As many of you will know, especially those who have been following me for a while, Patrick and I have been running a property business for the last six years. The main part of our business has been renovating/developing properties and alongside that, blogging and interior design.
After buying and renovating our home in Dorset we decided to pause the developing side of things until the market settles a bit – tax changes and the vote to leave the EU made things feel a little risky to continue renovating and flipping houses in the short-term, so we decided to look at other ways to make property pay for itself and keep our property business going.
Holiday letting is something that we’ve always wanted to do in the past – we just never kept a property long enough! We’ve always loved the idea of creating beautiful spaces and then sharing them with other people – a real home away from home where people can relax and feel pampered. Last year we made our first investment in a property that we planned to keep for a while and use ourselves, but holiday let as well to produce an income – a small garden flat in Notting Hill.
So far it’s been great and we’ve been so pleased with our decision. We bought the flat in January 2016 and spent a few months updating it – new kitchen and bathroom, as well as full redecoration and it was ready to rent last summer.
The first few bookings we had were through a high-end company that specialises in London flats – we chose an exclusive company thinking that the clients would look after it really well, especially as everything was brand new. We couldn’t have been more wrong – after only a few bookings it was in a mess. Carpets stained, sofas and cushions marked and just generally looking very sad. We were really upset as we had put so much effort into making it lovely for guests!
After that we decided to list the flat on Airbnb instead and haven’t looked back since – it’s such a simple website to use, the guests have all been really wonderful and the bookings enable us to have a solid and regular income.
I think the fact that all parties are reviewed (the property, you as a host, as well as the guests), means that people really do look after your home and we have met some really lovely people through using the site.
I wanted to write this post to explain a little bit about the process in case any of you are interested in listing your home. For us it’s been amazing as we get to use the flat when we want to, but the income from the rent means all costs are covered and we also make a profit too.
The website is so simple to use – easy to upload all the images and information and really easy to use to see all updates, progress with bookings and income, which really helps for our tax returns. We can just download all the information and send it straight to our accountant.
In terms of getting your home ready, it really is simple. We just make sure we tidy up and clean it really thoroughly. We remove some of our personal belongings, but I always think good to leave a few – then people remember that it is someone’s home rather than a hotel and treat it with more respect.
We leave fresh flowers, some kitchen essentials such as tea, coffee, milk etc and make sure there are also some luxuries available such as a Nespresso machine (with capsules) and branded products, such as Jo Malone or Molton Brown, in the bathroom for them to use.
If you have outside space also pay attention to this – we always leave the patio really clean and welcoming and make sure to dead head all the flowers etc before people arrive. I think all these little things really make a difference and every bit of effort you put in, you benefit from as I think you can charge more for a home that is more welcoming and has those extra touches. Our flat is now listed in new Airbnb Plus, which highlights properties that do have these extra bits.
If you are interested in listing your property you can find out more here, or feel free to message me with any questions! We have found it so good that we now also list our home in Menorca as well as part of our Dorset house on the site too.
This post was is sponsored by Airbnb, but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Photography by Patrick Butler-Madden