So, you’ve decided to take the first steps and buy your first holiday home. This venture can be both financially and emotionally rewarding… However, there are several things you need to be aware of to make sure everything runs smoothly. We’ve pulled together a few top tips to assist new owners with the process.
How do you decide on which is the right property for you? As obvious as it may sound, the first thing to consider is how much time and money do you want to invest. There is no point blowing all of your budget on the purchase of a Grade II listed building only to discover you’ve used up all your allocated funds and there is little left for the renovations. Furthermore, you may require planning permission which isn’t always granted and can take a considerable amount of time to pass.
There are many different styles of property that can be turned into a successful holiday home, of course, a traditional cottage with original features will always be popular as will a stylish apartment in a prime location such as York. However, there are many other options that work equally as well. If you are looking for a property to be up and running quickly you may pick an existing holiday home but remember the property needs to work as a business, so try not to get too emotionally involved along the way… we know this can be easier said than done!
Barn conversions always prove popular with guests particularly if they contain original features, offer outside space and are in a lovely rural location. If you are lucky enough to have unused farm buildings then these can be ripe for conversion and are a profitable way of diversifying. If there is space to incorporate an en-suite bedroom to the ground floor then this is definitely worth considering, as this will make the property much more appealing for guests with reduced mobility.
Two- bedroom properties tend to prove a popular choice with a variety of different groups; romantic breaks for two, friends or couples holidaying together, as well as small families. A two-bedroom property with two en-suite bathrooms will tend to receive higher occupancy levels over a three-bedroom property offering only one family bathroom. We have seen an increased demand for larger properties as groups of friends and extended families choose to holiday together. If you decide to purchase a larger house then try to create sociable spaces such as kitchen/diners, as well as offering separate quiet areas where individuals can break away and enjoy some downtime. Having just a small outside space is important even if it’s just a small lawned area, it will allow a place for guests to sit out and enjoy a lazy breakfast or an evening G&T.
Deciding on the perfect spot for your holiday property is a key factor to its success, but please be aware that in considering a remote rural location you may find it more difficult to find a housekeeper to do the changeovers for you which could prove problematic. You may well enjoy a remote location yourself but consider if your guests will. Being miles away from a village or pub may deter a lot of guests. You may also struggle to get Wi-Fi if the property is off the beaten track.
There are many lovely villages and market towns across North Yorkshire so ensure you choose wisely and select one with a good supply of foodie pubs, tea rooms and a variety of independent shops. If there are local attractions and scenic walks close by, you’ll also attract tourists. The more you can reference your property in the context of “well-known, well-loved” locations the better. It may seem like a small point but if your property is within walking distance of a good pub or restaurant it will make a significant difference to your bookings. Luckily, North Yorkshire is blessed with many good eateries so do your research, get out and explore and find those little gems and start investigating properties in the areas that you like.
It is important to understand who your property will appeal to. Maximising your occupancy levels is about understanding your target market and doing everything you can to appeal to that particular market, whatever the size of the property you may consider adding under-floor heating, a wood-burning stove or an open fire in all reception rooms?
If you are looking to buy a larger holiday home, consider how you might maximise its appeal to the family/friends market. Can you include a specified outdoor area for children, perhaps incorporate a games room or install a hot tub? It is important to consider the ratio of bathrooms to bedrooms as mixed groups of friends/families will generally expect their own bathroom.
If you have decided upon a small one-bedroom property think about why couples would choose your property over another, what makes it special? What is its USP? Perhaps you could add a free-standing bath to the master bedroom or maybe even a four-poster bed to make it special.
Are you prepared to accept pets? We would highly recommend that you do, there are many more families with at least one dog and they will want to bring him/her on holiday with them, so saying “no” to this ever-increasing market will certainly reflect in your bookings. If you do go down this route then ensure you provide a secure garden, add easy to clean flooring, provide food bowls, blankets, a spare lead, a few toys and some dog treats to show you care…
We would always recommend getting a Letting Agent involved in the early stages of the process, their expert advice will be invaluable. It’s far easier to get the design and layout right from the outset than having to make expensive changes at a later date. So, if you are thinking of buying a holiday home, give us a call on 01748 850 333 and we’d be delighted to help…