Many second home owners consider themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: not wanting to sell their second home until the market improves whilst also finding generating a decent income from their second property to be quite tough. Here we offer a few tips as to how you can generate a decent income from your second property without having to go overboard.
Those who bought their second home as their own private holiday home are often feeling the squeeze. For many this is an indulgence they can no longer afford and in order to subsidise the running costs of the property, are now looking to enter the potentially lucrative holiday lettings market.
Unlike a full time rental property, holiday letting is subject to seasonal peaks and troughs. A house in stunning countryside, furnished to a high spec with all mod-cons and breathtaking views can fetch a lot of rental money in peak season. This is especially true as ‘staycations’ continue to be popular. This means that at the worst, people owning second homes can charge enough in rental to be able to cover all their costs, and so keep their property – whilst those with more superior (or better located) properties can make a pretty profit as well.
Holiday letting agents now tend to offer short-term schemes allowing tenants to stay in a property for between two and five months: this is an attempt to bridge the usual gaps between peak times and the beginning or end of winter and to fill niche requirements in the letting market (because most letting agents require a minimum period of six months rental). These schemes target specific groups, such as those temporarily between homes, contract workers and people looking for an extended holiday.
To maximise on potential revenue, book the property out first for the peak holiday times, such as school holidays – and don’t be tempted to book it out to yourself during that prime period! Be prepared to offer deals to attract repeat business and also to be flexible with regards to costs so they reflect the time of year. Repeat business is invaluable – especially when there are a large number of holiday rentals coming on the market now.
You need to market to the type of people who are likely to be attracted to your property. If you have a chocolate box, romantic cottage by the sea, for example, market this to the couples market. Smaller properties can be popular all year round as couples tend to book for romantic breaks such as Valentines and their own private anniversaries. Open log fires and hot-tubs can also tempt this type of clientele, so you may consider adding these and other attractions to your property – and you will have the benefit of them when you use the house yourself!
Furnishings are important, stylish contemporary furnishing are important in a holiday let – and make sure that furniture is easy to clean. Your guests will want to relax, so having pale coloured soft furnishings and carpets may mean they worry about spoiling them. Most people leave property neat and tidy – certainly those wishing to return will, but the easier you make the property to keep neat and clean, the less time you will have to spend between tenancies.
Despite the very best of intentions, mistakes and accidents will still occur. That is why you must have sufficient and correct insurance in place to protect your second home. If your second home is unoccupied it is vital that you have the correct cover – and make sure that if your property is to be vacant for more than 30 days you tell your insurance company as you will need specialist cover in this case. Unoccupied property insurance needs specialist advice – as does second home insurance – one quick call to Westhill Insurance Services will allow you to have the advice you need at your fingertips! As an independent insurance company we will shop around to find the best possible deal for you at a price you can afford.
So when you are considering letting out your second property, check your insurance situation before you do anything else so that you mitigate the risk of having insurance claims rejected, and to ensure your property is properly covered. Happy holiday letting!