If you have been tempted by the thought of owning one of the amazing luxury Cotswolds cottages that are around you may have been put off by worries over how you are going to fund it. Of course, if you are considering buying a second home to allow you to holiday in the beautiful Cotswold countryside, then the obvious solution is to let your home out when you aren’t using it.
Have you got a goer?
Before you start getting carried away, you need to do a reality check. Holiday homes make the most money in the best locations. The Cotswolds is an ideal place to run a holiday home as it is easily accessible from London (in fact some people make the commute on a daily basis) and it has great leisure amenities with golf, sailing, gliding, horse riding and walking all available.
Before you can let your home, you will need to furnish it. To make the best return you don’t want to skimp on the quality of furnishings – high quality, solid, furniture will typically last longer than cheap, flimsy flat pack. And don’t forget the trimmings. Cushions, pictures and inexpensive ornaments make a cottage feel more homely and lived in which in turn makes it more desirable to holidaymakers. When it comes to colours, going garish and bright and bold will appeal to some but not everyone. Try appealing to a broader customer base by keeping your decor neutral, and adding some colour in the shape of accent pieces such as vases, cushions and throws.
When deciding how to furnish your cottage, it is important to balance fitting more people in (so you can charge more) against making the house feel small and cluttered. Bunk beds should be used with caution as many adults dislike them and that can limit bookings, as can having more than two beds in any one room. A sofa bed can be a useful addition to increase the occupancy rating and twin beds that can be turned into a double allow for flexibility. It is entirely up to you whether you choose to accept pets in your holiday let, but some holidaymakers won’t stay in cottages where pets have been previously so this may impact on your ability to rent the property out.
A cheap way of making your home seem more inviting, and of guarding against inevitable breakages in the short-term, is to buy at least twice as much crockery and cutlery as you have beds. You’ll get more complaints if you’re short of wine glasses than if you have a cupboard full!
Cottages with outdoor space should offer patrons the chance to use it so provide a table and chairs. If space permits a BBQ is a nice touch too. For the luxury market extras such as hot tubs, spa baths and saunas can increase the amount you can charge by a significant amount so may be worth including if you can.
The other big “extra” to consider is the question of pets – especially dogs. It can be tempting to say no as the house will require extra cleaning, but if you are starting out, and can pet-proof at least part of the house, you automatically increase the number of possible bookings.
Unless you are buying a place next door to where you live and are prepared to get your hands dirty you will probably need to arrange for a cleaner to visit after the guests have left. You will probably also want to instruct a lettings agency to handle bookings so don’t forget to include these costs in your calculations.
Keep this list to hand, and you’re sure to have all the bases covered with your holiday let property.