A landlord this week is looking for a better way to lease his short-term rental than using the big online services like Airbnb and VBRO. Each week veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi answers questions from other landlords and property managers around the country about their rentals.

Dear Landlord Hank,

I have a vacation property and I am honestly not a big fan of Homeaway (VBRO). I used to pay an annual listing fee of $349, now it is $399. And, they charge my customers a booking fee of eight percent to 12 percent. It is nice to have it automated but they take one-fourth to one-third of your earnings. I heard a local Realtor might give me a better deal than VBRO or Airbnb is that true?

-Landlord Erik

Dear Landlord Erik,

If you can find a real estate agent that specializes in rentals, then you should be able to save money on fees and make more money on your rental.

A knowledgeable agent will know what the market rate should be for your place and try to get as many months for you, at that rate, as possible.

I’ve seen some rentals on VRBO advertised, in some cases, below market rent or above market rent.

Also, using a local contact, your rental should also get far more exposure than just one web site.

Hopefully your rental agent will have his/her own site, can advertise on MLS and also many other web sites.

Plus a local agent should have local maintenance people that he knows to reduce your costs in keeping your property in tip-top shape.

Don’t go by rates charged by rental companies-they are all pretty close. Try to get some referrals from people in the business-other Realtors. They’ll know who to call if they need a rental for a client coming to town.

Good luck!

See some of Hank’s recent posts here:

Dear Landlord Hank:  How Do You Handle Tenant Roommates And Guests?

Landlord Hank: Why I Love Being A Property Manager And Landlord

Dear Landlord Hank: Should I Give A Tenant More Time To Pay?

About the author Landlord Hank:

“I started in real estate as a child watching my father take care of our family rentals- maintenance, tenant relations, etc , in small town Ohio. As I grew, I was occasionally Dad’s assistant. In the mid-90s I decided to get into the rental business on my own, as a sideline. In 2001, I retired from my profession and only managed my own investments, for the next 10 years. Six years ago, my sister, working as a rental agent/property manager in Sarasota, Florida convinced me to try the Florida lifestyle. I gave it a try and never looked back. A few years ago we started our own real estate brokerage. We focus on property management and leasing. I continue to manage my real estate portfolio here in Florida and Atlanta. “ Visit Hank’s website here.