Make your bolthole pay its way
Sunday, 22 July 2012

Make your bolthole pay its way

With a surge in demand for villa rentals this summer – it makes sense to get your holiday home earning its keep, says property expert Laura Henderson

If you’re only spending a few weeks a year at your property, it makes sense to get some rental mileage out of it, to help pay towards its upkeep. Certain countries impose restrictions on short-term lets to protect their own full-time residents – the States is a case in point. Likewise in Spain, you need to register and seek permission from the local authority if you want to rent your home.

Rental income generated on a second home abroad is subject to UK income tax based on your marginal rate. You can, however, claim for certain expenses and thereby reduce your tax liability. Typically, these will include repairs, utility bills, rates, insurance and letting administration costs. If you have a second home mortgage, you can also claim relief against the interest paid on the loan.

Top Tips To Maximise Rentals

Build a profile on the Internet - go for high-volume sites such as, and - study well-written adverts and do the same. Take good quality photos and upload these onto any online profiles. Creating your own web site can also boost your online exposure, but if you use the services of a web designer, just make sure you know how to edit the site yourself.

Start your marketing early - people book their holidays as far as a year in advance (especially ski chalets), so prioritise getting the high-value weeks reserved and be prepared to do deals – it’s a great way of building your repeat customer base.

Spread the word - get listed with the local tourist board and leave a stash of flyers at your local tourist information office.

Seasonalise your pitch - savvy rentals are all about embracing the seasons. Those with ski chalets should switch their marketing focus in the summer months to attract outdoor-lovers – so big up the mountain biking and hiking. Xmas and New Year is the perfect time to showcase the winter wonderland delights on offer with lots of snow clad photos and cosy log-fire close ups. Short breaks geared towards retirees or those with pre-school kids are ideal to slot into the shoulder season.

Listen to client feedback – if they suggest putting a portable TV in the bedroom then do it. In a tough market, tuning into your target audience can make the difference between a same-time-next-year booking and losing out to your competitors. Always think about your target market and what works for them.

Tricks and Mortar: The Little Book of Property Wisdom by Laura Henderson is out now.

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