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lets in the summer and long-term off-season lets works best, and offering/promoting off-season deals can help your occupancy levels.


Marketing is essential Marketing your property is essential. Use high quality photographs making the most of the best features, and use clear wording on user-friendly lettings portals.


When “pitching” your property in adverts, have you


determined who your market is going to be so you can target your advert (and facilities?). Are you going to be aiming for couples or families?


You need to emphasize the location, amenities and relevant features you can provide (high-chairs, bikes, etc). Don’t forget you might need special safety features for pools. Provide customer feedback as part of your


advertising. One agency has reported that offering feedback is now one of things that all their most successful properties share (and note that you must request it to receive it). Consider creating your own website, alongside using the popular portals; embrace social media and last-minute deals if you have void weeks. Word-of-mouth recommendation is of course


always a great source of business, and providing a welcome hamper, bottle of local wine or cake etc helps ensure that positive feedback.


However you manage the rentals, location will be crucial.


Ask yourself if you going to be able to respond to booking enquiries yourself speedily, or is it worth using an agency? Doing this all yourself can be hard work or impractical: how do you fi nd a plumber at 11pm for your home in Spain when you’re in Scotland? Most people have a local person on hand to deal


with key handover and potential problems – so don’t forget to factor in management costs of 10-15 per cent typically. Once you’ve got bookings coming in, you will need to organise your finances. You will need to pay income tax on lets so investigate the tax locally and what running costs/community charges you will have and also what insurance you will need as a landlord.


AIPP CONSUMER GUIDE 31


Consider what currency you will receive your rental income in, and how you will pay management costs locally.


Rentals the main aim If you are buying to rent, then your property choice should be governed by number-crunching rather than emotion. First of all you will need to research whether


you want to go the route of a managed rentals scheme of some type, where a certain level of income may be “assured” or promised. In France this may be a leaseback scheme. The hassle-free aspect of a ready managed- scheme, whether it is one that “guarantees” rental yields or not, will be attractive to hands-off investors but you need to assess whether the income levels weigh up with self-managed rentals - of course you pay for the convenience. But however you manage the rentals, location will be crucial: think about accessibility, most people prefer to be within 90 minutes of an airport, and if it’s a beach location, that the beach is within a 5-10 minute walk. Consider climate. Locations boasting year- round sun or dual-season appeal usually produce the best occupancy levels. Equally, city-let, beach resort apartment, golfing development or ski resort? How saturated is the local market with rental properties, and what will you need to provide to beat the competition? The type and size of property is important.


New-build properties are lower maintenance, and amenities on communal developments (children’s pools, wellness facilities, gyms) are selling points whilst number of bedrooms goes back to who you are trying to target (couples and/or families).


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