I'm not sure about letting people who aren't family and friends use it. Where will I put all my things?
It's relatively easy to store your personal effects in a lockable cupboard or wooden chest and then let the property out. Don't remove any items or furniture that will be needed by your guests, just irreplaceable personal or fragile items. You'll probably also want to store away anything you don't want guests misusing.
How can I be sure guests will look after the property?
Be sure to take a damages deposit when someone confirms a booking. This should be in addition to the booking confirmation deposit. Our specimen contract suggests £200, but this can vary depending upon the individual property and furnishings. If you don't manage changeovers yourself, make sure your cleaners let you know about any damage and extra cleaning that was required before you return the deposit. You could ask them to take photographs of any excessive mess/breakages in case your guests dispute the matter.
It's a good idea to communicate well and build up a relationship with your guests before their holiday. If you establish a rapport, they're more likely to treat it like a holiday in a friend's property rather than that of someone they don't know. Consider leaving out a welcome basket for guests, including basic grocery items such as tea and coffee, milk, bread and maybe some flowers or a bottle of wine as an additional touch. This will get their holiday off to a good start and enhance the relationship you've established.
How do I find someone to do the changeovers/cleaning?
Take a look at our Property Services Directory or contact other owners in the area and see who they use. Try and find a flat fee cleaner rather than someone who charges by the hour, that way it is easier for you to budget.
How do I get the keys to guests?
You have various options when it comes to getting the keys to guests. Some owners choose to use a meet and greet service. You could ask a friend or neighbour to do this or employ a professional agency. If you opt for this, make sure both your representative and your guests have each other's phone numbers in case of delays or problems.
Other owners send the keys to their guests before their departure. If you choose this option you need to leave enough time to allow for postage, especially if you or your guests live abroad. You then return their deposit once the keys have been returned.
Alternatively, you could use a fixed position key safe with a reprogrammable combination lock. These are available as part of our Home Safety Packs.
How much should I charge guests to stay in my holiday home?
This will depend upon the time of year, the size and exact location of your property. If you own a two or three bedroom home and you're in an area popular with families, you can afford to charge more during the school holidays, for example.
Peak season will also vary according to climate and local events. Have a look at what people in the area are charging for similar properties and use that to price competitively. You might also like to have a look at our advice page on setting your rental rates.
How many weeks can I expect to let out my holiday home?
If your property is in a family friendly area, then you're likely to experience high demand during school holidays. Factors such as accessibility, airline routes and whether your property is in an area with a long or restricted season are also likely to affect demand. For example, you can expect properties in areas with dual seasonality (e.g. mountain resorts) or year round sunshine to book for more weeks of the year.