The Scottish Borders Guide To Getting Started with Your Holiday Let – Part 1

Posted by Linda Maclaughlan on 24 April 2018


You may be considering entering the holiday rental market for a variety of reasons; you may already have a property portfolio with long term tenants and are feeling fed up of the rent arrears or property damage.

Perhaps you have a property currently on the market but unable to sell in these difficult times. Or, you may be needing to move home but wish to keep your current property and use it once in a while or you may just fancy embarking on a new career in the holiday accommodation sector.

Whatever reason has brought you to this guide, I hope to equip you with the information you need to decide whether the holiday rental market is right for you – and if so, what you need to do to become successful in what is a very competitive but rewarding market.

So sit back, relax and let me tell you more…

Why Holiday Rentals?

Holiday lets: Roses over the door or a thorn in your side?

Before you don your rose-tinted glasses and think that a holiday rental is your ticket to a £1,000 per week goldmine, take a long, hard look at the facts and figures.

Holiday rentals are no… ermmm, well… holiday! They are bloody hard work. If you think you can chuck some of granny’s old furniture into your dilapidated old cottage and watch the money roll in, then think again.

Holiday rentals, like all businesses, are not for the faint-hearted. You get back what you are prepared to put in. But providing a memorable holiday for someone that will stay with them forever might just be worth its weight in gold.

In 2014, an incredible 15.5 million overnight tourism trips were taken in Scotland, costing a grand total of £4.8 billion – so, providing these memories could also prove profitable for you.

Roses over the door: The positive side of holiday lets

  • The right property can produce far greater returns than letting to a long-term tenant.
  • There are no complicated leases for holiday lets – just a simple contract.
  • Guests tend to take good care of property when staying there
  • You and your family can use the property when it’s free, too
  • Depending on rateable value and number of properties you own, you could receive a 100% rebate on council tax. (Although you may still need to pay for household waste collection)
  • You are providing guests with holiday memories – and some of them just may turn out to be lifelong friends

Thorn in your side:The negative side to holiday lets

  • A holiday let is far more labour intensive than having a long-term tenant. The property needs to be thoroughly cleaned, with linen laundered and maintained weekly – but often more frequently, with short breaks and even one night stays becoming ever popular
  • There are more upfront and general running costs than having long term tenant
  • Income can be seasonal whilst costs certainly aren’t

Still on the fence? Read my blog post ‘Things to Consider to Make Your Holiday Let a Success’.

Finding The right property: Think unique!

Your property doesn’t have to be the cutest chocolate box cottage or the plushest penthouse pad. It doesn’t even need to have stunning sea views or city skylines in order to be successful.

In fact one of my successful properties was a simple ex local authority bungalow. A property which, believe it or not, was turned down by an agency without them even seeing it as it was an ex council house!

The holiday rental market is awash with properties so you need to stand out and be better than everyone else. You don’t need to have the best property but you do need to make the best holiday memories. Think unique to ensure bookings all year round!

What you have to remember is that most people come on holiday to have fun, relax and spend precious time with loved ones and where they choose to stay will become part of those memories.

You need to make sure that they remember your holiday rental for all the right reasons. You may be selling a holiday rental, but they will be buying a holiday experience.

Where do you find such a property? Well, sometimes right on your doorstep. In fact it may be the actual property you are living in! Sometimes the unique features that make you love your home are the exact same ones that will appeal to guests.

This in fact happened to me; I found a property I adored, situated in a quiet leafy area of a beautiful historic town with several stunning tourist locations and within a 2-minute walk to the town centre.

Now, I’m not suggesting you all need to move out of your beloved homes, but analysing why you live where you do could give you some vital clues to finding that perfect holiday let.

Living in close proximity to your holiday let can also have a huge advantage also, in your quest to be the best; the personal touch goes a long way.

But what if you’re not quite ready to move out of your own home and give it up to guests?

Well, if you think that the location is good, then why not research what is for sale locally? Not sure about the location? Ask yourself this question: ‘Why would someone want to holiday here?’

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