What: Rent your vacation home — or a part of your own home

Commissions & Fees: 5%, plus 3% credit card transaction fees (annual fee of $499 is an option)

Husl $core: $$

Where: Worldwide


Before there was AirBnb, HomeAway and it’s affiliated companies, VRBO and VacationRentals.com, were the only games in town if you wanted to earn a little extra money renting out a vacation home — or a room in your own home to travelers on vacation. The services are similar in that both AirBnb and HomeAway allow you to list your rental and just pay a service fee when someone books. HomeAway, which lists you on all its affiliated sites, charges considerably more than AirBnb, however. The service fee is 5% (vs. AirBnb’s 3%), plus you pay the 3% transaction fee when your guests use a credit card. You also have the option of paying an annual subscription of $399 instead of the per-booking fees.

In addition to charging you more, HomeAway charges your customers more — a 4% to 9% “service fee” for the use of the platform. This whopping additional charge is likely to discourage cost-conscious consumers (i.e. everybody) from booking your unit. And, despite all these charges, HomeAway offers fewer benefits. For instance, AirBnb also covers your home with their insurance policy when it’s rented; HomeAway does not. (From the company’s terms and conditions: “Users are solely responsible for obtaining insurance coverage sufficient to protect their properties and guests or their trip, as applicable.  Members agree that they have or will obtain the appropriate insurance coverage sufficient to cover the rental of the properties they list on the Site before the arrival of their first traveler and will maintain adequate insurance coverage through the departure date of any traveler they have obtained via our Site. Further, members agree to provide us with copies of relevant proof of coverage upon request.”)

The higher fees, lack of insurance and some highly critical recent reviews caused HomeAway to fall in our Husl $core to $$ vs. Airbnb‘s $$$$$

What their homeowners say: 

“I am a home owner and am upset with HomeAway. A guest put in a question and a request, I conversed with the guest on his issues. Meanwhile I did not accept his request and  HomeAway just hid me from the website. I was not able to communicate with the guest and visa versa. I lost my rent By fortune my guest of next week contacted me to ask me what happened. After consulting HomeAway they explained that if we do not accept within 24 hours we are hidden from the website… but also for current HomeAway guest. Hoe confusing is that! I will add this inappropriate behavior of HomeAway in my contract but i find it unacceptable they change the policy without informing us.”

“I have rented my home through this company for 7 years. A year ago the problems started (read the reviews). It got worse and worse. As an attempt to maintain a venue for attracting renters, I succumbed to their demands, but it keeps getting WORSE!!! I don’t think they actually WANT the homeowners business. I don’t have a theory for their reasoning ?????!!!???? I have finally dropped them, but I have been monitoring, and for my small rental area, the number of homes available has dropped from 245 to 203 in just three months. So apparently other homeowners are as frustrated as I am. For Cape Cod and the islands, visit WENEEDAVACATION!!!! They are awesome. NO BS!!!”

“Simply said, VRBO, or Homeaway, and Vacation Rentals.com, want those they “use” (my home is worth several hundred thousand dollars) to pay for the subscription. There are certain parameters that penalize those, like me, who do not. Basically, if you do not pay for a subscription, they put you in the bottom of the search results. I used to get half my business from Homeaway/VRBO until they changed a while ago to a harsh unequal format, that makes Property Management companies their most important customer, meanwhile leaving me, a owner operating rental, scraping for attention on their site due to the algorithms they have set up to reward those who pay for the Subscription and punish those who do not.”

Try HomeAway