Do Your Homework Before Renting a Villa in Italy

In this excerpt from Dream of Italy’s Special Report: Villa Rentals, villa rental experts share their tips for selecting the villa of your dreams –

Use the Web to do some detective work. Search for the name of the property you are interested in (as well as the town where it is located) on the Internet. You might be able to find out if the owner rents the property on his/her own. If it is significantly cheaper elsewhere, ask the agency, “why?” If it is only $50 cheaper, go with the agency. That’s not a big difference and you get the protection of the agency. –Pauline Kenny,

Be aware that rental rates for many properties vary from 10 to 15 percent depending on the fee each agency charges. The reason is that most properties are not represented exclusively by one agency. The property may have different names in different agency catalogs. –Patricia Absher, Great Travels

Be sure the agent (or owner) is willing to give you the reference of someone who has actually stayed at the place you’re considering. The owner/agent should be willing to have you call that person to find out about both it and the agency. –Daniel Morneau, Vacanza Bella

If you are traveling in warm weather, do not focus exclusively on the inside of the house so much in making your choice. You will spend a great deal of time outside of your house for meals and relaxation, as do most Italians. –Alice Tetelman, Italian Vacation Villas