requires you to pay a sales and accommodations tax whenever you rent any home for less than 90 days. This applies whether you are renting from an agency or an individual. The homeowner is responsible for making provisions for collecting the tax, but if they make no such provision you are still legally responsible for paying the tax. These taxes are used by state and local government to help us all by enhancing the area for those who vacation here. This often includes such projects as: building additional boat ramps, providing additional parks, sponsoring concerts and other special events plus other projects to improve your future vacation experience.
8: What if I need something special?
Our staff lives here all the time,
not just a few weekends a year. Feel free to ask us about the lakes,
restaurants, churches, real estate, local customs, or anything else. We also
have created several specialized maps and guides that you are furnished at check
in. Numerous other local maps and guides are available in our gift shop. Need a
Tee Time, a fishing guide or a reservation for White Water Rafting? We will be
glad to point you in the right direction or help you make the reservation.
Mountain Lakes also offers the following Special Services for our guests:
Available to loan: fishing tackle, tennis rackets, board games. Fishing boats, canoes, kayaks, skis, tubes, etc. are available to rent.
Parking: We have 10 acres behind our office available at no charge to our guests should you have more vehicles than can be accommodated at the house, or should you need to drop a trailer while you continue with your travels.
Meeting Services: We can arrange for tables, chairs, audio-visual equipment, catering and other services.
Business Center: High speed internet access, fax, computer, and a printer are available at our office free for our rental guests. If you need something shipped to you, our office is available as a ship to location
9: "If I rent directly from an owner and all is not right what can I do?" When you pay by credit card, you always have the option of challenging that charge. This applies whether you are renting from us or from an individual. However, most individuals do not accept credit cards and many spend their rental income as soon as they get it leaving them no funds to use for a refund. Not only does Mountain Lakes encourage payment by credit card, we maintain all funds in an "Escrow" account as required by law until the rental is completed.
10: Is the rental company easy to do business with? Our Lake Hartwell office is easy to find and is even somewhat of a local landmark. Stop by or call our toll free number (800-610-0020) during normal business hours to get more information or to make reservations. Or use the internet anytime to compare houses, check availability, or make a reservation with our on-line booking system. We accept any normal form of payment including most major credit cards. However you pay, you can be sure that your personal information will never be used for any improper purpose. Our Lake Hartwell office is open every day except Wednesday and Sunday. Feel free to call us anytime you have a question about the house or need help with local services.
PLEASE NOTE: Unless otherwise specified all the homes we represent have the following features:
Lake Front, Private Dock, Washer/Dryer, Central Heat & Air Conditioning, TV, Grill,
Microwave. Smoking is not permitted inside any of the houses (Unless otherwise specified)
Pets are not permitted on the premises except in certain houses and then only if specifically approved by Mountain Lakes. All homes are privately owned and used frequently by the owner, they are fully furnished and well equipped. Homes are rented primarily for summer family vacations but are available at any time of the year.
Ask about our FREE pontoon boat special.
ABOUT PRICES: Unlike many, the prices we quote include all fees and taxes. There are no other charges except Pet Fees if you bring a pet. A tip of $3 per bag is required if you leave trash for the maid to take.
W/E*** Prices quoted for a 3 night Weekend apply only when weekends are available (Generally no more than a month in advance)
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