Preparing your holiday home for letting
Once you’ve bought your holiday home in Cornwall and made the decision about the marketing, the nitty gritty of preparing your holiday home for letting begins.
As one of the most important parts in the process, getting this bit right will pay big dividends later on in both bookings and recommendations. In this article, we look at the main steps you need to take to prepare your Cornish holiday let for your first guests.
Before you start decorating and equipping your holiday property in Cornwall, spend a little time thinking about who’s going to be staying there. Decide which market you’re hoping to attract and fit your property around them.
If you’re planning to appeal to the family market, providing things for the kids and making your home safe for children will be your priority. If it’s the couples market you’re aiming for then you’ll need your home’s contents to cater for them. The same applies to dog lovers or guests with accessibility needs.
Top tip – if you’re planning to use the property yourself as well as let it, equip the home according to your and the guests’ needs, but give priority to theirs.
However much a fan of bright and bold colours you are, keep your Cornish holiday let neutral. ‘Loud’ walls might appeal to you but may put off holidaymakers. White, cream and pale grey shades have universal appeal plus the added advantage of bringing light and freshness to a space. Lighter tones are also easier to clean. On that note, opt for ‘wipeable’ paints in the most used areas (kitchen, bathroom, hallways), or places that sticky fingers are most likely to land!
Add colour to your holiday home in your accessories. Splash on the bright tones in curtains, cushions, bedspreads and rugs. By the sea? Go for the classic nautical blues and whites to bring the seaside into your home.
Top tip – if you’re catering for families and/or dog lovers, go for darker shades on upholstery or add dark throws to settees and armchairs.
Furnishing and fittings
When you first equip a holiday home it’s tempting to go for cheaper furniture and equipment. But fitting out a holiday home is like everything in life – you get what you pay for in terms of both how good they look and how long they last.
As a general rule, buy as high end as you can afford. This goes for furniture, fittings and appliances. Not only will they add to your Cornish holiday let’s appeal (and look much better in the photos), guests will appreciate the expense and look after them better (typically). They’ll also last longer leading to savings in the long run.
Top tip – go for maximum energy efficiency in all appliances to give your home a greener footprint and save on electricity and water bills.
Preparing your holiday home for letting
In the very competitive world of holiday lets your property needs to go that extra mile in every single space. Here’s a room-by-room guide to preparing your holiday home for letting and adding the wow factor that your guests will be raving about to others:
Living room/ dining room – a good WiFi connection and large TV are musts. Add an extra with a games console if you’re catering for families, or a Netflix subscription. Don’t forget cosy throws for the sofas and armchairs.
Kitchen – include a coffee machine (if it grinds the coffee too, provide the beans), a set of chef’s knives to make catering easy, and for those rainy days a set of good baking equipment. And of course, a top-of-the-range corkscrew and wine cooler.
Bedrooms – memory foam mattresses take a good night’s sleep to another level as do plump pillows and pure cotton bedlinen. Add black-out blinds to give everyone a lie-in during the summer months.
Outside – even if you’ve only got a balcony, provide comfy seating and a table. If there’s a garden, think of everyone – a gas-fired barbecue, sun loungers and deck chairs plus a few garden games such as boules or giant Jenga.
Top tip – don’t forget to list all your extras in the description of your holiday let.
Enough of everything
Equip your holiday house in Cornwall with enough of everything for the number of guests. Make sure there are sufficient chairs, beds, pillows, towels, cutlery, china… for people staying in the house. And be generous – get a three-seater sofa instead of a two, provide two pillows per person, etc.
Top tip – make sure there’s enough crockery and cutlery for at least two sittings so guests don’t have to run the dishwasher after every meal.
If you’re catering for families then you need to provide the equipment and safety measures. These include:
- Child booster seats and/or highchairs./li>
- Cots and/or bed-guards.
- A baby bath and non-slip mats for the bath.
- Accessories such as bottle warmers and sterilisers, bibs and a baby monitor.
- Stair guards, pool fences, cupboard locks and door jams
Top tip – include a few toys (indoor and outdoor) as well as buckets and spades for the beach.
An important aspect of preparing your Cornish holiday home for letting is making sure the property complies with all regulations. Talk to us about what you need to do to ensure your holiday let is up to code and standard. Things to consider include:
Fire safety – one of the main concerns in any home is fire safety and holiday lets in Cornwall must comply with the regulations. These include a fire safety risk assessment to identify risks and reduce or remove them. You also may need to fit smoke alarms, fire blankets and extinguishers depending on the size of your property. Carbon monoxide detectors should be considered too.
Cornwall Council provides full details and guidelines on their website. https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/cornwall-fire-and-rescue-service-homepage/business-fire-safety/fire-safety-advice/holiday-lets/
Gas appliances – if your holiday let has any appliances run by gas (e.g. boiler, cooker or oven) the property must be checked annually by a registered inspector. As the owner, you must keep a record of all inspections.
Home security – making your home safe from intruders will give you and your guests peace of mind. Fit security locks on all windows and outside doors, and make guests aware of basic security measures in the welcome book (see below).
Pool safety – if your Cornish holiday let has a pool and caters for families, make sure the pool is securely fenced. It’s not a legal requirement to do this in this country, but the peace of mind it provides for you as the owner and for your guests far outweighs the investment. Add child safety features such as a pool alarm and ensure all pool maintenance products are kept out of reach.
Top tip – include a safety section in your Welcome Book or pin it in a prominent place in the house.
Accidents, breakages and damage do happen so it’s important to have holiday home insurance for you and your guests. Go for a policy that caters specifically for holiday lets and covers use by you as well. The best policies include the following:
- Accidental damage by guests. If you allow pets, don’t forget to include damage by them.
- Building and contents to their full value. Ask for a professional assessment for an accurate calculation.
- Loss of rental income if you can’t let your property because of accident or disaster (e.g. flooding).
- Public liability to cover third parties using your property. If you have a pool, take extra cover out for this.
- Theft by guests. Rare but not unheard of so worth including.
Make sure you’re aware of any caveats in the policy such as security requirements or informing the insurance company when the holiday let is unoccupied for a prolonged period.
Top tip – holiday home insurance policies don’t usually cover personal belongings and valuables so advise your guests to take out their own insurance for these.
The welcome book
An essential part of preparing your Cornish holiday let for guests is compiling the welcome book. Think of this as your guests’ go-to reference guide to your property and the area, and include the following:
Emergency contacts – list who to contact and how in an emergency. Include surgery and hospital numbers.
House rules – guest do’s and don’ts. Don’t make these too long but do make them clear.
How it works – easy-to-follow instructions for appliances and equipment including heating and hot water. Don’t forget the WiFi password!
Local amenities – a guide to what’s available nearby. List shops, supermarkets, banks, restaurants, hospitals…
Local attractions – a guide to what to do and see in your local area. Include leaflets and brochures as well as a guide to the high and low tides. Get them from your local tourist office.
Rubbish collection – what to do with rubbish and waste including instructions for recycling (remember every council does it differently, so your guests won’t necessarily know how it works in Cornwall).
Top tip – check the information in your welcome book regularly and make sure it’s up-to-date.
Getting a Cornish holiday home ready for guests can seem like a daunting task. For some expert advice and help, get in touch. Our friendly team have decades of experience between them and know exactly what guests are looking for in a holiday home.