PROPERTY HINTS & TIPS
The first thing your potential customers will see before they even begin to read your glowing descriptions are the photographs of your property.
Make sure that the rooms/areas are clean and tidy before you take your photographs. Make up the beds in good quality linen – have you noticed how hotels always make their bedrooms look inviting to ensure you are going to get a good night’s rest?
And don’t even think about taking your old stuff to your second home, there’s nothing worse than sitting on a sofa covered in a throw to find out that it’s hiding saggy, uncomfortable cushions!
Holidaymakers are going to choose your home because it looks well looked after and they want all the comforts of home – otherwise they might as well have stayed there!
Cover yourself with third party liability insurance, and building and contents insurance (which may be included in any mortgage arrangement you have) and get your renters to sign a booking contract with you. If you can’t manage the bookings/calls yourself, nominate someone who can or look for a property management company who will also do the changeovers for you and a quick response to any enquiries could ensure that you get that all important booking.
3. Finishing Touches & Essential Items
If possible, provide a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and pool alarm, if you have an indoor or outdoor pool (a legal requirement in France if not fenced off), patio or garden furniture and that all important BBQ for alfresco dining with colourful picnic crockery.
If you have a family home consider a TV/Radio/DVD/CD player – some come combined into one these days, Ipod dock for their own music, and books, games and jigsaws for family entertainment. A computer with internet access is a great way to keep teenagers occupied while their parents relax by the pool or in the garden.
For trips to the local shops you could also provide a few bicycles so they can wave to the neighbours as they pass.
In summer provide fans for warm evenings indoors and for winter lets supply logs for wood burning stoves or fires and install central heating. The more you have to offer the more likely you are to get more bookings and if you can provide linen and towels too, it will leave your holidaymakers more room in their car/cases for more important things they will need to enjoy their holiday.
4. Important Information & Payments
Don’t give out the address of your property until you have full payment from your renters.You can then send them details of how to get there and any useful local information such as doctor, dentist, and if you allow pets in your property the name of a good vet – for those cross channel injections plus an emergency number of a local contact, (which could be yourself if you live in the area or a designated property management company).
5. Information Pack
Put an information pack together which can be left in the house detailing the addresses of all the good restaurants in the area, where to shop, sights to see, days of the local markets, where sports can be played locally, a map of the area and a selection of things to do from your local tourist information office.
6. Customer Feedback
Once your renters have finished their holiday give them the opportunity to feedback some information to you about their stay. We left a questionnaire in ours and the comments ranged from: Would you like a coffee machine to save me making it in the teapot with the strainer and a new mattress for the bed as this is a bit lumpy (it was from a reputable store) but we duly supplied them and some people booked again for the following year!
7. Advertising Your Property
Tell all your friends, family and work colleagues and ask them to pass it onto as many people as they can. Send them a link to Habitats Abroad so they can see your featured property.
You could design a small leaflet/poster to put up around your workplace or send as a pdf for your friends to do the same, and hand them out to people you meet. Don’t be shy – you’ll be amazed at what a talking point it will be.
Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are all places you can get the word out and even Ebay will allow a mention on your personal page about yourself.
And don’t forget to upload your property details onto the Habitats Abroad website for just £150 a year. You can direct your potential customers to our website to see the full details of your property and if you put a link on your email signature that could generate even more traffic to your property. Just fill in your property details on our simple form and highlight all the benefits of staying in your home.
If your rental costs include all the extras such as linen, towels, cleaning and utilities this will be more appealing to a holidaymaker – so they know how much to budget for – than finding out there are lots of add-ons after they have booked. A bit like our favourite low-cost airlines!!