A holiday home is still a ‘home’. Entrusting our personal possessions and carefully chosen soft furnishings, fixtures and fittings requires a certain amount of faith. It is however possible to let your holiday pad to likeminded people in a safe and structured manner, whilst also making some extra money to cover your running costs. Jo Goodson, founder of exclusive second home network www.anyfriendofours.com has some advice for first timers:
- Remove sentimental or overly personal items from the property or lock them away. However careful you are about vetting your guests, accidents do happen and it isn’t worth the heartache.
- Check everything is working properly from appliances to the parasol in the garden.
- Keep the decor neutral and accentuate with colourful accessories. Choose easy to clean carpets or flooring and opt for quality, durable furniture – flat pack won’t last 5 minutes.
- If you don’t live nearby, or your property is abroad, bear in mind that you will need to pay for cleaning and gardening help locally to keep the property in check between rentals.
- Make sure your home is properly insured – your policy needs to cover commercial holiday lettings if you plan to let it out, not just family use. You may also want to consider installing an alarm to give you extra security during empty periods.
- When you’re preparing your home for paying guests put yourself in their shoes; what do you look for when you go away? A happy guest means repeat custom or recommendations.
- Think about your market – if you’re targeting couples think coffee machines, Wi-Fi and wine coolers. If your market is families, make sure you have a travel cot and other child friendly equipment.
- Keep the neighbours on side. Let them know you intend to let out your property and they could be your eyes and ears in future, or help out with key holding.
- Become a virtual travel guide. You are the experts on the local area. Leave information, tips and advice about where to visit, eat and drink from a ‘locals’ perspective. Not everyone wants to explore on holiday but many will appreciate your insight.
- Ask for feedback. This is useful for future guests to read but also gives you helpful market research to tweak your offer for future guests.
- Do your research. Look at the kinds of properties listed on the sites you plan to use to advertise. Are they targeting a similar market to yours, is the audience right?
A holiday home isn’t always a clear cut investment. For many second homeowners, myself included, some extra income is valuable but there is no desire to book out the property 48 weeks a year. The key is finding the right balance for you – for some, restricting use to family members works fine. For others extending the reach a little further can be beneficial financially, even if just in terms of covering some of the hard costs of ownership.
This article was provided courtesy of Jo Goodson from www.anyfriendofours.com