Writing in the Sunday Times on 27th May, â€˜Foreign Yieldsâ€™, Rosie Millard is firmly in favour of managing agents for properties acquired with a view to holiday lettings even though the level of commission at 25% seems steep compared with what the owners of rental properties would expect to pay in the UK. However, for holiday lets sheâ€™s firmly in favour of keeping the marketing of holiday apartment or villa in oneâ€™s own hands. The effort required is not too great and itâ€™s relatively easy to do the necessary work at a distance using specialist websites (such as www.holiday-rentals.co.uk or www.holidaylettings.co.uk , www.french-country-cottages.co.uk). However, you do need to use or acquire the skill to describe your property succinctly and invitingly.
Holiday property advertising websites have limited space for each listing but the more sophisticated ones have â€˜view detailsâ€™ links. Photos of the interior of your property are a â€˜mustâ€™ here. Some sites (particularly smaller ones covering a limited area) may not offer a â€˜view detailsâ€™ facility and you will just have an opportunity to give a link to your own website. In this case, think about it from the point of view of a prospective holiday-maker; the kind of information youâ€™ll be looking for will be photos of the interior (again), details about access to the sea and places to eat out. People browsing the web for their next holiday destination will prefer to be able to look up availability on a calendar on your site rather than having to phone or e-mail the enquiry to you (a â€˜givenâ€™ as far as the professional sites are concerned but remember that human intervention is required to keep it up-to-date.) If your property is off the beaten track it will probably pay to be helpful with enquirers whose requirements you canâ€™t meet this time; if you make helpful recommendations, what goes around may come around next year.
For owners who may be considering longer lets it may make a lot more sense to have the marketing or tenant introduction work done for you. This will provide peace of mind on subjects such as reference and credit checking, the drafting of leases and regulations about the lodging of tenantsâ€™ deposits or bonds (where these exist). Read this article “11 questions to ask your property management“. Itâ€™s worthwhile giving careful consideration to the choice of your agent whichever kind of letting you plan and a checklist of testing questions (see previous link) is a good resource. One important fact to check out is the ratio of staff to properties. For longer lettings one fully responsible agency staff member per 100 to 150 properties is reasonable but for holiday lettings, which are more management intensive, this should probably be lower. Clearly, occupancy rates and low seasons have some impact on the staff hours that are required. Generally speaking, however, information on managing agentsâ€™ relative merits seems hard to come by and (with regard to the holiday market) possibly under-regulated. For overseas properties your agent is going to pay a key role so research will be vital.
Thereâ€™s a lot to be said for studying the subject and investing in books like ‘Fly to Let‘ or ‘ The Jet-to-Let Bible: The Secrets of Overseas Property Investment’.
If you have direct experience of managing agents, or recommendations to make for any part of the world, weâ€™d love to hear from you so please add your comment.