Creating a top notch holiday cottage is a lifestyle choice and can be very rewarding. Investing in bricks and mortar (or thatch and cob) in the current UK property market is a long term game and even more so if you are considering dipping your toes in the holiday letting business. Repeat business is the key.
Your country bolt hole can earn its keep, whilst reserving some time for your own weekend escapes, but for your cottage to be considered a Furnished Holiday Letting for UK tax purposes it must meet the following criteria:
The holiday cottage must be available for rent to the public for at least 210 days of the year as of April 2012, and actually occupied with paying guests for at least 105 days in the year as of April 2012.
Jude Dalton of New Forest Living, an established holiday cottage business based in the New Forest, has the following advice; ‘Select an area which ticks the boxes for an all season destination – two hours from Greater London, for example, provides a good target audience for weekend and mid week breaks’.
‘Properties can be cheaper to buy in more inaccessible areas, but they have to be really special to attract year round bookings. Think brand names too – The New Forest, The Lake District, The Cotswolds – it’s easier to push the benefits of a holiday in such locations as they are already familiar destinations for potential bookers’.
Jude also suggests purchasing an existing holiday let to cut down on leg work researching different markets. ‘Benefits include an existing customer base, trading accounts and usually the contents of the cottage included in the purchase price. Book a short break yourselves to road test the holiday vibe before putting in your offer’.
If you already live in a popular UK holiday destination, self managing your own holiday let will yield greater returns than if you delegate the turnarounds to management companies. But if you are based in Pimlico and dream of a cottage in the New Forest, then realistically the round trip to make the beds or meet an emergency plumber on site isn’t very practical.
So, to factor in the cost of turnarounds, your holiday cottage has to be something really special to generate the cash. Even two bed cottages can command a good rental price which will give you the profit levels to employ your own local housekeeper.
‘But not just any ordinary two bedroomed cottage’ says Jude, who uses Hunters Moon in Godshill, New Forest as a good bench mark, http://www.newforestliving.co.uk/holidaycottage/hunters-moon-72/
‘A good nights sleep on pocket sprung king size beds, ensuite bathrooms and shower rooms, log fires, wifi, iPod docking, range cooker, off road parking and a pretty and private garden, plus a good pub within walking distance. Result.’
Quite a tall order, the but internet is a very transparent medium and a gorgeous photo shoot will get the aspirational message over and set your holiday cottage apart from the average self catering holiday let.
If you’re interested in buying a cottage for holiday lettings in The New Forest, Jude and the team at New Forest Living would be more than happy to help you. See their website for further details about their service: http://www.newforestliving.co.uk/property-owners/
Telephone 0845 680 0173
New Forest Living Ltd, 2A Admirals Way, Hythe, New Forest, Hampshire S045 6RU