I take a further look at how to rent your Bansko Property. If you read my part 1,Â Top 10 Questions To Help Rent Your Apartment, then this follows on from those key questions I talked about. So I’ll assume we’re sure we are looking at ways to rent our property in Bansko (or indeed any vacation property overseas).
Follow a few key principles now — and you will make useful money from rentals — year after year.Â But if you’re still not sure if you wish to let your property, then go back to my previous article.
Most of all, be realistic at first. The supply of property in Bansko means that you have to work hard to make yours stand out. And you have to be selective on how, and where, you advertise.
Step 1: CalculateÂ Ownership And Rental Expenses
Assuming you’re not a UK MP (member of parliament) — you’ll be like the rest of us…. rather forgetful in accounting for ALL our property expenses. Be sure to include the following expenses:
- mortgage costs
- annual property tax
- refuse tax
- property management fee
- buildings and content insurance
- tax on rentals
- advertising fees
- electricity feed
- TV/internet fees
- repainting / furniture costs
Step 2: Advertise carefully
Advertising holiday homes online is cheap and can produce good returns. Advertising on several websites can be a good idea. Expect to spend up toÂ Â£350 (â‚¬420) in total per year.
Aim for your online advertising to generate more than thirty rentalÂ enquiries per year. You should convert at least 30% of these into confirmed bookings.
If a typical apartment rents on average for Â£250 per week, this should produce at least 10 weeks booked per year – or rental revenues of Â£2,500. So spending Â£100 on advertising, in average should give you a return of around Â£2,500. This is a worthwhile investment!
Step 2. Get Enticing Visuals, Video And/Or Podcast
The propensity for someone to read something on the internet is closely dictated by the picture. I have tested this on this blog. The difference is huge. If I omit a picture then readership of a story will be under half what it would be had there been a picture. If the picture, or even video, is informative — then not only do moreÂ visitors read it, but those that do stay reading for much longer.
Creating good pictures of your property is more important than anything else in attracting renters. It’s also something many owners get wrong!
If you take the pictures yourselfÂ then spend a load of time to ensure they look their very best. This means making sure there is a flood of light. Sunshine should flood in and lights should be turned on. Take more pictures than you think you need and correct lighting and colour in an editing program (I use picassa.com from Google — as its quick, and its free).
Soft furnishings are essential for a more luxurious feeling. Puff up cushions, and place towel sets on beds. Then lay the dining table, light candles, place a glossy mag on coffee table.
No toilet pictures and no people should appear in your picture sets. Renters prefer to imagine both of these.
Video is now cheap and easy to upload to YouTube, Vimeo or many other video hosting web sites. Think how offering audio and video material can differentiate you from the rest.
Step 4: Prepare Advert Content: Your “Write Up”
So your picture has caught the visitor eye — it’s now time to make your content sparkle. This is the single most common mistake people make and, frankly, its generally not their fault. Often, only a hundred words are allowed — or the web format is structured to make your property read pretty much like all the rest.
Individuality is the key here — and very detailed and interesting descriptions work well. Only use as many words as you need BUT make sure you tell a story that is enticing. Avoid too many positive adjectives. Keep sentences short and ask a friend to read the script out load. A really convincing script will take around 400 to 800 words.
This is more than many adverts allow… but my experience on my letting success is that the more the better. Internet browsers are buying more than an apartment. They want to build up trust with the renter. Good descriptions work well. Describe the property and its location. Reward your reader with an interesting fact or two about the property – if you can.
Concentrate on describing the property, giving a “room to room” walk through. Bullet point the features and facilities.Â The focus is on selling your property: but doing so in an interesting way.
CheckÂ for spelling carefully. I find I publish fewer errors if I can go back to the script after a break. The following day is best.Â Then reads it aloud. Then change words that stir some emotion.
TIP: We all scan, rather than read, words on a computer screen — so make sure there is plenty of white space. Lots of new paragraphs helps.
Step 5: Make Pricing Competitive And Inclusive
Charging for utilities, for cleaning is looks like penny pinching. Airlines can get away with it – you will be less successful. So avoid.
Step 6. Double Check Your Contact Details
My recent review of a few online ads found mistakes in telephone numbers and in email addresses in one in five ads.
Step 7. Always Respond Quickly: And By Phone
As soon as you receive an enquiry, send an e-mail or if the enquirer has a phone number by phone. Telephone is better than email. You are selling your self as well as your property. And the phone gives you the chance to do this.
Step 8. Be Flexible
Increasingly we are taking short breaks. By allowing long weekends you can receive almost as much as a whole week’s booking. In the first few years of renting, this will pay dividends.
Don’t have too many restrictions. No smoking and no pets are standard restrictions. Make sure renters understand any conditions at the time of booking.
Step 9.Â View Your Ad From Renter’s Perspective
Be courteous and reliable at the outset. Every new enquirer is potential revenue — so be cheerful and informative at all times. Good customer service has generated me more repeat bookings. It also works wonders for testimonails. It’s also very satisfying.
Step 10.Â Keep At It… You’re In It For The Long Haul
Acquiring regular clients and repeat visitors takes time — and patience. Keep at it, and you will reach, what I call the tipping point. The point where it suddenly seems a load easier. This is because, little by little, you have built up recognition and your repeat business and internet exposure starts adding up.
Don’t forget to try “off line” promotion. School charity raffles, and money raising events are a perfect opportunity to give away free accommodation -Â in return for free club/school advertising. Try your club newletters and message boards — and don’t forget your social networking sites.
Step 11.Â Don’t Rely On Renting To Friends
My general rule is NEVER to sell to friends. Best result is to letÂ them come with you for free. But, initially, don’t push it.
Underplay the attractions of Bansko. Always include a web link to your listing on your email signatory. They’ll enquire when they are ready to.
Step 12.Â Sell Information: Not Your Property
We all want information on a place we have not been to before. So a source of testimonials and information — which is not trying to sell — is by far the best way.
In fact this is exactly how this Bansko web site started! I knew most people would be coming here for the first time. So free information, in an unbiased format, ensured that internet browsers followed what was going on in Bansko before making a booking.
Surprisingly, for me at least, this web site has attracted Bansko regulars. And increasing numbers of Bulgarian, Greek, Serbian, Macedonia, Romanian and Turkish visitors have registered at here for information.
If you are interested in renting your property, then I have a special rental launch offer. It will be released to registered BanskoBlog readers first.
If you have rented your property in Bansko, then please comment below.
Were you successful? What would you do differently?