Make your holiday home pay for it­self

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Ahol­i­day home in the sun or the snow may at first seem like a great idea. But when not be­ing used, a sec­ond prop­erty can be­come a headache: run­ning costs and main­te­nance can po­ten­tially turn a bu­colic bolt-hole into a bot­tom­less pit of ex­pense and ag­gra­va­tion.

So it of­ten makes sense to let it out. Not only can this help with the bills, or even turn a healthy profit, but it also means some­one is keep­ing an eye on your house and it is not sit­ting empty for long pe­ri­ods of time.

“Rent­ing out your holiday home is a grow­ing trend,” says Thomas Hughes, the man­ag­ing di­rec- tor of Click­stay, a holiday rental web­site. The num­ber of own­ers reg­is­ter­ing with such sites has in­creased by 15 per cent in the past year. “A prop­erty keeps in bet­ter con­di­tion if it is used and aired, and you might cover your costs,” he adds.

Mike Fris­bee, a pho­tog­ra­pher, and his wife, Julie, who makes and sells her own nat­u­ral skin care prod­ucts, visit their two-bed­room town house, in Mur­cia, Spain, for about six weeks a year. The rest of the time they let it out by ad­ver­tis­ing on sev­eral holiday rental web­sites.

“You have to be proac­tive,” says Fris­bee, 59. “You get out what you put in.” The holiday rental web­sites charge own­ers, on av­er­age, 10 per cent plus VAT per book­ing (although ten­ants pay more).

Fris­bee’s town house rents for be­tween £275 and £450 per week de­pend­ing on the time of year. The value of sim­i­lar two-bed­room homes in the area is around €129,000 (£113,000). His home over­looks the golf course in La Torre Golf Re­sort on the Costa Cal­ida. To en­hance their rental prospects fur­ther, Fris­bee bought the internet do­main name la­ and cre­ated a web­site to mar­ket their home. Last year, just over half of their cus­tomers came via the web­site.

The town house is also reg­is­tered with Mur­cia Tourist Board, which is a le­gal re­quire­ment.

Fris­bee rents it out for 25 weeks a year on av­er­age, earn­ing an an­nual rental in­come of around £8,000. It means he makes a slim profit: run­ning costs are around £6,000 per year.

There are a lot of hid­den charges, in­clud­ing com­mu­nity fees, util­ity bills, the an­nual fee for their prop­erty man­ager, as well as a fur­ther changeover fee per book­ing, which in­cludes clean­ing, laun­dry, and meet­ing and greet­ing guests. Re­peat book­ings are the holy grail of holiday lets and Fris­bee works hard to en­sure he has happy hol­i­day­mak­ers. Queries are an­swered promptly, and all guests are sent an in­for­ma­tion pack with de­tails about the house and area. This in­cludes ev­ery­thing from tips on good beaches, car hire and res­tau­rants, to ad­dresses of lo­cal hos­pi­tals.

Extras such as air-con­di­tion­ing, beach tow­els and Wi-Fi are in­cluded. “You want to go some­where that is as least as nice as your own home,” he says. So far, Fris­bee has had sev­eral guests re-book, in­clud­ing one fam­ily who have been back nine times. How­ever, man­ag­ing the rental him­self can be time-con­sum­ing.

“Ev­ery time we’re there, we do work on the house,” he says. This ranges from a deep clean sev­eral times a year, to gen­eral main­te­nance, and set­ting up a pe­ti­tion for a lo­cal bus ser­vice. “I have a team I can rely on and use the same plumber and handy­man. And I keep my phone on all the time”, says Fris­bee.

If all this sounds like rather a lot of

Julie Fris­bee at the ho­tel at La Torre Golf Re­sort, near her holiday home

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