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Old 13 April 2009, 09:06   #1
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Letting out a cottage

I have a couple of houses in the Scottish West Highlands over looking the summer Isles from the south, and a large beach, the spot is Idyllic. I'm thinking of renting the smaller 2 bedroom one out, it is fully up to modern standards, but I need to use a letting agent, or someone to do the changeovers and manage the occupancy, any ideas for the area around Aultbea (nearest large populous) Any general companies / individuals who do this sort of thing ? I've done a look on the net,but would prefer some advice !
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Old 13 April 2009, 09:20   #2
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I have a couple of houses in the Scottish West Highlands over looking the summer Isles from the south, and a large beach, the spot is Idyllic. I'm thinking of renting the smaller 2 bedroom one out, it is fully up to modern standards, but I need to use a letting agent, or someone to do the changeovers and manage the occupancy, any ideas for the area around Aultbea (nearest large populous) Any general companies / individuals who do this sort of thing ? I've done a look on the net,but would prefer some advice !
In my experience, which is mainly residential, most letting agents are a useless, waste of money. My F-in-law is about to ditch his agents and let me take care of his properties. The shower that he uses charge 10% to do absolutely nothing. I look after his properties, We fitted a new dishwasher in a house recently, I was almost gagging, the kitchen was so disgusting with long term grime. He got a letter from the agent the following week to say that they'd carried out an inspection and that the property was in good order. The place was a wreck!
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Old 13 April 2009, 09:34   #3
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Ah! sorry Mollers ..good point.. I should say this for short holiday lets.. Doh..
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Old 13 April 2009, 10:02   #4
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Any general companies / individuals who do this sort of thing ? I've done a look on the net,but would prefer some advice !
As a typical user of this sort of accommodation, I would suggest you avoid any of the bigger (nationwide) "agencies". I've stayed in quite a lot of accommodation over the years and always found it cleaner, more welcoming etc when it was the owner - or some local contact of theirs who was looking after the place. That makes us more inclined to revisit and to recommend it (and probably means we take better care too).

I have friends who used to have a place not far from Aviemore - and their experience as the "landlord" who used one of these agencies was equally as crap - they would discover broken / defective stuff only when they went there themselves, despite the fact users had told the agent.

The only advantage a big agency brings over someone you might track down via the local pub/shop is their booking website. None of these are particularly user friendly - and I quite like being able to pick up the phone and talk to the owner anyway, or do it be email. There are probably very cheap template sites around, you could use for booking management on your own website if you chose to - in which case its down to how good the marketing is; if you think people will be searching for your cottage with phrases like "Holiday Cottage West Coast Scotland" then you have a lot of competition - but if it would be "Holiday Cottage near Aultbea" you have much less.

So if I was in your shoes I would try to find a local (maybe who does it for others already). All you really want them to do is go in with the hoover, change the sheets, let your know of any problems and know how to find a local plumber, sparky etc if there is a problem. If a local gets sick, goes on holiday then they'll have a relative, friend etc who will be able to help out if you are employing them directly. If its through an agency they'll probably just call the agency and say "can't do Bigmuz's cottage today" - then you're up the creek...

...just my thoughts.

Oh, and I believe you may have a choice of how you pay these folks. Some people have an arrangement where they are only paid to clean etc if the place is full. With short changeovers that means it literally just gets a hoover and linen change. After a season it will be getting tired. The other approach is to pay them even if there was no tenant - and so it gets a bit of extra cleaning done.
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Old 13 April 2009, 11:23   #5
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You'd be amazed at the condition clients will leave your house/s in. With some you'll wonder if they'd even visited, others will leave it looking like it was ram-raided by a slurry tanker. My pick would be a wee local wifie to handle the changeovers/arrange basic repairs and spend the money saved on a couple of website pages/ads and free links with every local group and agency that will have you. I'd strongly recommend giving every client a multi-choice questionnaire and SAE - you know - facilities, cleanliness, welcome, etc etc and show the wifie the good ones and a 10....
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Old 13 April 2009, 11:24   #6
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I have a couple of houses in the Scottish West Highlands over looking the summer Isles from the south, and a large beach, the spot is Idyllic. I'm thinking of renting the smaller 2 bedroom one out, it is fully up to modern standards, but I need to use a letting agent, or someone to do the changeovers and manage the occupancy, any ideas for the area around Aultbea (nearest large populous) Any general companies / individuals who do this sort of thing ? I've done a look on the net,but would prefer some advice !
When you do do it. Please let me know. I have a week booked on Mull staying in a friends Cottage he rents out. Week 2 is still up in the Air
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Old 13 April 2009, 11:30   #7
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When you do do it. Please let me know. I have a week booked on Mull staying in a friends Cottage he rents out. Week 2 is still up in the Air
Get him to do your promotional photos, Bigmuz7. Just with less birds in them than usual!
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Old 13 April 2009, 13:25   #8
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You'd be amazed at the condition clients will leave your house/s in. With some you'll wonder if they'd even visited, others will leave it looking like it was ram-raided by a slurry tanker.
Yea I have a little knowledge of this .... and its a worry


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My pick would be a wee local wifie to handle the changeovers/arrange basic repairs
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So if I was in your shoes I would try to find a local
This was my thought, and I've asked a few, but they seem too busy with their own

Breakages and all that, are part of the hassle, and I know if I went somewhere , I'd be pissed off it was not clean etc. Because its quite a well liked spot, I dont think marketing would be an issue, and I'm not trying to make a fortune out of it, just turn a pound or two .. Its actually the wee house in my avatar on here. I just wondered if some company had a 'magic pill' solution., but thanks for your thoughts so far chaps
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Old 13 April 2009, 13:51   #9
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I think if it is kept personal so that people speak to you and the "wifey" then people will tend to leave the place cleaner. Even better if you can actually get away with "word of mouth" advertising, so most people who use it will know you at least indirectly...

I'll second JSP's suggestion that if/when its available you post here - I am always looking for interesting places to go, although I think she might already have 2009 planned out!

In terms of finding someone it strikes me that your main "season" is going to tie in with the University holidays (late June - Sept inc). No one up there got a son/daughter coming home for the holidays who would like some extra cash? The other option would be to use a different changeover day from everyone else (i.e. not saturday) - so you are not competing with the others.
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Old 14 April 2009, 16:35   #10
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I'll second JSP's suggestion that if/when its available you post here - I am always looking for interesting places to go, although I think she might already have 2009 planned out!
Ok chaps .... Pm me your dates and I'll see what I can do .. the location is one of Scotlands finest .. you wont be disapointed especially if you want to explore the Islands... I'd better not say too much otherwise Mr K will be wanting a trade membership I think I got away with this post though (Cloaking device on Polwart!)

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&tab=wl&q=goog

These aint very good pics but they give you the jist .. JSP .. a dude called Harrison has done some nice pics of the area .. and has done well over the interweb from here not sayin anything.... If you get my drift
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