All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

OwnersAway Property Rentals

The highs & lows, ups & downs of running a property rentals business near Mojon Hills on the Costa Calida

Peak Booking Time is Here!
12 December 2011

Winter may be upon us, but if you own a rental property or are thinking about letting your Spanish property, it is actually the time of the year to be thinking about summer 2012. Each year people contact us in May and June looking to rent out their properties for the summer season. Sorry folks, I have some bad news for you... you have left it too late! 

Holiday letting is a seasonal business of course, but for the last 4 years our busiest months for summer bookings have been January and February! So don´t leave it too late if you are looking to generate rental income in summer 2012. It´s time to start thinking ahead! Here´s why: 

  • Good villas book early, and our holiday clients know this. Repeat clients want to have the best choice of villas and therefore book well in advance. The record for this has to be the gentleman who arrived home on Friday and re-booked the same villa for his 2012 holiday the next day!
  •  People coming over for special occasions, such as family celebrations or weddings, want to make sure that they can accommodate their guests. They often want more than one villa and book early to get their arrangements firmed up in advance.
  • Parents with kids know when their holidays are going to be, so book ahead to take advantage of any early booking discounts.
  • The miserable winter weather in the UK and the sudden influx of holiday ads on TV gets everyone thinking of summer! At least if the holiday is booked there is something to keep you going through the chilly winter nights!

 Of course there are always last minute bookings as well, but if you want to stay ahead of the game, then get your property on our books soon, and start to market your holiday home professionally well in advance of the 2012 summer season.



Like 0        Published at 11:48   Comments (0)


A Full Clean & Launder Sir??
21 September 2011

When we first set up OwnersAway Property Management, almost all of our holidaymakers and owners were from the UK. Over the last 6 years, this has changed dramatically and we now have a healthy mixture of owners from Sweden, Norway, Spain, Holland and France.

Inevitably, this means that some things get “lost in translation” as whilst I´m fluent enough in Spanish, any attempt to speak Scandinavian languages would end up being a disaster!

Happily, most of these lovely clients speak sufficient English, but recently we still had to laugh at the mix up caused by the owner of a new apartment. Our client wanted to book a “full clean and laundry service” to service the apartment before a guest arrived.

No problem, we said, just leave the used towels and bedding in the bath and we will take away the laundry and wash and iron.

The cleaner duly called in and took away the laundry, thoughtfully folded and placed in bags on the floor. She started the usual process of checking, bagging and tagging the bags of sheets, towels and  .....er , T-shirts, socks, underpants, shorts.. it seemed that our new owner has quite a different definition of full service to ours!

I got a frantic call from our cleaner, worried that she had taken the wrong bag and the gentleman concerned was now being forced to walk around Puerto de Mazarrón naked, but we reassured her that he had indeed flown home.

So we duly washed and ironed his clothes and placed them at the apartment for his next visit. And sent a follow-up note by email to clarify for him exactly what a “full clean & laundry” service entails.

Liz



Like 0        Published at 16:54   Comments (0)


Time For A Property Check
21 September 2011

 

The weather  will soon start to get a little cooler,  the summer holidays are over and the  peak rental period of July and August is drawing to a close.   Autumn is the ideal time to visit your rental property and cast a critical eye over the furniture, fixtures and fittings.

 If your property has been let throughout the summer season, swimming pools, suncream and sand can become your worst enemies! So keeping on top of any minor marks and blemishes means that your property will be in pristine condition for your next guests.

  •  Check sofas, seating and cushions for marks and stains. If you have removeable covers, take them off and wash them. If not, spot clean any marks with upholstery cleaner. Replace any soft furnishings that are torn or marked.
  • Take down and wash any curtains. Wipe security blinds and clean the window frames.
  • Check the condition of your bedding. Clean quilts ready for the winter season and make sure you have enough blankets to keep holidaymakers warm.
  • Have a good look at your towels and tea towels. Replace any older towels that may look a little threadbare. Get rid of any kitchen towels that look stained or are past their best.
  •  Use the quieter months toget on with any small repairs on the property. Check locks, door handles, light fittings etc. for any minor problems. Replace any bulbs that are not working.
  • Check that all you electrical appliances are in good working order. Replace any faulty items. Keep all the instruction manuals and guarantees in a safe place for your tennants reference.

Put yourself in your visitors shoes – what would be their impression of your property? Paying attention to these small details is key to keeping your clients satisfied, and happy holidaymakers means repeat bookings! 

Hope you had a busy summer, here at OwnersAway we certainly did!

Hasta Pronto

Liz

 

 



Like 0        Published at 16:51   Comments (0)


Insurance - Protect Yourself
11 July 2011

The cost of insurance is one of the things that we all grumble about. But it really is a necessary evil – and essential if you are to be a responsible property owner and landlord.

So what do you need to consider for your rental property?

  •       First make sure that you let your insurer know that the home will be rented out for short or long term lets. Some companies charge slightly higher premiums for this, but if you do not disclose this fact, any future claim could be invalid.
  •      Take out a good buildings and contents policy and make sure that it is for the correct amount of cover for both the rebuild cost and the cost of the contents.
  •      Make sure that public liability cover is included. This part protects you in the event of any holidaymakers making a claim against you for any incident occurring whilst they stay at your property.
  •      Read the small print on the policy and make sure that you know exactly what is included in the cover, and that it offers you the right level of protection.
  •       Make sure that you advise your guests that they need to take out their own insurance to cover any lost luggage, theft and similar incidents whilst on holiday.
  • There are many good brokers around, many specialising in services for ex-pats, so shop around and get as much information as you can and as many quotes as possible.

 

The right policy will protect both you and your home, and give you peace of mind that you have the right cover in place for the inevitable mishaps and muddles that occur. There really is no excuse for being "uncovered" in the sun!

Hasta Pronto

Liz



Like 0        Published at 18:17   Comments (0)


Keeping The Plants Alive!
11 May 2011


Now that temperatures are really starting to rise, spare a thought for the poor, thirsty plants in your garden! For smaller plots and gardens a “man with a can” is probably all that you need to water on a regular basis, but for absent owners and those with larger plots, an automated irrigation system provides the perfect answer.

 Automatic irrigation systems are an ideal way to ensure that your garden gets the water it needs in your absence. A simple automatic timer opens and closes a valve to let the water through, and the time interval and duration of watering are set by dials or buttons. These systems are ideal for small gardens, and the timers cost around 30 euros upwards. For those with larger plots, a computerised system can cater for up to 6 different garden areas, allowing you to set different watering requirements and frequencies for each “zone” of the garden. These timing systems start at around 90 euros and are fairly simple to use. No computing qualifications required!

 For both systems, you can choose between battery powered and mains powered systems, with batteries being the easier option for most homes, as the outside tap is not generally close to a power point.

 Whichever system you choose, or if you already have a system installed, take the time at the start of summer to run through a few checks and ensure that your irrigation system is operating correctly.

 

  • Run water through the system, overriding the timer, and check for any leaks. Pipes do degrade and split in the hot sun. Either repair or replace the length of tubing.
  • Make sure that all the watering points correspond to the plants. Sounds obvious, but plants grow and spread and pipes do get kicked or moved around.
  • Check and replace the battery if it has been in the unit since last year.
  • Make sure that the timer is set correctly. It is best to water late evening, so that the water lost through evaporation is less.
  • Remember that a longer watering duration is more effective. Watering for 15 minutes once a day is more effective than more frequent, shorter sessions as the water gets a chance to penetrate the ground and reach the roots of the plant.

 

And if you are looking to rent out a holiday home here in Spain, then an attractive, low maintenance garden will add to the property´s appeal and increase rental potential for minimal investment.



Like 0        Published at 13:23   Comments (0)


Surge In Completions Keeps Us Busy
01 May 2011

We had plenty of holidaymakers over for Easter this year again, slightly less due to the Royal Wedding I think! From around 11am on Friday there was barely an email to answer, as most of the UK and a fair chunk of Europe were glued to the TV watching the spectacular events. But the bride had barely said "I do" when the emails started flying again.. of well, thank you Kate and William for a short respite!

The biggest growth area for us this quarter remains the supply of furniture, lighting and other packs to make the villas "key ready" . Our combination of well priced goods and , for Spain, quick and reliable suppliers is proving a hit with our owners and we continue to pick up more properties to kit out in the lovely resort of Mojon Hills.

Two of these are now ready for rental, almost, and it is just as well, as we have seen the usual surge in phone calls from Spanish clients driving around late at night and trying to sort out the summer holiday after a glass or two of vino tinto. And with more completions in the pipeline, it does seem that the market is slowly recovering, and the investors are out there and keen to take advantage of the lower prices and bank repossessions that have appeared on the market.

May is already looking busy and we have had a lot of potential bookings for school summer holidays, unfortunately many villas are now fully booked,  but as we are continually taking on new properties, we can usually offer some alternative ideas.

Have a lovely May Bank Holiday!

Liz

 



Like 0        Published at 00:05   Comments (0)


To Let Or Not To Let?
11 April 2011

That really is the question if you have a second home here on the Costa Calida. Offering your home for rent can be a profitable and straightforward process, but there are a few things thta you need to bear in mind before taking the plunge! Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you have your property up for sale, please let the rental agent know! Whilst renting can generate a good source of income, you do need to consider the “availability” of the property. If your goal is to sell, then accepting bookings from holidaymakers too far in advance could spell disaster.
  •  Long or short term lets? Short term holiday lets can generate a better weekly rate, especially in the summer season. But a good long term tenant will provide a steady income and the home will be occupied and maintained throughout the year.
  •  Pets welcome? If you allow pets, then you can greatly increase the chances of letting the home, as many long term renters have acquired at least one waif and stray if they have been in Spain for any length of time. You can specify “pets allowed by prior arrangement” and then use your discretion as to what you feel is suitable for your particular property.
  •  Make the house rules clear to potential renters. If you do not allow smoking inside the property, then say so. Make sure that both parties know what is expected of them before entering into any agreements.
  •  Don´t be afraid to ask a good rental agent for advice. Allowing other people to use your holiday home, and your investment, is a big step. Make sure that you understand exactly what is required of you as the owner of the property and landlord. And here´s hoping that you can generate a little extra income in 2011!

Hasta pronto,

Liz

 



Like 0        Published at 18:51   Comments (0)


Talking Spanish in the Sun
31 March 2011

A little more relaxced pace for me this week. One of my clients is over to stay at her villa and had booked a course of Spanish lessons on a daily basis. Despite her reservations, by day 3 she was holding simple conversations and conjugating verbs.

Nothing like a little teaching to get the mind going in the morning and we had a great time covering some basic useful topics like ordering food and instoducing yourself. Today the Spanish lesson took a more practical turn when my lady lost her purse and we went to the supermarket to look for it and then to the Guardia Civil to file a report!

We completed our fitting out of the Mojon Hills apartment, which has been transformed from an empty shell to a stylish rental. Some heavy rain and red dust was a last minute hiccough as we mopped that large terrace several times to keep it presentable until the owners arrived late that night.

They were very happy with the lighting, linens and fiurniture we had ordered and installed. Next week we move on to begin fitting out a villa on the same resort and an apartment on Condado de Alhama.

I have to keep it short this time, out in-house newsletter (sent to all our owners) is due out tomorrow and time is running away with me!



Like 0        Published at 18:51   Comments (0)


Loo Seats And Linens
18 March 2011

A big part of my job is being on call to fix things, and I have to say that in the last 5 years I have managed to get quite "handy" with a screwdriver. Today started well enough, buying linens for a client once again.. but one phone call soon changed all that!

We have some lovely French Canadians staying in one of our villas , and they rang to say that the loo seat had broken. How the mighty are fallen! Within the hour I had sourced the new seat, and was on my hand and knees in the bathroom fitting the replacement. Well it can´t all be glamour I suppose.

So far today, I have fixed a shutter at a villa after an early call from, a client to say that they couldn´t raise the blind, but am off at noon to show some apartments to Spanish clients in the Puerto de Mazarrón area. As ever, they want to be close to the beach and it seems that despite the habit of taking an evening "paseo" on the prom, the Spanish don´t like to have to walk for anything else!

If you are considering renting out your property over here, make sure that your rental agent speaks more than one language, otherwise it really narrows down the potentia rental market if you have to stick to UK clients only. We attract a lot of passing trade from the Spanish, who don´t use the internet in the same way as the rest of the world seems to, and still prefer to call the number off the "Se Alquila" board and talk to a real person.

The downside is that they call me at any time of the day and night!

Hasta Pronto!

 



Like 0        Published at 11:58   Comments (0)


Furnishing your Apartment Can Be Fun!
17 March 2011

Well, it can for me! I have had a lovely week working with a couple from the UK online.. we have never met, yet in the space of 10 days we have managed to start transforming their empty apartment into a key ready rental. The best part for me? They gave me free rein with the lights, linens and much of the accessories. Nothing better then the feeling of looking around what was an empty space and seeing a stylish holiday let emerge.

Useful tips for anyone embarking on this would be ;

  • don´t put the curtain poles up until you have bought your curtains. Spanish curtains are much longer then the UK standard lengths to hide the unsightly shutter mechanisms.
  • shop around for as many quotes as you can and make sure that the installation and IVA is included.
  • Don´t send funds to anyone unless you feel comfortable. Ask for client references and take them up. A good agent will encourage you to do this.
  • Be patient. Delivery and lead times are not like those in the UK and as we approach Semana Santa, there are many local fiestas to mess up your delivery dates!
  • Get sturdy quality stuff. Your rental will be (hopefully) subject to heavy wear and tear from clients.
  • Use a local agent. They will know the good suppliers and any problems can be resolved quickly and without a fuss.

The only thing I´m not looking forward to? Lugging the contents of the kitchen pack,  linen pack and small white goods up 3 flights of stairs to the apartment! Well, at least I might burn off a few calories whilst I work..

Liz



Like 0        Published at 22:10   Comments (0)


Spam post or Abuse? Please let us know




This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x