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Buying a holiday home can be a dream come true, but it can turn out to be an expensive dream. As well as the purchase, renovation and decoration costs, and the mortgage payments, there are running costs to consider, for taxes, water, electricity and community charges

If you only use your property for holidays and are not there the whole time, one great way to help cover these costs is to let the property under short term rentals. The income can be substantial, and it can be very satisfying. But there are some pitfalls that you can avoid if you go about the process in a professional manner. This guide will help you to make the maximum rental income from your holiday home.

1. Financial Considerations.

What are your financial objectives?
Do you want to maximise the income from your property or just cover the costs.

How often do you want to be there yourself?
Do you want to be there on certain set dates, or can you be flexible and only go on weeks when there are no bookings. Do you want to be there in the peak, summer holiday times (when the rates are highest)

What type of person do you want to stay in your home?
Are you happy to have children, (and is your holiday home suitable?) Would you be happy for a group of men on a golf holiday to stay.

You may have to make some compromises, but you should be clear in advance where you stand on these issues, as many other decisions flow from them.

2. Furnishing and equipping your property.

Furnish your home bearing in mind that it will be rented out. Use good quality, robust furniture and equipment that can be easily cleaned and will not be high maintenance. The rental rates you can charge will reflect the standard of your furnishing and equipment. Accept that things may get broken, as they do in your main home, so don't put in items that you will fret over if they do get broken.

These must be fully equipped. A dishwasher would be an advantage as no one wants to wash up on holiday. A microwave and washing machine can be very useful. Cutlery, glass, china and kitchen utensils are not expensive, so don't stint them - allow for at least double the maximum number that will stay. Make sure that pans, coffee pots and tea pots are big enough. Worktops should be easy to keep clean, and floor tiles should be non slip.

Beds and sofa-beds must be good quality and comfortable, there should be bedside tables and lamps, at least one hairdryer and ample hanging and storage space, with good quality clothes hangers.

Make sure you have at least two sets of linen for every bed, to allow for same day changeovers. Also, have a good supply of bathroom towels, tablecloths, kitchen cloths etc.

Furniture and flooring:
This should be hard wearing, low maintenance, not easily damaged and easy to clean. Wooden or tiled floors with rugs are a good idea, together with washable throws for soft furnishing. Bathrooms should be tiled and have non slip floor tiles.

Other equipment:
You need to have a balance between having enough little personal things like books, vases, and ornaments to make the place look like a home rather than a hotel room. Try to create an atmosphere appropriate to the location of the holiday home.

Your personal items:
Allocate a storage area or cupboard where you can store your own personal items, or things with high or sentimental value, and keep it locked when you are away.

3. Inventory

Before you start renting your home you should prepare:
An inventory:
This lists all the items of furniture and equipment in the property. This is needed so that if anything goes missing from the property during a rental, you have proof that it was there in the first place.

Sample inventory:

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you an idea of the amount of equipment you will need to furnish your holiday home, and it forms a checklist for your written inventory.

Living room
Settees, cushions, throws, chairs and arm chairs
Coffee tables, Lamps, book shelves and books
Stereo system, CD player, speakers, video player, radio
TV set with remote control
Rugs, carpets, paintings pictures and prints
Ornaments, vases and waste baskets

Dining Area
Table, number of chairs, armchairs
Rugs, carpets, paintings pictures and prints
Ornaments, vases, waste baskets, table mats, coasters etc.

Cleaning cupboard
Sponge mop, broom, dustpan & brush

Oven with grill, grill pan, baking tray and racks
Hob with number of plates, extractor fan, dishwasher, fridge freezer, microwave
Kettle, coffee maker, toaster, blender, food processor, kitchen utensils
Knives, forks, spoons, and teaspoons (at least two times the maximum number staying.)
Serving spoons and forks and salad servers
Carving knives, good kitchen knives, kitchen tools
Tea towels, serviettes, tin foil, clothes pegs, tape measure sewing kit
Storage jars, salt, kitchen stores
China sets:- (at least two times the maximum number staying) Coffee cups and saucers, bowls, large plates, side plates, teacups and saucers, coffee mugs, egg cups, ramekins.
Beer, wine, water and other glasses
Water jug, milk jugs, casserole dishes
Kitchen roll holder, teapot, Chopping board, plentiful good quality saucepans and frying pans of various sizes.
Cake tins, mixing bowls, salad spinner, grater, metal sieve, serving dishes, plastic containers, measuring jug, potato masher.
Kitchen stools, waste bins, trays, aprons, oven gloves

Waste bin, toilet brush, spare toilet rolls, shower mats, toothbrush holder.

Beds, mattresses, pillows, eiderdowns, duvets, bedspreads
Rugs, carpets, standard lamp, bedside lamp,
Chest of drawers, dressing table, waste basket wardrobe, clothes hangers, hair dryer.

4. Guest Manual

You should have a "Guest Manual" in the property containing lots of relevant information about the property and the area. Remember to review and amend the guest manual from time to time, as they do get out of date. You should also consider having one sheet of house rules that is pinned up on a notice board in the kitchen with important instructions like rubbish disposal, noise rules if necessary and emergency services numbers. The telephone number of the local contact person should also be prominently displayed.

This is a suggested list of what you should include in your "Guide for Guests". Print it out and put it in a book of plastic envelopes,  which you can buy in most newsagents.

Front page
Address of property, Telephone of property, updated (date)


1. The Town
Shopping, restaurants, pubs, museums, galleries etc.

2. Leisure Activities
Golf, sailing, horse-riding, tennis, beaches, walks

3. How things work and other housekeeping
Heating, hot water, kitchen appliances, bathrooms, washing machine/dryer, TV / video, telephone, balcony furniture, locking up

4. House Rules
Garbage disposal, noise

5. Emergency and other assistance
House management contact, Hospital, doctor, police, plumbing, electricity, other problems.

5. Insurance

Inform your insurance company that your home will be rented out. They may increase the premiums, or you might have to take out a special policy, but if you have to make a claim and you have not told them, they have every right not to pay up.

6. Setting up property management arrangements

See our Property Management web page or click this link: property management

7. Marketing your holiday home

Internet advertising

The Internet has revolutionised the advertising of holiday properties. Now you can show full details of your property and full colour photos to a truly world-wide market. So why don’t you use our website, as many people who look for a property to buy in the Riviera del Sol area wish to stay in a similar property and sample the area and all it has to offer before they buy. 

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