Will you choose an agency or go it alone? Maria Gendall of Forever Cornwall shares some advice.
The idea of owning a holiday home may be an achievable goal for you. And if so, letting it successfully is probably the key to making the dream come true. For most, a good letting income is essential. But also, you want owning your holiday home to be a pleasure, not a burden.
If you are thinking of letting, one of the first questions you’ll probably ask yourself is whether to appoint a holiday cottage agency, or to go it alone using one of the online ‘marketplaces’ like HomeAway or AirBnb. Using these websites is appealing, especially as an easy way to get started. After all, you can just log on, and your mini-business is up and running.
Of course, if you go with an agency there will be more commission to pay, but all good agencies will aim to help you to achieve a higher income than you would by going it alone. Maria Gendall of Forever Cornwall Unique Retreats tells us: “We can almost certainly win you more year-round occupancy, and command higher weekly rates than the DIY websites, meaning that even with higher commission, you are better off. By appointing an agency you’ll have someone else to take the strain of all those emails, and you can rest assured you have an expert to take on complaints and problems, should things go wrong with a tricky customer.” As Mrs T in Carbis Bay recently told us: “I started letting without an agency this year, and it’s been quite a successful summer — but it was far more stressful than I imagined as I had to be constantly online, and I’m not sure if I’m going to get the year-round occupancy I need.”
A good agency will be getting the bookings you need and dealing with all the customer service. You’ll also have professional advice on hand, when it comes to ensuring that you are really customer-ready as well as legally compliant.
The good news is that there are plenty of great cottage agencies in Cornwall who are only too happy to help. From big ones offering a complete top-to-toe management service, to those specialising in a particular area or type of property, like Forever Cornwall. Most will be happy to give you free, no-commitment advice. If you decide on using an agency make sure you choose one that’s right for you. Then you can get on with your life, and ensure your holiday home dream finally comes true.