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Tips for buying a holiday let

The combination of Brexit and the global pandemic have seen a newfound appreciation for both UK staycations and the role of the holiday home. Finding holiday homes to provide you and your family with a guaranteed escape as well as a comparatively secure cash investment and a potential side income through letting, all compounded by the stamp duty holiday, it’s perhaps little surprise that estate agents found enquiries increased threefold across 2020 and 2021. So, for those thinking of investing in a holiday home this year with a view to letting, what are the top tips for buying a holiday let?

Crabshell Quay 3BR waterside apartment

Communicate your goals  

When you speak to those in the know, like your estate agent, communicate with them about your plans, even if they’re vague. Of course, the primary purpose of your property search should be to find something that you like. After all, the chances are that if you like being there, so will other people. However, there may be some nuances that you haven’t thought about or don’t know about. In places like Salcombe, estate agents are seasoned pros when it comes to understanding the appeal of different properties. They know where holidaymakers want to spend time, how far they are prepared to walk to shops and restaurants, the value of a parking space and which roads are most likely to result in a 45-minute traffic jam if you end up behind a tractor. 

Think about the breadth of your market sector 

Whether it’s the volume of bookings or the letting fees you can command, think about the market sector you’re trying to appeal to with your property and why. If you find a house or flat that’s going to command premium prices, you can clearly make more money per booking depending on your margins and there are other benefits as well. However, you may find that you limit your appeal. Equally, consider how many different types of traveller would feel comfortable staying at your property: 

  • Is there space for a family? ?
  • A group of friends? 
  • Is it better for solo travellers or couples?
  • Is there space for guests to bring their dog? 
  • Or can it cater to all sectors?  
There’s no right or wrong, but having an idea of who you’re trying to appeal to will help you to guide you in the buying process. 

Think about the location 

The importance of location is obvious whether you’re buying a permanent residence or a holiday home. However, the difference with the latter is that you may not have quite the same level of understanding of the area if you’re new to the location. Alternatively, if it’s somewhere you have been going on holiday for years then you may have blind spots when it comes to the wants of those who have never been before. Try making a list of the things you want when you go on holiday somewhere you have never been before, as well as the things you know you like doing when you visit this particular location.  

  • How close is it to a corner shop? 
  • Is it walking distance to the beach? 
  • How difficult is it to park? 
  • Is the property south facing? 
  • Is there a lot of noise from road traffic or at particular times of the day?
  • How versatile is the space?  
We’ve already spoken about who your new property is going to appeal to, but then think about how versatile the space is. For example, we work with a charming three-bedroom cottage in the centre of Salcombe where the large third bedroom has a double bed, a single bed and an additional truckle bed, turning it into an optional family bedroom. Meanwhile, upstairs the twin room includes link attached beds that can be used as a double or two singles, depending on who is staying. Bunk beds and sofa beds are also an option for maximising space, but you should always make it clear on your listing if any sleeping options come in the form of temporary arrangements or are better suited to children. 

Does the property have parking? 

It isn’t always possible to find a holiday home with parking. Lots of seaside and countryside locations are small and historic, leaving little room for on- or off-street parking. However, if you can find somewhere with a dedicated space, it raises a property’s appeal and convenience exponentially. Don’t forget, depending on the location and its most popular activities, a parking space isn’t just for the car itself but also for additional ‘toys’ like bodyboards, kayaks and even sailing boats! 

Can you get creative to enhance property appeal? 

No property has everything, but whether it’s amplifying the luxury vibe or making up for a ‘missing’ component, when looking at holiday homes to buy, think about the creative solutions you can present to raise your property’s appeal. For example, if there isn’t any parking at the property itself, can you pay for a permit and factor it into the letting fees? If you’re close to a smart hotel, can you pay for gym or spa membership for your guests so that they have free access? That’s what one of our property owners did at a luxury apartment overlooking Salcombe estuary, turning an already beautiful property into a hotel-level experience. 

Stamp duty holiday extended 

Last but by no means least, for those who are thinking about trying to maximise the benefits of a holiday home this year, there’s definitely still time. With the budget released this month, we learned that the stamp duty holiday has been extended. In addition, holiday homes are continuing to let beyond the traditional summer season and into the winter months as well as 2022. 

If you are buying a holiday home in South Devon or East Cornwall and are interested in letting it, contact HolidayHost for support and advice on holiday let management.