Ask the Experts: Putting Your House in Order

Ask the Experts: Putting Your House in Order

Laura Habgood shares handy tips to maximise rental income in both high and low season

Laura Habgood of Holiday France Direct specialises in summer lets. She advises landlords on the best way to manage their properties and how to advertise them online.

Q. What’s the best way to maximise income on rental properties?

A. I would suggest ensuring you make the most of the off -peak season. In most cases, the peak summer season should be relatively easy to sell, but making your property suitable for out-of-season breaks will definitely help to maximise your year-round income. To do this, you’ll need to make sure your property is equipped with adequate heating (wood burners are a great feature to have). And why not consider offering special rates or discounts to couples or young families who can travel outside of the school holidays?

Q. Are special offers a good idea? We don’t want to appear desperate and we know that special offers can sometimes put people off.

A. At Holiday France Direct we do recommend adding special offers to your advertisement as guests like to feel like they are getting a bargain. We have a dedicated special-offers section on our website and we find that this is often the first page viewed by visitors to our website. Your special off er doesn’t have to be huge, but it should still act as an incentive for guests to book.

Q. We’re planning to rent out our second home when we’re not using it but are a little apprehensive about it – it’s our home. What do we need to do to make it rental-ready, besides tidying up and removing personal effects?

A. I would suggest ensuring that you don’t leave anything of high or sentimental value in your property as accidents do happen! It’d recommend asking your guests for a damage deposit – hopefully you won’t need to use it but it will give you some peace of mind. I would also suggest decorating your property in neutral tones so it appeals to all tastes.

Q. How should we work out the pricing for a weekly stay? We have a four-bedroom longère in Normandy and we think we could charge at least €1,000 in high season. We’ve looked at similar properties on rental sites in the area but prices vary so widely we don’t want to overcharge – or seem suspiciously cheap.

A. We would always suggest looking at the rental rates of similar properties in the local area and pricing yourself somewhere in the middle – as you say, you don’t want to seem expensive but you don’t want to be too cheap as this can also put people off . It’s important to consider your sleeping capacity and the quality of the accommodation on offer. Luxury properties can charge a far higher rate than somewhere more basic. Facilities such as swimming pools will also enable you to charge a higher rate. Make sure to consider all these factors when setting your rental rates.

Q. What’s the advantage of using a holiday rentals platform? We think we’d have a better chance of renting our house by advertising it on a rentals platform but don’t want to be charged ridiculous fees.

A. Holiday rentals platforms are an excellent way of advertising your property as they give you and your property the benefit of a well-recognised brand name, along with the support of their experienced teams, which can be invaluable – especially when you’re first starting out with your rental business. There are plenty of different rental options available including pay-as-you-let advertising, such as Holiday France Direct’s Quickbook scheme, where you don’t pay anything unless you get a booking. So it’s worth investigating all the different options out there.

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