A service for finicky vacation home renters

Courtesy iStopOver.com
An iStopOver.com San Francisco property

For anyone who has ever rented a vacation home property before, you know just how many questions and demands can crop up given the wide range of the type and quality of vacation apartments and homes for rent out there.

And if you're renting just a room for a short stay, or a shared home —which the website iStopOver.com allows fiscal travelers to search for—you're bound to have even more specific concerns.

For those with experience, you know that it's not just about how many bedrooms, the price, or whether the property is pet-friendly, but about everything from what kind of cooking utensils are stocked in the kitchen to whether you can have friends over for dinner.

What if you could list all your oh-so-specific demands and have property owners bid on your business?

IStopOver.com is claiming that its new tool "Wise Ask!" allows renters to do just that.

"There are no restrictions on what you can ask for, no matter how quirky the request or preference," said Anthony Lipschitz, CEO and co-founder of iStopOver.com.

According to the Toronto-based iStopOver, the Wisk Ask! function allows users to enter requests as specific as Kosher food in the fridge, a PlayStation 3 in the living room or a five-pound bag of Purina dog food in the pantry.

The request goes out to all property hosts in the desired city or region, who can then respond with an offer.

It is currently available in 15 cities, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and several cities in New Zealand in the lead-up to the Rugby World Cup in September. In each of those locations, iStopOver.com has between 50 and 200 properties in its inventory.

Renters pay a fee of between 12 and 15 percent of the total cost of the rental, which according to Lipschitz still comes in below most hotel prices in the cities on offer with many of iStopOver.com's rooms and rentals costing below $100 per night.

The site launched almost two years ago when Lipschitz said he noticed that there were property owners with "a lot of excess space" that could use help paying for their mortgage. And conversely, it offers travelers more affordable alternatives to pricey hotels.

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