WRD Cottage Rental Agency
Newsletter


wrd cottage rental agency representing over 170 privately owned cottages available for rent weekly in the summer and shorter periods in the fall, winter and spring in the haliburton highlands, muskoka and kawartha regions in central ontario canada.

Everything you need to know about cottage rental and a whole lot more !!!

Heron on Halls Lake in the Haliburton Highlands So here we are again, and everyone is chomping at the bit to experience some warmer weather and to start planning for another summer vacation. Undoubtedly, some of you are going to do what you do every year and that is to rent a cottage in Central Ontario. On the other hand there are many of you who have never rented a cottage before but who are giving cottage rental some serious consideration. Hopefully if you decide on renting a cottage you will be renting your cottage through WRD but whoever you rent from, we are sure you will have a great time at the cottage ..... or will you? As a rental agency, we have been arranging cottage vacations for 21 years and as such we can say that you can rent what appears to be the most beautiful cottage there is, but if you are not prepared for what to expect in cottage country, your experience may be less than anticipated. For example, if you have grown up in the city with all of the city conveniences, you may find cottage life rather difficult unless you prepare in advance for this new cottage experience. And this is what this newsletter is all about. We want your cottage experience to be all that it can be. So don't be afraid to ask any question you want about cottage rental.
Simply send an e-mail with your question to bill@ontariocottagerental.com and you will receive an answer back or your question will be answered in the next update of the WRD Cottage Rental Newsletter.

Question : Where is the best place to rent a cottage in Ontario?
Answer :
There is no best place to rent. Those who normally stay in the Muskokas think that the Muskokas are best and those who rent cottages in the Haliburton Highlands think that there is no other place in Ontario like the Highlands. Both of these areas will get an argument from people who have cottages in the Ottawa Valley. The bottom line is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. All of these areas and a whole lot more have wonderful cottages for every pocketbook. I think a key consideration most renters have is how far they are willing to
Cottage on 12 Mile Lake in the Haliburton Highlands.
travel to get to their cottage. A 2 1/2 hour drive seems to be the limit of most renters. And if you have kids like mine when they were very young, I didn't ..reach the end of the driveway before they started asking, "are we there yet?"
Crystal Lake at sundown
Question : What is the best way to find a rental cottage?
Answer: We may be a bit biased but as a cottage rental agency, we know that we work hard to match our clients needs to one of our cottages. However, there are a multitude of rental agencies on the internet so beware. Choose an agency which rents cottages and nothing else. Make sure that the agency operates out of the area where their cottages are located. Many of these new agencies operate off shore and have little or no knowledge about the area where the cottage is located. Pick an agency which has been in the business for at least 5 years and who are able to answer in depth questions about their cottages. Ask the agency where their office is and ask directions to their office. If they seem to operate out of their home, be careful, they could be here today and gone tomorrow.
One last observation, I can say to you that if I was looking for a rental

cottage today, I would not rent a cottage directly from the cottage owner. Every summer we see or hear horror stories about people who have rented from owners, have paid their money only to find out that the cottage is nothing like described or pictured on the internet. I really feel sorry for these people and when these folks come to us, we try hard to salvage their vacations and find them a cottage which their family will enjoy. Don't get me wrong, not all owners of cottages operate this way but if you don't know the owner, how are you to know for sure.

Question: "Why is cottage rental so popular, when should I start looking for a cottage and how much can I expect to spend for a good cottage?"
Answer:
The popularity of cottage rental is pure economics. For example, our average executive cottage rents for $2830 per week. That may sound like a lot but if you consider that the average executive cottage sleeps 9.5 people, this means that the average executive cottage ends up costing $42.55 per person per night. Where else can you stay in this world for less than $43 a night and on a lake with absolute privacy. Cottage
Canning Lake Sunset
rental is so popular because it's a great deal, simple as that. If you don't believe me, figure out what your last family vacation to Cuba or Cancun Mexico cost you per person, per night. Scary isn't it.
With regards to when you should start looking for a cottage, this is also tied to the popularity of cottage rental. Since we started this business 21 years ago, people are reserving their cottages earlier and earlier every year. Therefore you should start to look in early January for your summer rental cottage. It seems that as soon as New Years is out of the way, everybody starts getting real serious about their summer vacation plans.
As far as what you can expect to pay for a nice cottage, let's say you have a family of 5 and the grand parents will be joining you and if you were to pay $35 per person per night for a week, it would cost you just over $1700 for your accommodation. I suggest that you have a look on this web site at our cottages priced around $1700 that will sleep 7 and I think you will agree that they are really nice.

Question - What do we need to bring to the cottage ?
Answer :
Just about everything you will need for a great vacation is supplied. The only things you will have to bring are your own sheets, pillow cases, towels and face cloth's and life jackets. The reason we ask you to supply your own life jackets is because it would be almost impossible for the owner of the cottage to supply all the different sizes of life jackets that would be needed by your group and all the other groups that will rent the cottage. A life jacket is a very personal thing and as such, you and your children should be fitted for the right size life jacket to ensure your safety and that of your children. In addition to the above, you will need to bring your own food and drink and personal hygiene items. However, there are large food stores in the villages so don't think that you will need to bring all your food from home. The same is true for beer, wine and liquor.

Question - When listing my cottage with a rental agency, why are some rental agencies so cheap.
Answer:
As the owner of a cottage, you have to be careful when listing your cottage. The primary reason for listing your cottage with a rental agency is to have the rental of your cottage done professionally by a company who will handle the rental process from beginning to end. You can list your cottage very inexpensively with some companies but as you will find, you will end up doing all the work. This is why these rental companies are so inexpensive. Some of these companies even operate outside of Canada so it is obvious that they never visit the cottages they list on their web sites which means that they are trusting the cottage owner to supply pictures and information which truly represent the property. WRD visits all of their cottages and are able to answer most questions aboout their listed cottages. We had a couple of folks in our offices recently who said that the pictures of the cottage they decided to rent were very old and did not represent the cottage as it existed when they arrived for their vacation. So if you are planning to rent out your cottage and you want an agency to handle the rental, look for a full service agency which means that the agency will handle the rental from beginning to end. Here is a list of tasks a full service agency should perform on a regular basis ...

1) The agency should respond quickly to all inquiries to rent your cottage.
2) All contracts with the renter should be handled by the agency.
2B) The agency should screen the potential renter's booking application to ensure accuracy of the information and that this renter/cottage match is a good fit for all concerned.
3) Once the booking application is approved, all money transfers should be handled by the agency including down payment, final payment and security deposit and the agency should accept payment by all major credit cards.
4) While the renter is in residence in the cottage, all problems, if any, should be handled by the agency.
5) After the renter leaves the cottage at the end of their vacation, the agency should ensure that the cottage and property is ready for the next renter.
6) A quality agency will survey the client to ensure that they enjoyed their vacation and should ask for suggestions to make the stay at this particular cottage even better than they experienced.
If the above tasks are performed professionally, you can see why full service agencies charge what they do for these services. Each and every rental of a cottage from WRD goes through a 26 step process to ensure the satisfaction of the WRD client. Cottage rental is more complex than people think if it is done right. It requires professionalism, dedication and a staff who are conscientious and responsive to the needs of the owner and renters alike.


Question: I have visited a lot of cottage rental web sites and it becomes very confusing when evaluating value for my rental dollar.
How do I know that the rental rate on a particular cottage is fair?

Answer: This is a very good question !!! I think that a lot of it is determined by the rental agency and the amount of experience the agency has in cottage rental. In the case of WRD Cottage Rental, we put all of our cottages through a process whereby we take all the emotion out of the pricing process by evaluating what a cottage has to offer in the form of amenities, extras, how many renters can stay in the cottage, what the shoreline is like, what exposure the cottage has, does the cottage allow pets, does the cottage have
satellite and internet capabilities, is there a hot tub or sauna, how far from the nearest town and what kind of watercraft is there at the cottage etc., etc. By the time a cottage appears on our web site, we have a very good idea as to what that cottage is worth and that the cottage has gone through a professional evaluation and scrutiny to determine the rental rate. In the final analysis, there is no such thing as the perfect cottage and we take all negatives and all positives into account when pricing a cottage.

Question: We recently received a question as to why there is a limit on the number of renters in a cottage.
Answer: There are a number of reasons but the primary reason is because when the cottage was built, the contractors installed a septic system which was big enough to handle the number of bedrooms or the number of people who would be in the cottage at any one time. Lets say that the cottage septic system is sized or designed to handle 8 people. Unlike your residence back in the city, all waste which goes in the toilets, sinks, bath tubs, washing machines and dishwashers goes to the septic system and therefore will stay on the cottage property while being processed by that septic system. As with any other system, there is a limit as to how much waste a septic can handle and it is determined by how many toilet flushes there have been, how many baths and showers have been taken, how many loads of wash have been done in the washing machine and how many loads of dishes have been washed in the dishwasher. As a renter at this cottage, you can do certain things to limit the possible problems with the septic by not flushing the toilet after every use, spacing out the baths and showers taken, not using the dishwasher when only half full and by doing only one load of clothes washing per day. Believe us when we say that you do not want septic problems during your vacation because more likely than not, you will have to move to another cottage if one is available. In addition, it is absolutely important that nothing is put down the toilet other than human waste - no sanitary napkins, no grease, no cloth material of any kind and no children's toys of any kind. The reason is that all waste is pumped from the cottage to the septic system and anything like the afore mentioned products will get stuck in the pumping system resulting in the pump needing to be serviced and maybe replaced. I must say as a cottage rental agency, we do not take kindly to a group who exceeds the number of people in their group as stated on the rental contract for the above reasons. Your cooperation in this matter is vital and indeed appreciated.

Question: What is the true difference between rental agencies ie: WRD Cottage Rental and Airbnb and Home Away etc; etc. ?
Answer: I am so happy you have asked this question because there is much confusion when it comes to deciding on a rental agency. I think that the number one criteria should be who provides the best information needed for a potential renter to make an informed decision when evaluating one cottage versus another.

Basically, there are 3 major groups of companies who offer cottages to rent.

1)There is the full service agency which is what WRD Cottage Rental Agency is all about.
2)There is the large platform advertiser such as Airbnb, Home Away and Canada Stays for example.
3) And thirdly there is the newspaper advertiser such as Kijiji who are in the business as an inexpensive alternative for cottage owners who are cutting corners to advertise their cottages.
The differences between the three are like night and day !!!

In the case of WRD Cottage Rental, we visit each and every cottage on our website. We photograph it, we design the web page and we interview both the owner of the cottage and all potential renters before renting out the cottage. We are the authority when it comes to knowing about our product. We are true property managers.

In the case of Airbnb, I don't know where to start to explain about Airbnb. Some people think they are wonderful and yet almost daily the bad press on the internet about Airbnb is almost staggering. Let me begin by saying that all companies who rent out cottages are in the business to make money. First of all, to my knowledge Airbnb has no physical presence in Canada. In other words, all information about cottages on their website comes from the cottage owners. Secondly, these large platform marketers have thousands of listings and they only care about money and consequently they do not vet their renters before they arrive at a cottage. The only question they ask of a potential renter is if they have an active credit card. To us here at WRD, this is a real risky approach to cottage rental.

With regards to Kijiji, I can speak from personal experience. This past summer, a family came to our office in Haliburton pleading for help. Apparently they had rented a cottage through the newspaper and they paid for the cottage via an electronic transfer of funds prior to arrival. When they arrived at the cottage there were already people in the cottage and the cottage itself was nothing like described in the newspaper. Not only was their vacation ruined but they were out a fair amount of cash. So renters beware. There is some good news however !!! We were able to find them a nice cottage for their vacation but the lesson they learned was a tough one indeed.
 

Have a question about cottage rental? E-mail it to bill@ontariocottagerental.com
Watch this page for updates and additions !!!