To non-landlords, life for a Buy-to-Let (BTL) landlord can often look like a road to riches. The view from a short-term lets landlord’s perspective is a lot more complicated! They know it requires hard work, clear and careful thinking and a dash of luck from time-to-time.
Landlords must make lots of decisions that affect the potential profit of their investment venture. One of those is whether to work in short- or long-term lets. In this post, we’re going to take a look at short-term lets and why they work from some landlords. We’ll also pinpoint a few potential problems – because, as all things in life – no decision is problem free.
Choosing the Right Property for Short-Term Lets
Short-term tenants are a diverse bunch. They stretch from those who want a holiday let to business tenants on short working contracts – and many other needs in between. This makes choosing the perfect short-term let quite tough.
Regardless of which type of short-term tenant you’re targeting, you need a property that’s easy-to-maintain. That means if you have a garden, turn into an easy-to-maintain one. Keep the décor bright but your carpets and rugs on the darker side, to avoid regular replacement.
Short-Term Lets in the City
Running a short-term city let is one that can appeal to a wide range of tenants. You’ll attract workers on short contracts. But, they also appeal to holiday tenants who fancy a spot of city sight-seeing. Then, you’ve also got those who might be between homes. Who are perhaps moving from rented to an owned home, but the dates didn’t quite fit.
But, while your scope for income is wide, it also comes with an onus on location and plenty of regular maintenance. And, to get things perfect, you need to put some thought into what each different group needs.
It’s fairly safe to group short-term contract workers and those in between homes, together. They want a clean, bright and easy-to-run flat that’s got excellent transport links and is secure and safe. That means no bills, no memorabilia, just fresh, clean – perhaps décor a little on the bland side. That’s because to them, the property is more of a familiar base. Somewhere that’s convenient were they can relax. It’s not a long-term home to make their own and impress friends with.
Of course, you’ll need to ensure the bathroom and kitchen are pristine and come fully equipped. It’s also very helpful to have all the instructions for appliances and boilers laminated and together in a draw or folder. Add any useful contact numbers, website and addresses in there too.
All of this should ensure recommendations and good reviews. That’s very helpful as the rent charged for the convenience of a short-let, is typically higher than for longer tenancies.
Short-Term Holiday Lets
Properties that fall under holiday lets can be anything from a caravan to an upmarket city apartment. They also include:
- Countryside cottages.
- Character homes.
- Larger properties for weekend groups of ten or more.
It’s a good idea to have your holiday let close to home or an excellent property management firm. That way yourself, or someone you trust, is always on hand to deal with additional requests, problems or needs.
Specialising in a particular type of holiday let can be a good idea as it means you can use a similar plan for each property you own. A good way to avoid flipping between different ways of working.
- For countryside cottages try to ensure the right décor. Add a personal touch with a basket of local produce and provide info on local walks and areas of local interest ahead of arrival.
- Character homes could include information about how the property was built, details on local trades and materials. Or, offer guests the option to try something specific to the property or area.
- Large homes for big groups often require online shopping delivery details, details of local pubs that are good for groups. Information on places to visit within walking distance is also a good idea.
It can be a lot to get together at first. But, once you’ve done it, the same process can be easily replicated for other, similar properties.
Short-term lets – where ever the property and whatever your market – require a lot of maintenance. Wear-and-tear is naturally higher with a bigger turnover of guests. Suitcases bang walls and corners, so need touching up – a lot. The kitchen and bathroom will be unfamiliar at first, to everyone. That means they must always be checked they’re in excellent working order and pristine, for each new tenant.
You’ll also likely need a cleaner who might clean weekly while the tenants are there. Employing one who will also perform a deeper, more thorough job between tenants, is a good idea, too. And, a never-ending supply of good quality linens and towels to ensure it never looks shabby.
The Hard Work is Worth the Rewards
As you can see, it is hard work to run a short-term let. But, the financial rewards – and regular return of some happy and trustworthy tenants – make it worthwhile. Most of the time!
When it comes to being a landlord, only you can know what would suit you best – both personally and financially. Do your research, take your time but once you make your decision, work hard to reap those potential rewards.
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Alessio Tondo & Fabio Tarantino
Two ordinary guys who turned their passion into a business.
Rent 2 Rent specialists, London
Focused on how to Increase Your Rental Income.