Guide to renting

Guide to renting

Why should I rent my property?

Renting out your property is a beneficial way of making the most of your investment and at the same time help to cover your annual costs and, if marketed effectively, generate extra income.

Before renting your property you may wish to consider the following:

  • How often will you wish to holiday there? Remember peak times are when the rental is at its highest premium.
  • How much income do you require? Are you only interested in reaping enough income to cover costs or do you wish to maximise the income to its full capacity?

How shall I go about renting my property?

By managing your own holiday lettings you have total control of who stays in your property, when they stay and for what price. We encourage owners to answer enquiries as quickly as possible. Often clients may contact a few properties and your immediate response is essential to confirm that booking!

Remember in the majority of cases you are renting your property to a complete stranger. Do keep copies of all relevant paperwork. We advise you have a written agreement between the client and yourselves. This should include as a bare minimum the following terms and conditions:

  • booking conditions
  • payment
  • security deposit
  • cancellation charges

Ever wondered why some owners manage to let their properties easily while others struggle to cover running costs? We believe there are three Key Elements:

  • Professional Management Service
  • Luxury Environment – Home from Home
  • Efficient Marketing

Professional Management Service

To provide a quality rental service we advise you consider the following key points:

  • Property should be thoroughly cleaned between each rental.
  • Beds need to be changed and clean towels provided.
  • Clients need to be met and keys handed over
  • Inventory should be checked at the end of each rental
  • Clients require a point of contact in case of emergency
  • Property needs to be regularly checked for leaks, electrical faults,

Our advice is not to cut corners when considering who should manage your property. There are a number of companies and individuals who offer these services with a wide range of prices and quality of provision. Please do your homework. Professional companies will provide you with references or contact numbers of owners who currently use their service.

Luxury Environment – Home from Home

It can be very tempting to furnish your property as cheaply as possible, but based on our experience of owning and managing properties we do not recommend this. Clients are more likely to look after your property and belongings if you have taken pride in creating the perfect holiday home for them.

  • aspire for 4* or 5* luxury!
  • low maintenance is the key!
  • good quality furniture that will last longer
  • minimalist with co-ordinated bed linen & accessories to create the luxury look

Luxuries

Think like a holidaymaker – you want your clients to return!

  • air-conditioning if abroad
  • entertainment – wide screen TV, DVD, games console (e.g. Wii, PS2,
  • selection of books, DVDs, CDs
  • satellite TV or at least some British TV Channels
  • internet connection
  • selection of games
  • private pool
  • golf clubs – a bonus if you are near a golf course
  • welcome pack – always welcome after a long journey

Extras

Little things often make the biggest impact

  • toilet rolls
  • soap
  • beach towels
  • basics such as sugar, salt, pepper, oil
  • dishwasher tablets
  • washing powder

Information Pack

Always useful to include the following:

  • Inventory - list all the items of furniture and equipment.
  • Information - provide information of how to use kitchen utilities, TVs, entertainment system, heating, air-conditioning etc.
  • House Rules - you may wish to display rules with regard to noise, air-conditioning, shoes, rubbish disposal etc.
  • Emergency Numbers - display the telephone number of the local person to contact in emergency.
  • Local Info - include local information e.g. taxi numbers, local supermarkets, recommended restaurants etc.
  • Guest Book - we have always appreciated comments made by other guests who have rented the property. They often provide useful advise and give suggestions for trips etc.
  • Excursions - useful to collate information from the local tourist board. Do remember to keep things up to date!
  • A local map is also useful

Efficient Marketing

As with any business, you need to market your property successfully to maximise your impending income. The Internet is increasingly the first place renters look when looking to book a property for a holiday, so advertising your holiday home online makes perfect sense; you don't need to be a computer pro, just be able to get online and email.

The best way to get your holiday home seen online is to use an established holiday rentals site. These sites have been specially designed with owners in mind to make the process of setting up an advert as easy as possible and reach a larger audience than any other form of holiday home advertising

Advertising on a holiday rental websites such as Murcia Golf Owners is a great starting point although, in our experience, owners who successfully rent their property to its full potential do advertise on two or more websites.

Online adverts are typically quick and easy to set up, allow you to edit your listing 24/7 and offer plenty of space for property descriptions and photos.

Holidaymakers will contact you directly through your advert, so you can control who stays in your holiday home and when. Also look at what extras you get - many websites, including murciagolfowners.co.uk, offer a free SMS text alert service whenever you get an enquiry as well as availability calendars. A good holiday rental website will offer a solid service for the holidaymaker - it should be easy to use and let users refine searches to their specific needs.


Murcia Golf Owners

For £60 a year (£1.45 per week) you can advertise your property on www.murciagolfowners.co.uk  with up to 12 photos, a detailed description of your property, availability calendar and free SMS texting.

Find out more about advertising with murciagolfowners.co.uk

You may also wish to consider advertising on Golf Rentals Direct, which features properties all over Europe. Email for our current special offer for advertising on www.golfrentalsdirect.com and www.murciagolfowners.co.uk

Email now: info@murciagolfowners.co.uk

What makes a good advert? Think like a holidaymaker

Look at the other adverts in your area and think about what makes your property stand out.

  • ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ – include a mixture of internal and external shots. Your first photo appears in the search landing page plus is the main photo on your home page so choose one that really stands out however make sure it is relevant to your property. Why not change your photos to show off the seasons? Use the captions under the photos to sell your property e.g. Enjoy a gin and tonic on your own roof terrace
  • The Home Description is the first thing people see once they've clicked into your advert. Holidaymakers tend to scan this information so don’t make it too long.
  • Make sure you tick all the relevant check-boxes so that your advert shows up in every applicable search. People often refine their search according to facilities and activities nearby, so you want to be sure you’re included.
  • Tailor your area and regional information to your target market. If you're looking to attract families then mention child-friendly activities and trips out. If it's more of a rural, romantic retreat, then suggest walks and activities that would appeal to this audience. You know the area best, so take this chance to share your local knowledge. Try and suggest something a little different from your competitors; holidaymakers will appreciate the extra thought that's gone into it.
  • Keep your pricing structure simple. Stick to a few price bands and only mention exceptions when necessary, for example, Christmas and school holidays. If it looks too complicated then people may get put off. Do your homework. Have a look at what other people with similar properties in your area are charging to make sure your tariff remains competitive.
  • Respond quickly. Respond to an enquiry as soon as you can with as much information as possible. If the enquirer leaves a telephone number, call them if possible. People often enquire about several properties at once, so your efficiency could pay off.
  • Contact previous guests for their reviews of your property. They may wish to book again. Let your previous renters know of any changes you've made to your property or of any special prices you may be offering.

 Top Tips for writing your advert

  • Check spelling and grammar – ask a friend to read your advert through
  • Only use capital letters to make important words stand out
  • Keep your advert up to date with any changes e.g. new restaurants, airline routes, local attractions
  • Be informative and make paragraphs short and to the point
  • Be honest to avoid complaints from guests – inaccurate information is misleading
  • List your telephone number – it is surprising how many people would rather phone direct
  • Use quality images to show off your property
  • Update your availability calendar regularly. Holidaymakers are often put off if the availability calendar shows no bookings.
  • Keep rental dates up to date. As with the availability calendar, an up to date set of rental rates gives holidaymakers confidence in your property. If you don't list rates, then they may assume it's not available.

Top Tips for using your Availability Calendar

The availability calendar is an important way of telling holidaymakers at a glance whether a property is booked or available. Holidaymakers don’t want to waste time enquiring after properties that aren’t available. We advise that you use and update this calendar regularly in order to make the search process for holidaymakers more user-friendly. If a calendar looks empty they could be put off!

  • Keep availability calendar up to date - leaving booked dates as available to attract more enquiries will only annoy holidaymakers who enquired thinking the property is free for those dates – they may not bother again
  • Remember that dates on the availability calendar are split into mornings and afternoons to allow for changeovers - if someone is leaving on a Friday morning, then leave Friday afternoon as available for an arrival that day/

Top tips to good photographs

  • Consider hiring a professional photographer – may be expensive but worth it
  • A digital camera is advisable as this is the best method to upload photos to the website.
  • Use a wide lens if possible or alternatively stand on a chair to try and shoot from above
  • Let the sun shine – take photos on a bright sunny day – ideal time is between 4 and 6 p.m.
  • Dress your property – lay tables, bottle of wine & glasses, set the sunbeds, flowers in vase, fruit in bowl etc. Remember to turn off TV. Keep curtains open. De-clutter!!
  • Take photos of interior, exterior and local area.
  • Show off the best features of your property – you don’t need to show every room.
  • If possible, crop off date and time.

What income can I expect from renting my property?

It is difficult to anticipate the number of bookings you can expect to generate and your resulting rental income will depend on a variety of factors including:

  • Marketing your property – advertise as much as possible
  • Location – distance of pools, restaurants, bars, beach, airports
  • Style of Property – villa, apartment,
  • Facilities – pool, satellite TV, DVD, games, air conditioning, heating etc
  • Views and position
  • Quality of furnishings
  • Price – see top tips to setting rental rates

Top tips to setting rental rates

  • Research – look for average rates for properties in the same area with similar facilities. Properties with private pools are likely to command a higher rate
  • Be realistic with your pricing - neither inflate or deflate the cost
  • Be inclusive – rather than add extras payable locally – include everything in the price
  • Supplement – you may wish to consider a supplement for heated pool to cover extra heating or to bring a pet which may require extra cleaning
  • Peak Seasons – school holidays are premium rates so adjust pricing accordingly
  • Off Season – think about lowering rates or offering special discounts – think about including extras?
  • Keep pricing table simple
  • Letting your property for less than a week – rates should be higher than just a pro rata rate - work out your overheads and then calculate price accordingly
  • Keep an eye on the competition on a regular basis
  • Be prepared for negotiation – some holidaymakers will try to bargain with you.

Top tips to calculating your overheads

Include all costs before calculating your price structure. Consider:

  • Cleaning fees
  • Laundry costs
  • Utility bills – particularly if you have air conditioning and heated pool
  • Meet & Greet
  • Welcome pack
  • Maintenance – community charges, pool maintenance, gardening fees
  • Wear and tear of furniture and goods
  • Currency rate of exchange

Top tips to help with current financial marker

In the current economic climate everyone is looking for a great deal on their next holiday and prices are competitive. Holidaymakers are shopping around for value for money!

  • Special offers – make use of the  ‘special offer’ box for last minute deals
  • Highlight value for money – list any extras you may include e.g.  baby facilities, DVDs, books, games, bikes, toys etc
  • Make sure you are not losing enquiries through poor quality photos
  • Incentives – consider reducing price for a two week booking? Include a welcome pack – this may only cost you about £15. Well worth it to get that booking.
  • Consider taking credit cards through Paypal.
  • Spread the word – email friends to pass your link to their friends. Can you advertise at work?
  • Networking – free advertising on Facebook or MySpace are a great way of selling your property for holiday rental. Twitter is another useful way of promoting your property.
  • Add a link to your online advert underneath your email signature

Tips to converting enquiries into bookings

Although time consuming, handling booking enquiries efficiently is key to securing that booking.

  • Quick response - check your emails regularly, answer your phone whenever possible.
  • Be ready – have a print out of your calendar with dates blocked off and prices for weeks left
  • If you're going away ask someone to deal with your enquiries for you.
  • Check your junk mail regularly in case any enquiries have ended up there by mistake.
  • If you advertise with Golf Rentals Direct then make use of our free SMS alerts that lets you know whenever you have an enquiry.
  • Phone if possible. If a potential guest leaves a phone number then call them back rather than email. Speaking to them directly will answer their questions straight away and you may be able to convert it into a booking before anyone else has even replied via email.
  • Make a good impression – enthusiasm and being polite and helpful are three key ingredients to making a good impression. Even if you are booked, they may remember you and try the following year.
  • Be flexible – if you are booked for their required dates – try offering a discount for another date.
  • Ask questions – try and gauge their requirements and suggest things that may interest them

Annual Update

Start the year the way you mean to go on and give your advert a facelift in preparation for the January holidaymaker rush. Follow our top tips and give your advert a new lease of life:

  • Update pricing to cover dates through to 2011 – check pricing of owners of similar properties
  • Change photos – take new photos when you visit – areas do change – include a mixture of internal and external photos. Pay particular attention to the first image of your advert – make it stand out from the rest.
  • Review property descriptions – check through to ensure accuracy – have you bought anything new?
  • Ask a friend to read through for advice

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