Tips for Home Owners

The quick guide to renting out your holiday home

  1. Make sure it’s tidy and the home looks nice! Don’t have your personal knick knacks lying around and stick to a neutral colour scheme.  Add some extras, such as a BBQ area, or sun loungers.
  2. Ensure your house is safe and all gas and electricity certificates are up to date.  You’ll need public liability insurance, to ensure that holidaymakers can’t blame you for any incidents in the home and ask you for a pay-out.
  3. The rental should be covered by a contract, which includes deposit/payment terms, cancellations, breakages and how to deal with complaints. Sample contracts can be found online, but it could be best to have them checked by a Solicitor.
  4. If you are not around for change over day, you can hire a local, or shop around for domestic cleaning companies. You can also ask for property management companies to take care of the weekly clean and inspection, but they will be more expensive. Make sure you negotiate! You also might need a Maintenance person to oversee your property if you do not live near the property.
  5. Make sure you are aware of the tax implications of having a second income from a holiday home. Keep all you receipts of your cleaning and maintenance costs to give to your Accountant.

 

Now you are ready to advertise

  1. Check out your competition and price your property right. Calculate how many weeks in the year you would like to rent out the property. Make sure you have off-peak and peak prices. It might also be good to have nightly rates, depending on your property and the time of the year. Make sure you state your rate and availability on your website as people will skip your advert if no prices are up! Make sure you state you would like a deposit up front, and any extra costs that can occur such as cleaning. Don’t give your renters any nasty surprises on arrival.
  2. Take good pictures to show a realistic view of the property, but no need to highlight the toilets! Just make sure the rooms look tidy and show the views of the home. Holidaymakers prefer to see what to expect rather than being disappointed on arrival. 
  3. Be very clear and concise in your advertisement, and look at how others have written their advert. You can say more than: nice views. Describe the views and why they are nice.

 

 

 

 

Now you are ready to take bookings

  1. Make sure you reply to emails and phone messages promptly. Make your reply in a professional manner as don’t forget you are providing a service.
  2. Have a good system to database all the bookings; you don’t want to double book people!
  3. Talk to your guests on the phone before you make the booking. Speaking to someone in person will give you the opportunity to screen your potential guests and it gives you the chance to ask questions. You are entitled to turn people down!  Have a list of questions ready to ask all the details you would like to know about the person booking your home. Questions to include are: What time are you arriving? How many people are in your booking? Are you bringing any pets? Of course make sure you get contact details.
  4. You might also want to discuss the cleaning procedures, any extra costs such as laundry, towels and bed linen and general payment procedure. After the conversation it is a good time to email the guests the rental contract. The contract can be signed and faxed/posted back.
  5. A reservation should only be confirmed once a deposit is received. It will be easy to receive payments through internet banking; you might want to look into receiving international payments through PayPal. Ask your bank for the easiest way to accept payments from abroad, as not all cheques are accepted all over the world and it can take up to a month before a cheque is cleared.  Email a receipt to the guests once the deposit has been received.
  6. A deposit is also needed to hold on to as a security deposit. It is best to return deposits after your property has been inspected after your guests have departed. Don’t feel the need to give the deposit back straight away, sometimes the cleaner will discover towels are missing so only give the deposit back once the cleaning and inspection has been done. Be sure to inform guests about your deposit refund policy and expectations at the time of booking. You can give the deposit back by bank transfer.
  7. Full payment can be expected 60 to 30 days before arrival. Payments can also be divided in being paid 50 % up front, and 50 % on arrival, that will also give your guests peace of mind. It really depends on what you feel comfortable with.
  8. Now the question is, how will your guests get the keys? There are a few options: getting a property management company to meet and greet your guests, getting a key box where you send the code to the guests to be able to unlock the key box, or having a door that opens solely by a code that can be changed on a weekly basis. There will be more options, so it will be good to research what is easiest for you and your guests.
  9. After you guests have departed, check all is left undamaged and return the security deposit.

As with everything this is a learning process and it might take a bit of time and trying different things until you found what is best for you. There are many ideas you can get from searching the internet, and just asking people who rent out their homes.

We are happy to help you with any questions, so do contact Catrien, details on the contact us page.