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Making your property rental pay

The economic crisis has ensured that we are all more focused on spending less and controlling household budgets. This has meant that those who have holiday homes in Bulgaria are looking carefully at costs and holiday rental returns.

This is particularly true for those who have a mortgage on their second property and want to ensure that rentals cover the monthly repayments.

We investigate some top tips to making your holiday home work for you.

Housekeeping. Aside from the income, it is essential that everything in the property is kept in top working order and the home is aired / heated / cleaned. A good property management company or housekeeper is a must.

Double beds v singles. Whether you are aiming at couples only or families, it is worth investing in zip link up beds. These can then be unzipped to create two single beds as lots of teenage children absolutely will not share a bed. Best of both worlds, double / singles when you want, to match your customers.

On the subject of beds, it is worth investing in very good quality linen (preferrably pure cotton). Not only will your guests appreciate this but it will last far longer than cheap sheets and pillow cases. Invest in bed and pillow protectors.

Outside. Enough sunbeds for all. The dining table should be large enough to accommodate the maximum number of people your property caters for.

The pool. This is where the majority of problems come from and it is important you have a company or person who is reliable aned knows what they are doing, to look after your pool. If the pool isn't good it will ruin your customer's holiday and you will get a lot of complaints and bad feedback.

Extras. Holiday renters are becoming more sophisticated and demanding, expecting more for their money these days. It's not enough for the property to be all clean and tidy. Your guests will be wanting wifi, satellite tv, cots and pushchairs to EU standards, babysitting, welcome packs and other groceries, etc. Provide as much as you can.

Marketing. Although last on the list, this is the most important thing of all. It always amazes me how many holiday home owners go to no end of trouble to make their property special, investing a ton of money, yet fail to market the property. As if they expect that people will automatically just turn up out of the blue and book their home. No matter how wonderful your rental is, it will not achieve its maximum revenue for you without marketing and getting in front of your potential clients.

Get good exposure with your own website as the very first step. Clients want to see lots of photos and get more information. Potential customers will expect any rental to have it's own website.

It doesn't need to cost a fortune to get a professional website done for you. You can even do it yourself if you think you can master how to do this. But there are key things you need to get right and you should ensure you maximise the opportunity for your website to be found in the search engines.

It must also be user friendly, with no irritating flashing / rolling icons, complementary not garish harsh colours, not complex and easy to get round. Excellent photos which have been retouched and resized for the web. Text geared to search engines for high presence. How to contact you needs to be clearly visible, there is nothing worse than getting to a website and trying to look all over for how to get in touch: usually visitors will get out of the site and find another instead.

Together with your website, you need to use other methods to promote yourself. Check out holiday property rentals sites. Some are free, others paid for. On some you may be able to link directly to your own website, on others you are only allowed to put up a limited number of photos and description. Contact papers and magazines for prices in their small ads section. Check other types of websites for Free Classifieds for private individuals (Quest Bulgaria has free small ads, as do others).

It is of course possible that you may prefer to use a property management company who will not only do some advertising for you but will do the changeovers too. This does take away all the hassle but they will probably charge you 25% of the rental as a management fee.

If you have a rental property which you think is special, then send us an email, telling us why.  In the next couple of weeks we will be running a feature article about holiday rentals, together with a selection of a few rental properties - your property could be included!