How things have changed so quickly!
This article was written before the shut down but we feel the advice still stands as the season has been delayed somewhat. We hope that the holiday makers return soon and the positive note is that the majority of the self catering clients have not cancelled but have re-booked for next year or later this season. The other good news is that Summer Bookings are going through the roof as many people are assuming they will not be able to go abroad this year. We hope you are all keeping well, sane and look forward to talking to you soon.
Chartsedge Managing Director Miles’ wife Nicki owns and runs Bespoke Devon – a high end Holiday Letting Property Management company in Devon. She’s kindly given some tips for what owners need to do to get their Holiday Let properties “Season Ready”.
Nicki commented “The beginning of the year is where I report to my clients of the work they need to do at their properties to keep them up to scratch. However, this should not just be reactive such as fixing/replacing the dodgy towel heater, but should be used as a time to improve the property or looking at putting in systems that make it more efficient”. Here’s Nicki’s top tips for Getting your Holiday Home Season Ready:
1) Locks and keys – This is the bane of many holiday owners lives and causes by far the most calls from Holiday Tenants to the management company (or if you are managing the property yourself , you) usually late at night! It is best to check each and every door for sticking or stiffness before use by guests.
Nowadays for convenience, the vast majority of holiday homes have a key boxes, which are incredibly useful, and save a lot of time and trouble. If you use one of these, then do choose one that is certified, easy to use and located in a light area where you can easily read the numbers. The usual call we have is “I have lost the key at the beach” …… solution, have another key box hidden somewhere on the outside of the house with a spare key. This also helps when the cleaners arrive at changeovers and the guests have “helpfully” put the key back through the letterbox on their departure meaning the cleaners can’t get in. You would not believe how many times this happens!
2) Decorating – It’s very important to make sure you’re holiday home is both fit for purpose, and also looking fantastic! The holiday home market is very competitive one. With holiday makers not shy of sharing their opinions… Nobody wants a bad review! So, this is your time to shine, and show off your property to the best it can be. Make sure everything has a fresh lick of paint, wallpaper, and is completely ready for the holiday season. Getting the decorators in early in the year is easier than later in the year too. Decorating contractors and tradesmen tend to be much busier as the year progresses.
3) Deep Clean – Having an immaculate house at the beginning of the season makes it much easier to keep clean through the season. This is essential at the start of the season to show your property at it’s best. A professional deep clean service is best, and will take care of everything at once. The cleaners can report on any damages you may miss hidden beneath wardrobes, behind beds etc.
4) Electrical Items – Although not a legal requirement, we ask our clients to have all their electrical appliances PAT (Portable Appliance Test) tested by a qualified electrician every year to make sure everything is safe and highlights any problems. This keeps the guests safe and gives you piece of mind. Ensure all devices such as TV, Freeview, Sky box, etc. all function correctly. And remember to put any new instructions for use in the Guests handbook.
5) Linen and Towels – This is the time to make sure that all your bed sheets and linen are ready. It is best to have matching linen and towels and not have different colour schemes for separate bedrooms. Doing this makes life easier for you and the changeover staff as they will be interchangeable between rooms. The preferred and easiest colour is White. In many cases our clients rent their sheets and towels from a linen company that also does their laundry. One of the best companies in Devon is Eco Laundry which has great Green credentials and can deliver to your door step/management company.
6) Gardens – When it finally stops raining now is a good time to check the garden especially after all the recent storms. Think back to summer and problems such as broken steps, loose patio tiles. etc. and get them fixed. Big trees in your garden? …It may well be advisable to get a Tree Specialist to inspect them to make sure they are safe. This is also the time to check/replace that BBQ and make sure the garden furniture is all well and good.
7) Gutters – Again after all these storms it is essential to check all the gutters are running properly and are free from debris. With flooding an ever-increasing threat, ensuring drainage is clear and water is running away is a must-do nowadays.
8) Boiler Service – Whether you have an oil, gas or electric boiler it is essential, and a legal requirement, to have these inspected once a year. Make sure for your own peace of mind and that of your guests that this is done.
9) Chimneys – This is the time to get them swept as they will still be in use over the next few months but you are more likely to have gaps in your bookings to enable the chimney sweep to visit.
10) Septic Tank – with new Septic Tank regulations having come into force in January, it is a good time to have your septic tank surveyed to check it is empty and functioning correctly but also to find out if it complies with the new regulations. It could be an expensive item to replace/ refurbish, so best to know and plan for the cost. When you come to sell your property this will have to comply otherwise the sale will not go through.
11) Private water supply – Most properties are connected to one of the main water suppliers. However, if you have a private water supply, have the Salts and Ultra Violet been checked/replaced? It’s a good idea to get certified before the season starts.
12) Fire Risk Assessment – It is a legal requirement to have a Fire Risk Assessment for any property that has paying guests. Although you don’t have to do this every year, it is well worth asking an expert to check your property. Regulations change regularly, and if you don’t comply this may void your insurance.
13) Risk Assessment – These are becoming more and more relevant as Insurance Companies cover themselves and include access routes, trip hazards, fire risks, providing helpful emergency numbers etc. A good article can be found on line at Helpful Holidays. There are also templates on line, or you can ask your management company to do this for you.
Services like Bespoke Devon can take care of all the above, and can save you a lot of time. If however, you are managing your property yourself, do make sure you are complying with all the regulations and laws. Taking care of preparatory work early on avoids many of the problems that can raise their head in peak season.
I hope you have found these tips for Getting Your Holiday Home Season Ready useful. Feel free to contact us at Bespoke Devon if you have a holiday home or are thinking of buying one and we can talk you through what is needed.
Nicki Gray – Managing Director, Bespoke Devon
Thanks Nicki for your great advice. Remember if you want an up to date value of your property or are thinking of buying a holiday home you can contact us at Chartsedge for a no obligation chat. We are experts in Holiday Homes For Sale in Devon and Cornwall.