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Holiday homes: Pitfalls of going alone

"Personal circumstances may dictate one route or another as it is clearly impractical to arrange the lettings and management if you are far away. However, many owners in the current climate are now looking at letting their holiday cottage completely on their own to save money and avoid agents fees. From experience, I would suggest that they think long and hard before going down this route’

‘In 2005 I decided I was such a novice that the best thing would be to use an agent whilst at the same time I dabbled in online sites , putting up an ad myself to see what happened. Immediately my email became clogged with requests for bookings through the ever popular summer months, the agent meanwhile got an article in the national press on my property, let several ‘unexciting’ weeks and weekends out of those glamorous summer months, found me a cleaner, helped me set the prices and ensured that I complied with all the current regulations. We were off!’

‘The first year, the agent consistently got me lettings in what the trade calls the ‘shoulder months’. Arguably to fill the summer months is relatively easy, particularly if, like me, your cottage is sitting in a prime seaside location, the real art is keeping the bookings flowing throughout the year (the shoulder months). By Year 2, I was taking about a third of the bookings and this pattern continued until 2011, when my bookings took a dive to just 10% of the total bookings presumably because of the economic climate. My agent however continued to perform well and the year ended with a higher occupancy rate than 2010. After 6 years, I had got fed up with dealing with all the enquiries, the impossible requests, the changes of cleaners, the aftermath of the mess some guests left and found I loved the agent taking the strain. They achieved higher rental levels than I would have done and as a result paid their own way’

‘As an agent is only paid for results, there is no reason not to instruct one, if you achieve all the bookings, they don’t earn anything but my goodness they make for an easier less stressful life. That is of course as long as you have the ‘right’ agent – my first foray into holiday agencies was a nightmare and I would never recommend one of the ‘big’ boys as the service is so impersonal and the terms completely inflexible (they won’t let you do your own lettings) but if you find a sympathetic, efficient agent the benefits they will bring and the income they will generate far outweighs their fees’

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0 thoughts on “Holiday homes: Pitfalls of going alone

  1. For some owners using a letting agent works, for others they profit from going alone.

    There are benefits and disadvantages to both:
    Benefits: http://www.holidayhomeinformation.co.uk/uk/using-an-agency/the-advantages-of-using-a-holiday-lettings-agent.html
    Downsides: http://www.holidayhomeinformation.co.uk/uk/using-an-agency/the-disadvantages-of-using-a-holiday-lettings-agent.html

    A good letting agent will push your property to a far wider audience and save you a massive amount of time.

  2. Some good points.

    It’s better to have lots of bookings from an agent who takes a percentage than trying to do it yourself (because of the fees), and getting a low level of bookings.

    However, if you are prepared to do the marketing work, and are in it for the long run, getting your own bookings is achievable. You can also be more flexible with dates.

    If going down the agency route, check if they have exclusivity and whether they are flexible in letting you get your own bookings.