Although not essential in all countries it is always best practice to have everyone sign a rental agreement. The agreement should include the Terms & Conditions applicable to the occupant. The names of the occupant, the dates of the intended stay, the deposit paid, disclaimer for withholding the deposit for early departure or damage fees.
Location & Price
For many travellers location is a must and helps determine the price people are willing to pay. Remember to always choose your rental fee carefully and ensure it is competitive to other surrounding rental properties. Look in the local estate agents that rent properties in your area and compare your price.
Employing a Local Agent
If it is a holiday home you are renting then most likely, you will not live close by. You will need to find a reputable person or company to care for and manage your property while you are absent. It is important for your agent to maintain your property, give a routine check-up, be able to organise maintenance and clean up after each client. It is also a very good idea for agents to provide a welcome pack for your customers. This could include a local map, a dining out or eating in guide, where to buy good local food, a bottle of wine or some chocolates, even some milk and cereal. Remember a dirty house and poor service does not promote repeat custom. The welcome pack should definitely include in house instructions and important telephone numbers. For example instructions could be how to open windows or use the hot water and boiler.
You can’t rely solely on your agent to find occupants for your home. If you want to rent your property while you are away you are going to have to do some work. However that doesn’t mean it is going to be hard and you don’t have to pay huge advertising costs. You just need to know where to get your property seen. Most people search for holiday properties online. For this reason it is a very good idea to have your own website with images that reflect the finest qualities of your property with important contact details and descriptions. If you don’t have a website, create one, it doesn’t have to be fancy and you can create one easily for free. Many domain registrars such as domainmonster.com often allow you to create a simple websites using one of their templates for free. When it comes to property presentation is a must. If you don’t have a knack for photography it might be worthwhile paying for a photographer to expertly take photos of your property. You can then publish these photos on your site and submit them to other websites.
1) If you have a website you can submit your website to numerous business and travel directories for free. There are many directories online which you can submit your website to such as www.onlinetravelworld.co.uk. However these are limited, you can only submit your link. But they are still important to increase your websites presence.
2) There are also many property sites you can submit your details and upload an image that best showcases your property. But you will have to pay a yearly subscription fee or commission with each rental.
3) Another preferred option would be to find websites that allow you to advertise for free. I found Travel Jigsaw which allows you to submit your property for free on their property pages. They also feature property in their monthly newsletter which is sent to over 500,000 people. This option is an excellent way to reach many potential customers without costs of advertising.
4) One last option would be to pay for advertisements in magazines and newspapers. Of course newspapers are reaching a mass market and appealing to those people who skim through the paper with no purpose of booking property. Holiday magazines are ideally targeted towards people looking to go on holiday, but the downside is they are expensive.
My advice is not to follow one channel of marketing but to embrace as many as you can to maximise your reach and optimise your earnings.
Although it helps to offer a fully equipped house you don’t want to buy new equipment with money out of your own pocket each time you rent your property. By creating a list of amenities and equipment your agent will be able to check everything each time they check out a customer. The agent should make your customers aware of damage fees accrued by any breakages and where to report any accidents if they occur. You might also want to take photos of inside your property to keep track of wear and tear.
Don’t forget to check the local rules and regulations when renting property abroad. Different countries will have different fire stipulations and regulations. Therefore you might have to reconsider the type of furniture you provide, for example is it flame retardant, do you have enough fire exits, extinguishers and smoke alarms? Although different countries have different regulations when it comes to peoples safety you can’t go overboard. However this area will need researching as your property might need a little redevelopment to comply with health and safety laws.
If your agent takes your booking they will probably also deal with the payment and collect a deposit and full payment before they leave. If you achieve a booking through your online advertisement you will need to consider how you will collect payment. This can be done through direct bank transfer or through a 3rd party online merchant. Some online merchants such as PayaPal offer online fraud protection. This means you are protected from customers who use unwarranted and stolen credit cards. Nevertheless care should be taken when accepting payments.
These are just a few points for consideration aimed to help you think about renting your property abroad. If in doubt, always research into doing something before doing actually doing it.