Renting OR Renting Out

It should not be surprising that the rental scene in Delaware beach towns has become more high-profile over the years as the area gains in popularity and visibility on a national level. In general, this applies both to those seeking vacation getaways and those who want to offer them. AND there are plenty of retirees in both camps.  

When hurricane Sandy hit the New Jersey shore in 2012, summer vacationers from that state suddenly discovered the benefits of the Delaware shoreline. (And may have opened the floodgates for the surge towards our coastal communities!)  Rehoboth Beach is probably the most well-known of the coastal towns thanks to the Chamber of Commerce’s aggressive promotion and the free presidential publicity. However, the attractive and thriving Delaware beach town rental market extends far beyond RB from Fenwick Island toward the south and Lewes to the north. Here’s a bit of a Beginner’s Primer on the rental landscape. 

In general, rentals can be divided into several categories all of which apply to whether one is looking for a rental or if one has a rental property to market. These include:

  • Short-term rentals (a few days to a couple of weeks),
  • Seasonal rentals (typically the high-profile summer months),
  • the Interim rentals (folks looking for a place to live while they build their new homes, and
  • Annual rentals.  

Rental veterans on both side of the aisle know that most bookings take place in January or February. While that window for this coming summer just closed, experts like Sharon Palmer, a 30-year vacation rental veteran with ReMax knows the marketplace enough to address untimely listings. Born in Milford, she grew up in this area unlike many other realtors who are transplant from elsewhere.  

“It’s never too late to find a beach rental as new properties come and go all the time,” Palmer says. “It may not be a renter’s first choice but we do everything we can (to accommodate).’” Palmer agrees that the January/February timeframe offers the most options for rental property owners and those looking to rent.  “Returning tenants come back every year have made their decision and deposit is in place”, she says. Like most realtors, Palmer’s company uses their traditional booking system plus recent popular booking systems to showcase offerings.  

“The rental market has become very complex. We are integrated with many partners such as Home Away and Vacation Rentals by owner”, she explains “This has caused an explosion in the rental market and sales departments. [What’s more,] we are an easy drive from many major metropolitan areas.” 

And she has more to say about the newer technology-driven options.  

“Vrbo, Airbnb, are all fantastic platforms for all of us in the rental business to advertise our properties.” She adds. “They have opened up a whole new world for people who never knew they could rent someone’s home”. This benefits both renters and those who want to rent their properties.  

Sharon Palmer, Expert Realtor for Renting or Renting Out

What should the criteria be for finding the “right agent”?  

For both rental property owners and renters, “the best advice is work with an agent who can help you navigate the [whole] process” with a working understanding of the range of options and platforms curently available, says Palmer.  

She noted that seasonal properties in Rehoboth Beach are difficult to find this year because many of the original Rehoboth seasonal homes have been torn down and replaced with new and bigger homes that make owners a lot more money renting on a weekly basis.  

An added tip for people who might need temporary housing while building a new home in the area. Palmer suggests that you tailor your timeframe with winter in mind whenever possible, as the winter rates are low and most “seasonal properties” are available for 6-8 months.  

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Ophrah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

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