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It was a post on PT by Vanessa that sowed the seed for us. I can't remember the exact wording or post itself as I came upon it by chance but one sentence that stood out was; 'every portfolio should have a Holiday Let...'. Really? Why?
My wife and I had discussed the idea of something other than standard BTLs not long after starting to invest in property. A Holiday Let was an option that hadn't been put on the table up to that point so it became an area of interest.
Being remote, hands-off landlords brings it's own challenges and after selling our home in Suffolk we were at a crossroads. A presence in the UK for our business commitments was a must but we knew whatever we purchased would be empty for long periods as we spend many months outside of the country.
As time progressed a holiday let was becoming more attractive, it could be self financing or at the very least cover it's day to day running costs. It might also serve a dual purpose of being our base when we were in the UK and potentially earn an income when we were not.
Over the course of a few months we began to research potential investments and it became apparent this wasn't going to be solely a business decision. It was important we found somewhere we could live with, be comfortable in and enjoy rather than be totally detached from. This I might add is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to making investment choices...
Due to this not being a full blown investment property we had a certain set of criteria to match.
Access to the countryside - but not isolated in the country / Access to amenities - but easy getaway routes / Two Bedrooms / Stone built / Possible renovation project
We finally settled on the Peak District. A shortlist of houses was made, three in Buxton and one in a vilage called Chapel-en-le-Frith. Chapel as it's known locally wasn't really considered to be 'touristy' which suited us completely.
I couldn't deal with Buxton. Far too busy, streets too narrow (the houses we viewed) and much more bang for your buck in Chapel, so the decision was taken and an offer made on Chapel Mews Cottage.
On first inspection it seemed ok. It had been owned by a young couple and was warm, clean and tidy, homely I think is the right word. I'd done a quick reckoning in my head, new windows, possible new kitchen, painting and decorating and come up with a figure. Problem was I had been on 'living' mode rather than 'investment'. The survey was done and all reported back good.
We soon discovered however (the we being my project manager and me) that renovating a hundred odd year old cottage is somewhat challenging. There are no straight walls, no right angles and the simple job of drilling a hole through an outside wall is a mammoth task.
A visit from the Holiday Letting company also contributed to an extra spend over and above the budget. I was surprised at how different the levels of income achievable were depending on the standard of finish applied. It was a no brainer in the end, if we wanted to maximise rental income then we had to go that extra mile.
The house had the original sliding sash windows, single glazed, wooden and they were full of rot. The kitchen was tired shall we say and floor coverings needed replacing. Also, despite the survey saying otherwise, one wall was particularly prone to damp.
After much debate and despite the cost implication we decided to replace windows with like for like units, albeit modern double glazed ones, so retaining the original look of the cottage. The double glazing company did us proud and the house retained its sliding sash's.
The kitchen was pulled out completely and the damp problem sorted by injecting the walls and adding a membrane, new flooring, electrics and an off-road parking area made outside. Parking in Chapel is an issue that needs dealing with pronto.
A five week project tuned into nearly three months and the budget, well you can imagine what happened to that. The pictures below are just a snapshot of the finished product. As for bookings, well so far so good, I'm more than pleasantly surprised.
Finally I'd like to say thank you to Vanessa for prompting me into writing this post and also to Richard Lyon of Your Property Project, whose organisation skills are immense.
Hi Paul,I believe it was this post that you refer to .... Holiday let - every portfolio should have oneThank you so much for sharing your story with the PT community. I found it very inspiring and you should be very proud of what you and your wife have created. I think you will get a great deal of satisfaction knowing you are providing a comfortable and relaxing space for people when they are taking a break. This is one of the most rewarding things about owning a holiday let imho.It's interesting that you mention the emotional aspect. I think you have to really love an area to own a holiday let there. If you don't, then you won't convey that enthusiasm to your potential guests. When it comes to any form of investment - standard BTL or holiday let - I always think "would I be prepared to live there myself?". I don't subscribe to the line that its a "grey box to make you money". Why should I expect clients/tenants/guests to live there, if I wouldn't myself?. That has always been my personal benchmark.I would like to help you increase your bookings, so perhaps you might like to make an offer of a discount to PT members? Please do so with our blessing.It looks like a cracking little house and you have future-proofed it, which is always a good thing. I am sure it will serve you well and also delight your guests.Well done for creating such a great product and good luck with the bookings. They say it is going to be a bumper summer for holiday lets! See also - Case study: The Accidental Holiday Let
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
WELL DONE ----YOUVE MADE A LOVELY JOB OF IT
Who is now managing your holiday let? Who does the cleaning or provides the keys for the house?
Sykes Holiday Cottages, they provide a fully managed service.
How did you handle upgrading wrt to insulation etc? Presumably it is solid walled (or maybe rubble fill) stone.
The solid walled houses can be cold ;-), especially up there.
Have you had to dodge any flying people on push-bikes yet - I believe that used to be Wiggins country.
We installed a new boiler system, new double glazing throughout and new thicker loft insulation, left the walls alone, way too thick. When I initially visited the house to view it was a particularly cold day. The only things that really stood out as a problem (in that particularly cold weather) were the timber windows, which on closer inspection were pretty much beyond repair (and single glazed).
I thought Bradley was born in Belgium...?
Looks fabulous, hope you do well with it
Faint heart never won fair holiday let...