Renting out your house as a holiday home – give it a try

Lana Gower
renting 300x225 Renting out your house as a holiday home   give it a try

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When my husband and I began investing in property, our original intention was to do it like everyone else and be long-term let landlords. But we wanted more from our investment and were led to pursue the idea of offering our properties as short-term holiday rentals instead. Why choose this path? The answer is simple: Better financial rewards.

Most of our homes are in the North Greenwich area where the average weekly rent for a one-bedroom property of the standard we offer is between £250-£300 per week. If we charge as little as £100 per night to a traveller, this means I only have to ensure that the apartment is full three nights per week to make the equivalent income. On paper, I could make more than double what I would renting out long-term. This would require filling the apartment every night (which is unlikely) but it certainly offers greater opportunity if you are willing to put the effort in to market your property effectively.

Renting out short-term isn’t for everyone. You have to work harder to ensure that your properties remain full, regular maintenance and repairs are a must to cover up scuffs and breakage – and every so often you may encounter something worse such as theft. If you are the type of landlord who likes things to remain pristine at all times or can’t abide the thought of stains and paint scuffs, then renting out short-term is not for you.

One of the nicest parts of being a short-term landlord is meeting so many people from around the world. We have made close friendships with many of the holidaymakers who have stayed with us and look forward to every guest arrival. It’s a great job if you are a social person – not so good if you don’t have a sense of what hospitality is all about. Remember, people staying in your properties are here on holiday. Many have saved up for long periods to afford their stay. This could be their only vacation of the year. You have a responsibility to ensure that they have a good time and don’t leave disappointed. Always greet them with a smile on your face. And if you ever feel that you start to dread the next check-in, then it’s time to switch to long-term letting where you might just see your tenant once a year.

There are a number of ‘musts’ that I always say to anyone considering a switch to short-term rentals. A few of the key ones include:

*Make sure you know the legal issues involved in renting out property short-term in your area. Things can vary town-to-town. Double check with your council what is permitted and what isn’t when it comes to renting out short-term before you commit.

*Insurance is a must and there are providers that specialise in insurance products for short-term holiday-let properties. Be sure to take out a policy.

*Always charge a deposit for every guest entering your property. Just as long-let tenants have to pay first- and last-month’s rent, you should collect a cash amount on check-in. This will help pay for any damage or theft (if any) that occurs during a stay. You need to be fair though – charge too much and you won’t secure any tenants, charge too little and you may find yourself out-of-pocket when faced with an unscrupulous guest.

*You will need the ability to conduct check-ins, key exchanges and check-outs every time a guest stays in your property. Flexibility is key along with good time-keeping. This is not a job for someone who works full-time as people need to arrive to begin their holiday at different times during the day – and after a long-haul flight, you can’t expect them to wait until it’s convenient for you.

*Adjust your price to reflect tourism trends. Keep a record of when important trade fairs or festivals are coming to your area and increase the price – but don’t price gouge! Everyone said the Olympics would be an economic boom for apartment rentals when the reality was actually quite different.

*Know how to market your property. We use a free service such as HouseTrip to attract guests as we would never have the kind of marketing funds to reach a wide range of customers without it.

My best advice? It’s easy to try it out. As the websites to market your property are free to use, it doesn’t cost much to dip your toe into the holiday rentals market.

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  • Alice Overton

    “Always greet them with a smile on your face.” lol. As you fleece them of their hard earned cash.

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