Have you wondered what you could do to improve your holiday home reviews? Often it’s the little added touches...
At Coast & Country Cottages we understand that owning a holiday home can evoke a lot of questions. We are on hand every step of the way to answer all your queries, but here are answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by our owners:
Use the quick links below to read about a particular topic, or continue reading for the everything you need to know about owning a holiday let:
Absolutely! You will have a booking allowance during the period April to September, but there is no restriction on your booking allowance between October and March. All we ask is that you keep us informed of the dates you will be using your property, so we can ensure our availability is correct online. We never forget that it is your property, and offer you the freedom to pick and choose your holiday dates, whether it be for yourself, friends or family. We can also arrange all the cleaning and linen for your owner bookings if required. Find out more on our holiday let services South Devon page.
This is a difficult one – the income might be more for holiday letting, but once you factor in costs such as housekeeping, agency fees, etc., that advantage does get eroded. What offsets this for most owners is that you, your friends and family can enjoy the use of it as well. If you would like to know more about the income you can expect to make from your second home, our Property Consultants can visit your property and provide a no-obligation income projection.
Another factor to consider is the differences in tax, as if you qualify as a Furnished Holiday Let, there are favourable tax benefits which can make your venture more profitable. To find out more, read our comprehensive guide to Furnished Holiday Let tax.
Many owners worry about this when they start out holiday letting – wear and tear does happen, and on odd occasions there can be damage. However, on the whole people are very respectful of holiday homes, and treat them as they would treat their own homes. The important thing to remember is that with most of our properties we take a Good Housekeeping Bond or Accidental Damage Protection, to cover damages in the event of an issue. It is rarely used, but is there if needed!
Our team check our agency managed properties on arrival and departure, to ensure that any damage is identified as soon as possible. We also carry out winter checks, which can identify any issues from leaks to boiler problems, and make sure your property is as secure as possible during the out of season months.
Some areas are particularly attractive to dog owners – particularly those with good walks, dog-friendly beaches and attractions that welcome pets. Needless to say, South Devon is one of these areas! If you accept dogs at your holiday home, it does open the property up to a much larger clientele as so many people have pets – in fact, over one in three holidays in the UK, people bring a dog with them. There’s a growing market of people not going abroad because they have a dog. Many of these people want a high-standard property, and don’t want to leave their dog behind, so there’s a good argument for going dog-friendly.
However, there are some things to keep in mind, including the possibility of extra cleaning costs, and also the implications it may have for those with allergies. Customers are required to pay a £25 pet charge per dog per week, which can help cover any additional cleaning costs, should there be any, or create extra income for our owners. Owners are also often concerned that dogs can cause damage, but we find most dog owners are very respectful of properties, and behave in accordance with the booking conditions, ensuring their dogs are not permitted on the furniture, or left unattended in the property.
For additional information on this topic, read our in depth guide on should I make my holiday home dog-friendly?
No, not at all. We just suggest that you do try to keep up with regular maintenance and replacing items susceptible to wear and tear, to ensure high standards are kept up. For those who opt for an Agency Managed Service, we can help you take care of this, ensuring that everything is maintained to a good standard. If the carpets need cleaning, or you have mugs that need replacing, we will make these arrangements for you.
We also have a dedicated laundry service Travel Lite, who can provide and launder all linen and towels for your bookings. By using this service, you need never worry about the quality of linen or any damage, as this is taken care of for you! To find out more about the processes and costs involved in housekeeping and laundry, read our Q&A with our Managed Services Team here.
Short breaks are certainly increasingly popular, with people looking to getaway for just a weekend, without having to take a whole week off work. Having said that, for many people South Devon is quite a long way to travel, given its extreme southerly location – so often people are looking for week long breaks to make the most of the area following a long journey.
One of the main benefits of accepting short breaks is that it can significantly lengthen your holiday letting season, as often people might come away for a short break in the off-peak shoulder months. Interestingly, the Sykes Cottages Staycation Index revealed that 43% of searches made for holidays in April, May, June, September and October were for short breaks – that’s 1 in 3 for all searches, totalling nearly 4 million holidaymakers. Also, 60% of all searches for holidays in winter are for short breaks – that means 3 million visitors to the Sykes Cottages website searched for short breaks in winter that period.
Peak short breaks can have benefits too, as almost 40% of website users search for short breaks during peak season. This can maximise income for owners, as selling two short breaks in a week will generate more than 100% of the weekly price. It is certainly worth considering, and our system will allow you to choose and amend the periods in which you are happy to accept short breaks.
The important thing to remember when you start the process is that there is a fine line between being too clinical, and making it feel too much like a family home. Be sure to co-ordinate furniture and furnishings carefully, and make conscious decisions about what you are doing. For those unsure or who struggle with an eye for interior design, we can recommend local interior designers to talk to, or the best places to shop for home furnishings. Alternatively, read our blog top 10 Devon brands for styling your holiday home or how to furnish a holiday let for more useful hints and tips.
It is worth remembering the customer is paying a lot of money for their holiday, and making a good first impression is very important. You don’t need to supply all of the below, but ensuring that there are some essentials in place for guests when they arrive is a must! Here are some of our suggestions:
Our team will provide a Coast & Country Cottages information guide with a welcome letter, emergency contact details, and information about the local area. For more details on what other details to include, read our guide on creating the perfect guest information pack.
The Owner Managed Service is a fabulous option if you live locally and prefer to manage the weekly cleaning and changeover routine. We can offer a marketing and administration service to find your customers, secure your bookings and handle all correspondence.
The alternative is an Agency Managed Service, where we are on hand to co-ordinate cleaning services, supply bed linen and towels, operate changeovers, check the property before and after bookings, and organise maintenance to ensure that your property is presented to the highest standard. We will also arrange key collection for arriving holidaymakers and provide out of hours support.
To find out more about our bespoke service options, read our blog, holiday home management: choosing the right service for your cottage.
These can vary quite significantly, depending on the level of service you require, plus the size of your property etc. Costs to consider include linen and laundering, cleaning and caretaking, maintenance, property running costs, business rates and council tax, plus agency fees and commission.
Our New Property Consultants are experienced in speaking to owners about the costs involved with letting a holiday home and can help you to gauge the fees and charges you can expect once they know a little bit more about your property. Or for a general guidance on what to expect, read our blog about the cost of running a holiday let.
Read our blogs ‘holiday let mortgages – Everything you need to know when buying a holiday cottage‘ and ‘your guide to Furnished Holiday Let tax 2021‘ for more holiday letting advice.
If you still have questions you would like to know the answers to, or you would like more information, contact our New Properties team on 01548 843773, who would be happy to help you.