In February, after being purchased by Expedia, Home Away and VRBO started adding a service fee to all rentals. It adds 9% to the total of purchases of around $1000 and less. That's a pretty big fee, and it does not add any value to your rental. They claim they add guarantees, but its nothing but fear-mongering.
Worse, the very best homes are not at the top of the page. There are less experienced new owners trying to make a fast buck at the top of search results. Expedia can make even more money on the newcomer owners. Owners who don't like these changes are leaving the web-sites and using other places.
What you should do if you want to look at these websites, is go through all the listings, even the ones at the bottom of the last page. Look for lots of good reviews. Then see if you can find the home listed on another site, or find the owner's personal website. You can use Google to search the photos. Or when you search Google, don't just use the big listing sites, dig deep and look for the personal web-sites or some of the regional web-sites and avoid the fees.
The owners of these homes are really unhappy at the money grab by Expedia. And they will be really happy to rent to you directly.