Make your holiday home pay for itself
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 latorre.co.uk 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