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Finding your property

As you look through these pages you'll see dozens of tempting properties. Unless  you have incredibly precise requirements, there should be plenty that look ideal for your holiday.

When you're booking a property directly with the owner, that's who your contract is with, so you should make sure exactly what is on offer and that it's what you want.

You should have a definate idea of the number of people in your party Finding the perfect propertyand be sure that all your special requirements are to be met - that there's a ground floor bedroom, that the dog's allowed in all the rooms, that a cot is available, that there's a pub or shop nearby - your needs are all important if you're going to have a good holiday.

If you are looking for a activity holiday, make sure that the facilities that you require are available - E Mail the owners and ask questions about the golf ranges, riding stables, fishing or other activities. This should be easy - the owners know their properties and the area they're in far better than most High Street travel agents.

Ask about the property facilities i.e is there an extra charge for pool heating, or clean linen. Are logs provided for a fire in  a log cabin?  Is the property cleaned during your stay?  Finally, you may have specific requests regarding children, pets,  or wheelchair access.

If an owner does not wish to accommodate children or pets, the relevant listing will stress this wish. Many owners welcome children and pets, provided certain rules are followed This is very definitely a matter to be settled between you and the owner - for different people clearly have different ideas of acceptable behaviour among children and pets.

So before you book, talk to the owner in detail about the children in your party or your pets. Ask about the garden. Is it enclosed - are you worried about kids or dogs wandering off unheeded? Are there other dogs in the vicinity which might cause a problem? Consider the noise that dogs and children can make. And be prepared to clean up after your pets - they can prove a nuisance to others who have allergies or who are easily offended.

If you want an independent view of the property, and assurance that the owners conduct their letting business in a straightforward, customer-friendly way, don't be afraid to ask for the names and telephone numbers of previous holidaymakers. Anyone with a pleasant, well run property will have lots of glowing thank-you letters from satisfied customers.

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