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Letting your overseas property

Lettings

If you’re fortunate enough to own a property overseas then you’ve probably considered the possibility of letting it out to holidaymakers when it’s vacant. It’s a fantastic way of generating additional income and can help it pay its own way, however, you need to follow the correct procedures.

It might initially seem a daunting process when letting your property however it can be highly rewarding and potentially profitable. Therefore, to help you get started we’ve outlined some of the most important factors for you to consider each stage of the renting out process.

Should I let my property?

Costs

Letting your property is likely to mean you will have to spend some money and time to get everything set up. The key here is to balance your outlay with potential income, but generally speaking your costs are unlikely to be huge.

The key cost considerations for rental properties are:

  • Registration for any online rental portals you would like to us
  • Consider how you will manage the property i.e., who will clean it and prepare it for your guests?
  • Any licence fees that you have to pay in order to legally let your property (these vary per country/region)
  • Insurance, maintenance, welcome packs for guests and any advertising costs

Feasibility

If you or your friends and family plan to use the property for a large part of the year consider whether letting it out is worth the finance and time. Remember the peak seasons for most holiday rentals will be during the May-September period (although this may change depending on where your property is), so if you’re considering using the property yourself during this time you may not recoup much profit.

Getting Set-Up

Paperwork

Each country and often each region/city will have its own bureaucracy that you’ll need to navigate before you are legally able to let your property. Therefore, it’s always advisable to speak to either an independent legal professional or local property expert to make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork completed and signed off.

Legal and tax consultation

Expert, independent advice is incredibly valuable in any complicated administrative process and we would recommend seeking it out when letting your property. They will be able to guide you through the entire process making it a much less stressful experience for you at all times.

Management Company

A factor often initially overlooked by rental homeowners is the practicality of maintaining the property and preparing it for its next guests. Unless you are fortunate enough to live nearby you are likely to need to hire a property management company or a similar service to help get everything clean and tidy for your guests.

Furniture and facilities

How you decorate and furnish your property could be an important factor in securing bookings when renting out your property. Although there aren’t any set rules when it comes to décor as it is largely subjective, it’s advisable to keep things fairly simple and modern to appeal to a wide market. You’re also likely to increase the chance of repeat bookings if the essentials and amenities are of a good standard.

Protecting Yourself

Insurance

Many countries make it a legal requirement for those letting their property so it’s something that you have to consider. Standard home insurance is usually not enough to cover a rental property (although it may be worth checking your current policy) so look around to see where the best deals are.

Deposit

To give yourself a bit of protection from breakages or a late cancellation, it is wise to insist on the payment of a deposit in order to secure a booking. It’s also preferable for your guests as they have the security that the property is held for them.

Security

There will be times when your property is empty, especially off-season. Therefore, it’s important to take security precautions as you would with your own home in the UK. This can vary from installing a burglar alarm, ensuring that there are proper locks on all doors and windows and fitting a small safe.

Standing out from the crowd

Advertise online

The vast majority of people looking to book holiday accommodation will browse online so it is important that you make yourself visible. When adding your property to an online holiday portal make sure the description of the property is clear and concise, and that you include information on the local amenities and distances to transport links and local attractions, as well as high-quality photographs.

Welcome pack

A nice way to make your guests feel at home and to gather good reviews is to prepare a welcome pack for your guests. Although a simple gesture it will also be well received, try including:

  • Short welcome letter wishing your guests an enjoyable stay
  • Bottle of wine
  • Any local produce such as cheese, meats, fruit etc. (perhaps the area is famous for it?)
  • Leaflets of nearby attractions and activities
  • List of useful phone numbers e.g. your personal number, Management Company, taxi company etc.

Departure

When your guests come to leave you should ensure there is a way for them to leave you feedback directly. This could be in the form of a guestbook or websites where you advertise your property. Always try and get visitors’ suggestions and comments too as they’ll help you to offer a better stay for future guests.

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