Do you own, or are you thinking of owning a holiday property abroad or a long distance from where you live? Do all your friends or even you have this idyllic idea that you will have a lovely place that you can just hop back and forth to whenever you feel like it, Quite possibly this is true, but we also know it is not without it’s headaches.
What about when the septic tank overflows back in to the house, frozen pipes burst and flood your house meaning you need a complete redecorate two weeks before your first guests arrive, the oven gets broken by guests and you have wall to wall guests in all season, the fridge stops working in the middle of a heatwave, the satellite dish gets struck by lightning, you open up in the Spring to find that a cat has inadvertently been locked in for two months and scratched all the window frames to pieces trying to get out (poor thing). Yes, we know people that all these things have happened to. In actual fact most of them have happened to just one of the Rental Tonic team (Don’t worry – the cat, amazingly survived, and there were no mice that year)
We believe there are two important pillars – Planning and Support
Buy double wherever possible
It may seem expensive but wherever possibly buy two sets of everything – one for guests and one to replace broken or lost items. This is particularly important if you have matching sets of crockery, you can be sure that things will be broken and the lovely set that you start the season with will be a mismatched set of replacement by the end, if you don’t.
For more expensive items you may want to consider how important its presence in the house is. If your property is in an area where the weather is variable and a tv is important, consider having a spare. It does not have to be a huge flatscreen, a smaller cheaper option will do as a temporary measure whilst waiting to replace the original
Make and keep contacts
Think of all the things that can possibly go wrong and then find someone locally who can fix it for you. You will need at least: an electrician, a plumber, someone who can clear a septic tank, a pool repair shop, a tv and satellite repair person and a builder/general repair man or woman. If you are not confident in the language of your country you will find it easier to find English speakers. Make contact with the local ex-pat community to do this.
You will not be able to run a holiday property without this. There are organisations that will meet and greet guests, do changeovers and weekly maintenance of your pool and garden. But what you really need is a Mary Poppins. The sort of person that is able to respond to emergencies within 24 hours (or 24 minutes if the septic tank nightmare occurs!), liaise with the guests, you and tradesmen. You may well find a neighbour who is willing to do this but ensure that you set it up formally and renumerate them appropriately. Do not rely on good will alone but make sure there is plenty of this too. Taking them out for a meal when you are out there or sending gifts at birthdays and Christmas in addition to what you pay them will go a long way to ensure loyalty.
Make sure that you are available too, to your guests. Particularly if your local support is not a native English speaker. Your guests may have difficulty communicating with them so you must be available by phone, email or text.
Oh and one final thing…..make sure you know how often your septic tank needs emptying and do it!