From sorting out holiday let insurance to arranging bookings, managing a holiday rental can be time consuming. One solution is to use a holiday letting agent to manage the property on your behalf, but is it right for you?
We explore why you might consider using a letting agent and if you do, what the pros and cons are compared to managing your holiday let yourself.
- What is a holiday letting agent?
- How much are holiday letting agent fees?
- What questions should I ask when choosing a holiday letting agent?
- Is it worth having a letting agent for holiday homes?
- How do I choose a holiday letting agent that’s right for me and my property?
These agents manage holiday homes – just as a traditional letting agents might manage rental properties.
Holiday letting agents will specify the type of services they offer but you can generally expect them to run the property on your behalf. This could include:
- Marketing the property to the right target audience
- Managing bookings, cancellations, changeovers, and cleaning schedules
- Managing inventory and providing welcome or information packs
- Dealing with guest queries and problems
- Ensuring laws and regulations are followed, such as fire and gas safety regulations
The level of service typically falls into two categories – owner-managed and agency-managed. Under an owner-managed package the agent will market your property and manage availability and bookings, but you would be responsible for everything else. An agency-managed package will mean that they manage every aspect of the let with nothing to very-little for you to do.
Do I need a holiday letting agent?
You don’t have to hire a holiday letting agent to manage your property, whether you do or not is completely up to you.
That said, managing and running a holiday home can be time consuming. Not only will you need to deal with advertising, but you’ll also need to oversee changeovers, arrange cleaning schedules and deal with any day-to-day issues that crop up.
If you live close by and have the time to spend managing your holiday home, it could work out well. However, if you live further away or simply don’t have the time, running a holiday home might not be practical.
It’s also worth remembering that holiday letting agents are specialists at what they do. Not only will they know who to target, they should have good knowledge about the local area which can help them successfully advertise your property.
This will depend on the services you opt for. Most holiday let agencies or agents offer different packages which vary in cost. Comprehensive packages including lots of services will naturally cost more than a basic bundle.
As a guide, typical fees range between 15% to 25% of each booking, but a fully managed service could be as much as 50% of the rental fee.
While many holiday letting agencies work in a similar way, they’re responsible for setting their own terms and conditions, so it’s a good idea to understand what these are before you commit. Points to clarify, include:
What will you be charged for and how much will you have to pay?
For example, ask about commission and if there are other admin fees. If you need to register with the agency, check if this is a one-off fee or if you’ll need to register (and pay) annually.
What services are offered and how these are priced?
If there are different packages on offer, be clear on what’s included in each. Check how much each package costs to gauge value for money and ask if you can add on extras part-way through the year. If you can, ask if there’s an admin fee for upgrading services.
How your property will be advertised?
Ask what their marketing strategy is and what advertising and social media platforms will be used. It’s also worth finding out if there are additional costs involved for different levels of advertising. Another related query is whether professional photographs will be used in their marketing and if so, who pays for this.
What the process is for dealing with guest complaints?
Consider if you were a guest and if so, would you be happy with the letting agent’s process for dealing with issues. It’s also a good idea to ask how they deal with issues outside of office hours, and whether they have contacts for tradesmen and will organise these repairs themselves. Although be aware that this is likely to cost you more than if you arranged repairs with your own tradesmen yourself.
What experience does the agent and company have?
Ask about what listings they currently market (and whether they’re all in the same area). If they are, how do they ensure all properties are marketed fairly and how do they set rental prices. You also shouldn’t be afraid to ask for references.
Will you be able to use the property yourself?
With some agencies, you can’t simply decide to stay in the property yourself whenever you like, and you may need to make a booking like any other guest.
Who is responsible for arranging insurance?
You will need to arrange appropriate insurance for your property, a letting agent cannot do this on your behalf. When taking out insurance you need to make sure it is appropriate for a holiday let – home or landlord insurance will not cover a holiday let.
Whether a holiday letting agent is right for you will depend on your own circumstances.
In some cases, dealing with a holiday let may not be practical, for example if you’ve inherited a property miles away from where you live. Plus, managing a holiday let can take up a lot of time. However, if you have the time and desire to manage your holiday home, it can be rewarding as you’ll save money in agent fees.
Benefits of using a holiday letting agent (depending on the services you choose):
- Saves you time
- Marketing expertise
- Experienced at managing holiday lets
- Can deal with all admin, guest queries and complaints
Disadvantages of using holiday letting agents:
- Can be expensive with management fees taken out of your rental income
- Limited control over your own property and you may not be able to stay in your property whenever you like
- No guarantee that the agent will be able to secure bookings
Holiday letting agents are fundamentally there to help you save time and take away the burden of managing your holiday let. With that in mind, it’s crucial to build a good working relationship where you trust them to make decisions should they need to.
Meeting the agent and asking questions can be invaluable in helping you get a feel for what they can offer and how you might get on.
A good agency will be able to manage and market your property so that you can enjoy an additional income without stress and worry.
To get a better idea of how best to rent out a second home, why not take a look at our guide to holiday lets versus a buy to let. You can also find out more about how you can protect your investments with holiday let insurance and serviced accommodation insurance. Alternatively, you can speak to our expert property team on 01603 216399.