Expat Rental Guide: Part One

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Expat Rental Guide: Part One

The ongoing global financial crisis has brought mixed blessings to the foreign homeowner looking to rent out their property.

On the one hand demand for self-catering holidays has increased, but on the other hand so has the amount of self-catering holiday homes!

Despite the influx of holiday homes on the market renting your property is still a viable option. Holiday home rental is one of the only sectors of the holiday market that is seeing a significant improvement, now is the time to be looking at ways in which you can take advantage of that!

This guide has been constructed to help those who have never put their property up for rent before as well as those experienced holiday-home owners looking for some fresh ideas regarding maximising the rental potential of their property.

If you are a first time renter there are several main issues that you are likely to face:

An over populated market – You certainly aren’t the first to think some extra cash would come in handy! The combination of a growth in the ambition of the holiday maker to go self catering and the opportunity to make a little extra from holiday home investments has seen a large increase in the number of people looking to list their properties on rental sites. Whilst with the ongoing economic slowdown has meant that many people have had to put their retirement dreams on hold and look for extra ways of earning some money.

Not knowing enough about the rental market – You will need to be able to answer questions like ‘where would you market your property? How much would you charge?’ And ‘can you legally rent it out?’

Picky clientele – As there’s now more competition than ever before you’ll have to deal with a customer base that demands not only value for money but high quality accommodation.

Not appreciating the difference between a family home and a rental property – Your property in all probability wasn’t purchased with renting in mind so location, furnishings etc may not be up to scratch. Some things you won’t be able to change and this will affect how much rent you can command, other things can be altered.

Preparation

As with so many things, being prepared in advance is essential if you intend to rent your property.

For some it will be too late for these tips to be of use but in deciding to rent out your property on a short term or long term basis try and take into consideration as many of these points as possible:

Be sure – Are you 100% that you want to rent your property out? The possible revenue might be good but have you taken into account the costs, risks and obligations? Be 100% sure that renting your property out is what you really want to do.

Think tourist – Look at your property with fresh eyes and view it as though you are a tourist. What kind of people would this property/area appeal to? What local amenities are there? What kind of market will you need to gear your advertisement towards? Families? Groups? Golfers? There are so many demographics and all have varying needs and requirements to consider. If you’re buying a property specifically for rental purposes look at each option as if you were a tourist.

Know your competition!  – You might not know it but you’re planning to enter a pretty cut throat business! Who are your competitors? Your neighbours may be friendly but if they also rent their property out you’ll be chasing the same cash! You have to think, what’s your unique selling point, the thing that makes your property stand out from the others?

Do your research – What types of properties get the most interest from rental portals? Where does your property fit?

Ease of use – This is where transport links prove their worth. How many ways are there to get to your property? Airports, ferries, car, train routes should all be taken into consideration, especially at the times of the year that you intend to rent the property.

Furnishings – If you can afford to refurnish your property before listing it for rent try and invest in quality furniture that will last. Also, as tempting as it may be to go with cheap and cheerful, on-offer furniture packages that are offered, try and resist them. You want your property to stand out from others and it won’t if it has the same colour scheme, kitchen units, accessories, fittings and furnishings as lots of others. You are an individual, so make your property individual!

Decorate for mass appeal – Remember, not everyone wants to sleep in a pink bedroom with yellow stars! While retaining your individuality try and stick to neutral colours that everyone will like and that are easy to touch up on a regular basis. Invest in quality paints as well – it really will be cheaper in the long run.

Prying eyes – If you intend to leave some of your own things in the property while you rent it out take photos to prove condition in case they get damaged later. If you don’t want your things used, viewed, or discussed then secure them out of the way!

Think customer – Think what you would like from a rental property and make two lists, one of essentials and one of added extras. Make sure you tick off every item on your essentials list before you start sorting out added extras. For example, if your market includes young children you’ll need to cater for them by providing high chairs, cots etc. The two most frequently requested items are a washing machine and access to the internet.

In Part Two we will be helping you navigate the tricky waters of pricing your rental property!

Chris Marshall
This post was written by
Chris has lived and worked in the UK, USA and Spain before settling down in Almerimar, Spain in 2003, where he spends his time time running Almerimar Life, writing on a freelance basis for a number of papers and clients blogs, broadcasting regularly on a number of radio stations and along Sands running ALStrays - a cat re-homing and transport project he set up with his wife, which also transports dogs to the UK and throughout Europe