10 Tips for letting your holiday home

Letting out your holiday home is a great way to boost your income, and if you pick the right agent you can enjoy stress-free fully comprehensive property management whilst you sit back and enjoy the benefits. We have put together our 10 top tips for those considering letting out their property.

1. Pick your property and location carefully

Both the property and the location are important which is why we always recommend buying a property in a location you know and love. If you know the area, you will know the kind of people that visit the area; where they want to go, what they want to do, and what they will need from both the location and the property itself.

Another benefit of picking a location you know and love is that you will be able to visit the property when it’s not occupied. In fact, we recommend staying in your holiday home at least once a year as it will help you to identify any issues that need attention. Whilst agents will check for any obvious faults, staying in the property will give you an idea of how your guests enjoy the space.

2. Make sure you get the right mortgage

Before you invest in your holiday home, it’s important to make sure you get the right mortgage for your property. This can vary so speaking with a mortgage broker or financial advisor that understands the holiday lettings market is of the highest importance.

For the most part, you would require a normal mortgage rather than a buy-to-let mortgage as most buy-to-let mortgages don’t allow you to use the property as a holiday rental. In some cases, bespoke mortgages are offered that are designed for short-term rental properties.

It’s also worth noting that lenders may require a larger deposit (25%-30%) to secure a holiday let mortgage because of the increased risk of part-time tenants.

3. Consider agents & property maintenance

Some owners choose to manage their holiday lettings themselves, but this can be time-consuming and stressful. If you pick the right agency, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with an agent managing everything for you. Here at Quest Cottages, we manage everything with our local dedicated in-house team. Bookings, cleaning, linens, maintenance, guest support and more can all be taken care of for you so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the additional income. This means no calls from guests at 2 am to say they have lost their keys, no callouts for any maintenance issues, and no cleaning disasters you don’t have the time to fix.

We also ensure that you are featured on all major holiday lettings platforms such as Airbnb, Tripadvisor, VRBO and Booking.com

4. Find out about the tax benefits

As this is not a long-term property rental, it’s not categorised as an investment, it is classed as a trade. With this comes favourable tax advantages to be explored. These include Capital Gains Relief and Capital Allowances on furnishings and equipment as long as you meet certain criteria outlined by HMRC. Again, exploring your options with an experienced financial advisor or accountant is highly recommended to ensure the best possible return on your investment.

It’s also important to remember to tell the taxman that you are planning to rent out your holiday home. Whether the property is owned by yourself or your business, tax may be due that must be declared to HMRC.

5. Get the right holiday home insurance

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so important you have the right insurance to protect your asset and its contents against any eventuality. Your insurance needs to cover the property and itself and your estimated earnings should an accident or serious damage such as flooding or fire occur. Speaking to a good insurance broker will insure you put the right cover in place such as Public Liability and Buildings & Contents Insurance.

6. Create a comprehensive welcome pack

It’s so important to make guests feel welcome and secure as soon as they walk through the door of your property. Providing a comprehensive welcome pack will ensure they know where everything is, and who they should contact if anything goes wrong. If you are working with a good agent, you can simply provide one phone number for the guest to contact should anything go wrong. Choosing an agent local to the property is key to a responsive service.

Your welcome pack should also include information about the area such as local taxi firms, places to eat, sightseeing, bars, cinemas, playparks and more. Whether you have a single guest, a couple or a family, you want to provide information that will keep everybody happy.

7. Go the extra mile for your guests

After a long drive, there is nothing better than arriving somewhere you immediately feel comfortable. Whether it’s a few cold beers in the fridge, a hamper with breakfast muffins and jams, or fresh flowers on the dining table, those little touches will make your guests feel welcome and encourage great reviews and repeat bookings. 

8. Make your property stand out

There are some features that are guaranteed to increase bookings in your holiday let. The first one of these is a hot tub, guests go crazy for a hot tub. There is nothing like unwinding in a hot tub, surrounded by friends with a glass of bubbly. It adds to that feeling of a luxury experience, a special time away with loved ones. If you have the space, it’s a great investment to increase bookings.

A log burner is another desirable feature for the colder winter months as it creates an inviting and ambient atmosphere where guests can imagine themselves relaxing. 

Another great way to increase your bookings is to allow pets in your holiday home. We are a nation of dog lovers, and many guests want to bring their four-legged friends on holiday with them, especially if they are holidaying alone. Our advice is to do a little research, see what other properties in the area are offering, and then do your best to stand out from the rest.

9. Clearly outline your house rules and screen your guests

Whilst you want your guests to enjoy your property, it’s important to clearly outline your house rules and the penalties for breaking these. 

Your rules don’t have to be overly rigid, but you may want to take into consideration implementing rules any noise late at night, smoking indoors, additional guests and more. Having these rules clearly outlined will put you in a better position to seek compensation should any of these be broken.

Screening your guests will ensure you don’t end up with bookings that are not appropriate for your property. Here at Quest Cottages, we screen all guests for our owners you they don’t have the stress and worry of doing this themselves.

10. Respond appropriately to feedback

Although feedback can sometimes be negative, it is one of the best ways of identifying room for improvement. Not only can you use feedback to make changes to your property, booking system, cleaning and maintenance etc. You can also respond to feedback in an appropriate and positive way to make the guest feel like they have been heard and understood. Whether the feedback is positive or negative, it gives you a deeper understanding of the guests experience and will help you to increase repeat bookings and property reviews.