Live-work’s a winner as more of us say ‘be my guest’
If you’re looking for a career and lifestyle change, a B&B could be the perfect property for you. Sharon Dale reports
SUMMER holidays can spark dreams of a lifestyle change and for more of us than ever that means giving up the nine-to-five to run a B&B.
Buyer enquiries peak at this time of year thanks to those suffering the back-to-work blues.
“We are receiving inquiries from increasing numbers of people looking at running a B&B and the average age of owners is coming down.
“Having a B&B in a beautiful part of the country is increasingly seen as a positive change of career,” says Simon Wells, of commercial property company Colliers International.
“It usually offers a home and an income, frequently in a lovely part of the world, and it is an opportunity to carry on working until it is time to retire or become a career hotelier.”
Owning a guest house is especially appealing to mid-lifers, according to Simon, and the lure has intensified since the advent of fashionable boutique B&Bs.
This move upmarket has opened up opportunities to revamp tired properties and turn them into more lucrative businesses.
“We are seeing a much greater emphasis on quality accommodation and the boutique B&B is fast becoming the norm,” says Simon.
“The opportunity to improve and upgrade the accommodation at an under-performing business is a major draw to people looking to take on a new challenge.”
Before investing in high thread count sheets, Molton Brown toiletries and gallons of Farrow and Ball, you must consider location and funding.
While country and seaside settings are most seductive, they also offer stiff competition. You may want to widen your search to cities and towns that will also attract business clientèle.
Getting a mortgage through a high street bank may also be an issue, though lenders who specialise in the hotel trade are more amenable if the profit margin is high enough.
You should also ask established owners about the pros and cons.
Tom and Terri Campbell, who bought their seven-bedroom guest house in Whitby 11 years ago, will take many happy memories with them when they retire. “We enjoy it but it can be tying, especially in summer. Whitby is a tremendous location and the trade is year-round but we tend to take most of December, January and February off for a break to see family and friends and relax,” says Tom.
Haven Crest is on the market for £375,00 and includes separate owner accommodation.
“It would suit someone who likes to cook and entertain and who likes meeting people, or maybe someone who has had a busy career and wants to slow down a little and live somewhere wonderful like Whitby,” says Tom. Although there is some hard work involved it should pay off in repeat business.
Tom says: “We attract some really nice people and a lot of them come back here once or twice a year. Some of them have become friends and we look forward to seeing them. That’s something we will really miss when we leave.”
COUNTRY RETREAT: High Dalby House, Dalby,is a boutique B&B with holiday cottages, £1.495m. Contact Carter Jonas, tel: 01904 211084