Frequently Asked Questions
What major Credit Cards do you accept ?
Visa & Master Card.
What is a Vacation Rental?
Essentially a vacation rental is very similar to a long term lease that a person or family contracts when moving into a property. Thanks to the North Carolina Vacation Rental Act there are a few differences but the main principles remain the same. Vacation Rentals are VERY different from Hotels, Motels, and Resort stays. Vacation Rentals are essentially a real estate transaction and are regulated by the Real Estate Commission. Your Rental confirmation is a legal contract between you and the property owner and becomes binding upon signing it or making a payment on it. We cannot bend the rules of the contract for any reason.
Who owns the property?
Vacation Rentals are owned by private individuals, just like you, who have made their properties available to Vacationers through an Agent, like us. When you reserve your property, the property owner takes the property off of the market for your dates of stay, and can not rent it to anyone else for those dates, even though the next customer may desire the same property and dates. Many property owners rent their properties short term during the spring, summer, and fall; and long term during the winter months.
Can I cancel my reservation?
Yes and No. You can cancel your reservation, however you will not get a refund, and any balances are still due, unless the property is rerented under the same terms as your contract. See the contract for cancellation fees and nonrefundable fees in such an event. After all, the property owner did take the property off the market for you and may not be able to re-rent it. If you have purchased the Travel Insurance, and the reason for canceling your reservation is covered by the insurance, then the insurance company will refund your payments. Please make sure you are happy with the property you reserve and the dates before confirming your reservation.
If I don't like the property when I get there, will you move me to a different one?
We want you to enjoy your stay as much as possible; however we are not able to move you to another property, or make any refunds or discounts, if you are dissatisfied due to your contract with that particular property. Again, please try to preview the property before entering into the contract.
How accurate are your reservationists representations?
Our reservationists try to become familiar with all of our properties, however it is impossible for them to remember every detail about each property and they may get them confused from time to time. Unlike a hotel or resort, every one of our properties is different. The reservationists will make mistakes and we cannot be responsible for these impossible details. If you have specific needs or expectations for your rental property, please try to preview it or have a friend preview it for you. Keep in mind that for the most part, you get what you pay for when comparing similar size, location, and priced properties.
What are the different charges on my contract?
The rent is obviously the money the property owner is charging for your stay. The security deposit is a refundable deposit from which charges for damages during your stay, if any, are deducted. The Insurance fee is the cost of the trip interruption insurance if you desire to purchase it. The cost of the insurance varies based the cost of the reservation and the time of year for your stay. If you do not desire the insurance, please cross it out on your contract, initial the contract in the spot provided, and deduct that amount from your first payment. Other Charges include the reservation fee, and may include pet fees, early bird check-in fees, late check-out fees, and a small portion (1/2%) of the state sales tax. The reservation fee is charged to cover the cost of procuring, processing, and accounting for your reservation along with mailing and printing expenses, etc. Taxes in our area vary based on the location of the property and the time of year. Some of it is state tax and some is local tax.
Tell me about the payments.
Payments that are received 30 days or more prior to arrival can be made in the form of personal check, cashiers check, money order, or credit card (Visa, MasterCard). payments received 30 days or less to the arrival date can not be by personal check, Sorry. Credit Cards will be run for payments immediately upon receiving them. There will a convenience fee charged for phone payments. The Advance Payment must be received within 14 days of making the reservation or the reservation will be cancelled. The Balance Payment must be received 30 days prior to the arrival date or the reservation will be cancelled in accordance with the cancellation policy. If you prefer, you can make the full payment with the Advance Payment if think you might forget to make the Balance Payment. With all payments, please arrange for all funds to come from the person's name in which the reservation is held to avoid any confusion on who the funds should be credited to.
What is Trip Interruption Insurance?
A pamphlet was included with your contract fully explaining the terms of this insurance and what it covers. This insurance is provided by CSA, please call them with any questions. Please be sure to carefully consider this insurance in order to prevent loss of any payments for an event that may have been covered by this policy. Please note that insurance cannot be purchased after you have paid the reservation in full and is not refundable once accepted. Click here for more information regarding Trip Interruption Insurance.
What time can I check-in?
Standard Check-In time is 4:00 pm or later on the day of your arrival. Due to the complexity, size, and locations of our properties, our staff needs every minute to prepare the property for your stay. Please do not interfere with their work or pressure our staff to allow you entry before your check-in time. For your own security and to avoid trespassing charges, do not go onto the property until you have received your check-in packet. Please do not do any grocery shopping until you have received your keys to avoid spoiled food. Rarely, check-in time may need to be extended beyond 4:00 for repairs, damages, or extra cleaning from the previous tenant.
If you desire to check-in before this time, we offer a Early Bird Check-In. With this service you can get a guaranteed check-in at 1:00 pm. The cost for this service is $50.00 plus tax and is non-refundable after it is paid. Only a limited number of early bird check-ins are available and are given out on a first come, first serve basis.
What if I can't check-in until after your offices close?
If you can't get here before our offices close, late check-in, be sure to notify us ahead of time so we make other arrangements. If you are not paid in full, a late check-in will not be possible.
What time is check-out?
The standard check-out time is 10:00 am promptly, on the day of your departure. If you desire a later check out we now offer a Late Check Out service. With this service you can check out as late as 12:00 pm (noon) and the cost of this service is $50.00 plus tax. Only a limited number of these late check-outs are available so inquire early. PLEASE NOTE that if you have not departed the property by 10:00 am, and have not arranged for late check-out, the $50.00 fee will be charged to you and you still need to leave immediately.
What is the Helpful Information on my contract?
The helpful information box on your contract includes several key pieces of information; the phone number for the property, bed sizes, checkin location, and other relevant information.
What do you mean by maximum occupancy?
This is the maximum number of people that can be on the property at any given time. Children 4 years of age and older are counted. This has become a very important point in recent years for several reasons. Local, State, and National health regulations, building codes, and other laws are becoming stricter. Furthermore the property owners are very concerned about wear and tear in their properties and do not look favorably upon extra bodies bouncing around. Unfortunately, exceeding the Maximum Occupancy at any time, with either overnight guests or day guests will result in eviction without refund. Plan a large enough (occupancy) property for all guests. Also note that maximum occupancy may mean that some of the sleeping spaces are sleeper sofas, cots, lofts overlooking or attached to living spaces, or other sleeping arrangements you may not normally find in a regular residential property.
Where do I check in?
Your Rental Contract should state which of our offices you will be checking in at. Either our Surf City office or Sneads Ferry office should be noted. If your contract does not specify a Check-In office, please call us.
What should I do upon checking in?
After picking up your check-in packet and arriving at the property, take a moment to read the information in your check-in packet. Then make an inspection of the property and note any damages, needed repairs, etc on the Damage Sheet included in your check-in packet and drop it off at our office within 24 hours of checking in to avoid damage charges to your account. If the property has not been cleaned properly, call our offices immediately upon checking in. Leave a message if necessary. A cleaning company will be dispatched as soon as possible. We will not be able to send a cleaning company if the problem is not immediately reported within 24 hours.
What should I do upon checking out?
There will be information included in your check-in packet for check-out procedures.
What do I need to bring?
Most of our properties now provide Bed and Bath Linens for your convenience. Check your confirmation to ensure that your property provides Linens for your stay. You will need paper products (toilet paper, napkins, garbage bags, dish towels, paper towels, etc.), soaps and detergents, beach supplies, minimal cleaning supplies, and any specialty items you may desire during your stay. Several local grocery stores are located either on the island or just off the island. Extra Linens and other rental items such as Baby Items, Beach Gear, and other items can be ordered direct from our Vacation Specialists. CENTURY 21 Action, Inc. uses Sweet Dreams Linens for top quality linens, baby equipment, and beach gear rentals. www.sweetdreamslinen.com
What is provided?
Each of our properties are individually furnished and equipped by the property owner. However, all of our properties feature standard items: color TV's, pillows, comforters or bedspreads, microwaves, coffee makers, pots and pans, dishes, utensils, and glassware. Air Conditioning, extra TV's, VCR's, telephones, porch and deck furniture, grills, games, and other equipment are furnished as a courtesy by each property owner and are not guaranteed to be at a property or functioning. Refunds will not be given due to breakdown of these courtesy items. Most properties have telephones that allow free local calling. All long distance calls will need to be collect, calling card, or by mobile phone. We cannot guarantee a functioning phone for local calls and encourage you to check with your mobile phone company to ensure service in our area. Please note that some of the Condo Complexes require a phone deposit at their front desk.
I have special needs or a medical condition.
We will be glad to help you with any special needs you may require during your stay, but we urge you to plan ahead and keep the following in mind. We can not guarantee telephone use, number of stairs at a property, air conditioning, type or location of beach accesses or other representations. Again, please plan for any situation.
Will the property have window screens?
It may or may not. Some property owners have intentionally taken the screens off the windows and doors because they want them left shut for one or more reasons; they do not want the corrosive salt air in their property to rust appliances and fixtures, some renters tend to leave the windows open and run the air conditioning at the same time, and because they have been damaged and are continually damaged due to the weather on the coast. For the reasons above we can not guarantee that your property will have functioning screens on the windows and doors. Thank you for your understanding.
Are there bugs at the beach?
Bugs are a common occurrence in any rural, beach community. Our properties have exterminating contracts, but the bugs don't know that and they will still come into the property from time to time. Please keep the following in mind; 1. It is not unusual to see bugs in properties in a rural beach environment, 2. Dead bugs mean that the extermination is working and nothing further can be done, 3. Bugs may take from 1 minute to 12 hours to die after they have entered an exterminated property. 4. In some instances, it can be difficult or impossible to completely eradicate the problem. Please call us if you have an on-going problem and we will send an exterminator out as soon as they can get there.
Grills & fireplaces.
There are several very important things to keep in mind about grills & fireplaces; 1. Grills are not permitted on decks. 2. If the property offered a grill and/or fireplace as an amenity, please keep in mind that it is not guaranteed to be there nor functioning. Our harsh corrosive environment is extremely hard on these items. 3. As the renter, you are responsible cleaning of these items. 4. As the renter you are also responsible for any fuel for the grill or fireplace and please make sure it is the correct type of fuel. Gas, coal, lighter fluid, or wood is not provided.
Family groups welcome.
All rental units are for family-groups only. No teen or college groups are allowed, even when chaperoned. Should a group misrepresent themselves, or in the opinion of CENTURY 21 Action, Inc. the guest(s) are detrimental to the property, they will be required to vacate the property without refund. No house parties by any group will be permitted at any time.
If you plan to bring a pet, please be sure the property accepts pets and notify our office while making your reservation. Failure to do so will result in eviction. A non-refundable pet fee will be required for each pet, $150.00 plus tax per pet. Some pet properties restrict the number of pets. Non-Pet Properties do not allow pets to be kept outside. Leash and pooper scooper laws are enforced in our area.
Will I be disturbed during my stay?
During your stay it may be necessary for repairs, exterminating, or other service providers to enter the property. We will attempt to notify you ahead of time. Entry is required for property preservation for you, future tenants, and the owner, and can not be held off, denied, or rescheduled. We regret any inconveniences this may cause but we promise to keep them to a minimum. Emergency messages will be delivered to you as we receive them.
Rental properties will sometimes be listed for sale through out the year. Please be aware that it may be necessary for agents to arrange showings for qualified buyers during your stay. We appreciate your cooperation. If you are interested in a property of your own, please call our sales office at 328-2511 or 800-760-4150.
What is the security deposit for?
It's a deposit we collect, at the request of the property owner for their peace of mind, to cover actual expenses for damages, broken items, repairs, stolen property, & other bills caused by tenants during their stays, outside of normal wear and tear. The security deposit amount is NOT the limit of a tenant's liability, they are responsible for all costs, even if they exceed the security deposit. Most of the time it is not necessary to withhold ANY funds from a security deposit but there are instances where a child my have broken something, someone may have spilled on the carpet, or a person caused a problem due to neglect or ignorance. If you prefer, you may purchase the Security Deposit Waiver Plan in lieu of paying the security deposit. Please see the Description of Coverage for additional information.
When will the security deposit be returned?
The security deposit will be put in the mail to you within 45 days after your departure. Please allow a few days for postal delivery. It will be in the form of a company check from one of our escrow accounts. We are not able to refund the security deposit to your credit card. If there are deductions from the funds, we will account for them with actual bills from third party vendors.
What is the beach like?
Topsail Island beaches are some of the most beautiful, clean beaches you will find. Gathering shells and other treasures is always a good way to spend some time on Topsail. Shore birds and other wildlife are here for your viewing.
Like all beaches, we never know what the beach will be like from one day to the next. It's a natural process that changes from one day to the next according to mother nature. Some days the waves may be lapping at the foot of the beach access during high tide, other times the waves may be breaking several hundred feet away. One thing's for sure, it's always awe-inspiring and beautiful.
To answer some commonly asked questions about the beach: fires are not permitted on the beach at any time, leash laws are enforced by the police, driving on the beach requires a special permit and is not allowed all times of the year or in all areas (contact the 3 island town halls for more information).
During your stay you may have the opportunity to witness a loggerhead turtle laying eggs, or a nest hatching. For these reasons, we ask that you leave oceanfront, outdoor lights turned off at night as they disorientate the turtles.
Be sure to use designated beach accesses during your stay and stay off the beach's sand dunes. Hefty fines are given by local authorities for disturbing the dunes in any way, and for any reason.
Is there Internet access?
In our area we have local dial up numbers for AOL out of Wilmington. Please check with your internet provider for local dial up numbers for other providers. Please keep in mind that we can not guarantee, nor control phone line connections.
How many cars can we bring?
Parking varies greatly between each property. Planning for the least possible number of vehicles is strongly recommended. Most of the condo complexes limit parking to two (2) vehicles per property. Many of our homes only accommodate parking for a few vehicles as well.
Can I smoke outside at a non-smoking property?
Smoking is permitted on decks, balconies, and other outside areas at non-smoking properties. Please be sure not to permit any smoking inside a no-smoking property as the high cost of smoke removal and any lost rentals will be the renter's responsibility.
Can you bend your policies for my reservation?
Because we are a real estate company (like all North Carolina Vacation Rental Property Managers), and your reservation is a real estate transaction; we are bound by state laws, our contracts with the property owners, and our lease with you. As much as we might like to bend the rules, we cannot for these reasons. When comparing a vacation rental to a hotel or motel, you get a lot more for your money with a vacation rental, but there are unbreakable rules and policies that come with it. For these reasons, please be sure to fully read, and understand this brochure and your contract.
Things beyond our control:
Our staff works very hard to make sure your stay is happy and comfortable. However, there are things that are out of our control, just as there are things out of your control at your home. Please understand that there will be no refunds or discounts offered or expected for such things. Examples of these types of things that are out of our control include: breakdown of air conditioners, TV's VCR's, electronics and appliances, construction nearby, presence of bugs in a treated home, beach accesses unusable due to acts of nature, a home not decorated to your tastes, bad weather (including hurricanes), noisy neighbors, or beach access location. We will do everything we can to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, but please keep in mind that Topsail is remotely located and does not have all the features or conveniences of a larger city.