February 27th 2020

Letting Your Cottage: Your Questions Answered

From choosing the right agency to the finishing touches, there’s so much to think about when letting a holiday property. To make things a little bit easier, we’ve put together a list of our frequently asked questions from potential owners.

What makes Coquet Cottages different from other agencies in Northumberland?

As an independently run family business, Coquet Cottages embraces the individuality of each property and we work together with our owners like one big family. Originally starting off with just 1 property 21 years ago, our knowledge has been built from first-hand experiences and close guest interaction, to understand what our customers are looking for out of their holiday and the best way for us to deliver that. Our ‘hands-on’ approach also means we can pass our knowledge and guidance onto our owners which for some, holiday letting may be an entirely new venture.

We all genuinely love what we do, and our entire team are locals living in Northumberland, meaning we can give honest recommendations and genuine advice on the area and our properties. Our personal approach to both our owners and our guests mean we have the opportunity to build up strong relationships which ensures guests return with us year after year, not wishing to book with anyone else but Coquet Cottages.

What commission do you charge?

We charge a standard commission rate of 20% per booking, which covers marketing, all booking administrations, payments and guest liaison before they arrive at your property, as well as unlimited advice and guidance to both our owners and a concierge service to our guests. VAT is applicable on the commission alone, not the full rental value.

Depending on your property and the location, we may be able to offer a full management service if you are not able to manage the changeover operation yourself, for a commission rate of 30%. As we are a relatively small team and our attention to detail is high, the location of the property will determine whether we can manage the property due to the small window we have n a changeover day.

Over 80% of our portfolio does not use our management service for their changeovers and is instead managed by a dedicated housekeeper. This is often the best compromise in order to maximise on income and still offer guests an excellent service. You certainly don’t need to live within a close proximity to your property, and don’t need to be present at the property on a changeover day.

When I join you, will you visit my property regularly?

Each member of the team will get to know you and your property very well, and we feel it important for each member of our team to visit every property in our portfolio so they can get a genuine feel for the property when liaising with our customers.

If you choose our management service then a member of our team will visit your property on the day of each new incoming guest. If you use our agency-only service, your property will be visited at least twice a year, often more for various reasons, such as an update of our marketing materials, new photos, your Visit England Quality Assessment and possibly more.

Can I use my property for personal use?

Yes, of course! You have up to twelve weeks in the calendar year to use for yourself or family and friends. Whilst we don’t restrict on the time of year this can be taken as we have not had cause to do so, we would ask you to be mindful that the school holidays and peak periods are when you will receive your highest level of income. If you can be flexible on your dates and use the property out of season or last-minute then you are maximising the potential of the property to achieve the best it can. If you choose not to use your twelve weeks, then the income potential of the property is even greater.

I haven’t bought a property yet, can you help?

From the best areas to invest in, to the facilities and layouts, we offer a wealth of advice to help you find the perfect property. Generally, at any one time there will is at least one of our properties in our portfolio available for private sale. Buying an established holiday home (a ‘turn-key’ property) is very attractive as it involves minimal effort from you at the point of completion. The property will have a history of letting and a diary that continues with bookings throughout the year.

Please get in touch if you have a property in mind that is for sale and we’d be happy to look at the sales particulars/listing to give you an idea of whether it would fit within our portfolio and an idea of it’s rental potential.

How many bookings can I expect you to achieve?

The number of bookings we get for you will depend on the property and area, but we are proud to have consistently high booking levels, and over 45% of bookings per annum across our portfolio of properties are from returning customers. You can improve your booking levels in a number of ways, from refreshing the décor to being dog friendly, or offering a wood-burning stone/open fire. We’re happy to share our formula with you to help you maximise the return of your property if you’re looking to work with us, as well as the best way of ensuring your customers will return to you.

Can you help me find a housekeeper?

If you will require someone to clean and prepare your property, we can assist you in finding a housekeeper and provide guidance on our high standards of cleanliness. We would always recommend a person/company who is known to us and who we trust can/will work to our high standards. As your agent, we will work closely with your housekeeper by always being on hand for any extra information or advice for the cottage if they should need it. But primarily, they will work with you as the owner.

Do you take photos of my property or do I need to?

The photographs of your property are your shop window and it’s very important these are both of excellent quality and they look inviting and attractive to a prospective customer. A member of our client services team will have already visited your property (probably more than once) in the initial stages of joining us and will be aware of the areas of your property to maximise on. For example, you may have an excellent view or a pretty garden, a luxurious sofa or an eye-catching bed.   Each property is unique and the photographs will portray that.

We use an external professional photographer who will work with a member of our team for a full day at your property. All fresh props are purchased by us and we will manage all staging as part of our service to you. The photos of your property will be live on our website within 24-72 hours of the shoot, ready to market to our customers.

We also use ground‐breaking 3D camera technology to create a HD 3D virtual tour through the property as well as a 3D floor plan. Please note that the copyright on all photographs, videos, virtual tours and floor plans belongs to Coquet Cottages Ltd and no reproduction is permitted without our express consent.

What else will I get when I sign up?

As well as unlimited guidance, advice and knowledge to benefit from, as well as a full day of professional photography and a 3D virtual tour create of your property, we create a comprehensive Guest Information File for each of our properties, tailor‐made to the property itself and the surrounding area, as well as covering the whole of Northumberland. This ring-binder file is delivered to the property – along with some other ‘extras’, when we carry out the photo shoot (or on the arrival day of your first booking). Part of this file consists of ‘essential information’ about your property, such as heating instructions, refuse collection and safety warnings, which is essential to have available in the property.

We will provide you with an acrylic sign to affix to the front of your property or wherever is visible by car or on foot, which is a great marketing opportunity for passing foot traffic or vehicles.

As well as the above, we will also market your property on our website, via newsletters to our large customer database and via social media. We also advertise frequently in a number of print publications and magazines.

Find out more about letting with us here.

Do you have a question about letting that hasn’t been answered above? Simply contact us today on 01665 710 700 or via email and we’d be happy to help!

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