by Helpful Holidays
To provide an insight into the world of holiday cottage letting, Melanie Pascoe, one of Helpful Holidays’ expert property managers sheds some light on a day in the life of a property manager, along with her experiences of such a varied role.
Read on to find out what our property manager Melanie gets up to while visiting properties across the South West…
Just one of the many reasons I enjoy being a property manager for Helpful Holidays is that every day is different. Diverse and varied, it’s a wonderful role that has over the years allowed me to meet a wide range of people. Whether fascinating, eccentric, light-hearted or earnest, almost without exception, the owners I meet are friendly, gracious welcoming hosts.
Set against the stunning backdrop of our beautiful West Country, a typical day can see me travelling anywhere; from the rugged north coast of Devon, to the subtropical climes of south Cornwall or the lush plains of Somerset. And my assignments are as varied as my itinerary; from visiting and photographing properties, attending trade events or even speaking at a large homeowner conference, like the proverbial box of chocolates, you never quite know what you’re going to get!
I have two appointments today. This morning I’ll be visiting a couple who have recently purchased a property with a dilapidated barn onsite. Hoping to convert the barn to luxury holiday accommodation, the new owners are seeking expert advice on how best to furnish and equip the property in order to really maximise their bookings and income.
This afternoon, I’m particularly looking forward to a photoshoot at a sweet little coastal cottage in Cornwall. A former fisherman’s shack used for generations by the same family as their own ‘escape to the country’ before being sold to an investor from London, its transformative journey has been more than a year in the making. But with its toes right in the water and stunning panoramic sea views, I know it will be hugely popular.
Long before my working day begins, I hold my breath as I anxiously draw back the curtains and wonder: Are the weather gods smiling on me today? I’m thrilled as we’re in luck; unbroken blue skies and sunshine mean that this afternoon’s photoshoot will be a great one.
My day begins much like any other, I check my emails and catch up with my prospective and existing owners before heading out. I’ve already prepared my admin for the day, packed my camera and tripod, as well as the flowers and props I’ll need for the shoot later in the day. I pen a quick letter of support for a mortgage application and another for a planning application and then I’m ready to leave for my first appointment.
After a short tussle with the sat-nav, I arrive at a beautiful house in the most stunning location on the edge of the moor. It’s unbelievably peaceful; I can hear only birdsong, the occasional sheep and a stream or a river running by. I think to myself what a wonderful spot for a holiday this would be. I meet the new owners Adam and Emma and get acquainted with their much-loved doggo Ralph, a mischievous black lab with a penchant for rich tea biscuits.
Their home is immaculate, it’s hard to believe that Adam and Emma have only recently moved in. We chat over tea before making our way out to view the prospective barn. In the pristinely manicured garden, the derelict barn looks oddly out of place, but even in its current sorry state, it’s obvious the once handsome stone-built structure has great potential. Adam and Emma tell me all about their plans for letting, we discuss colours and furniture, what to provide and what to avoid. It’ll be several more months until the barn is ready for its first guests, but we’ve taken our first steps on the journey towards holiday letting and I’ll be in touch at every step of the way to offer guidance and support.
A quick stop for lunch and it’s over the border and into Cornwall. I arrive at one of my favourite fishing villages on the south coast, a real Cornish gem of pretty white cottages set around a bustling harbour of brightly coloured boats at Polperro. The weather continues to be kind; the sun is still bright in the sky, and the sea so blue you could be forgiven for thinking you were on a remote Greek Island.
Over the past year, I’ve visited this cottage a number of times; an initial visit, a follow-up appointment and finally a meet and greet with a local cleaning supplier, but this will be my first time seeing the cottage in its fully finished state. I have asked that the house be perfectly prepared in order to look its best for the photographs – ideally, just as a guest would see it, with all the beds made up and everything spick and span.
As I enter the newly refurbished property, I’m delighted by the incredible transformation that has taken place; the superbly finished interior with stylish furnishings and cool seaside theme is a real credit to the owner’s keen eye for detail and design. Laying the dining table and adding colourful fresh flowers provide the finishing touches to this welcoming holiday scene. As we take the pictures, there’s time to catch up with the owner and hear all about the challenges and small victories that have brought them this far.
A short time, some more tea and many snaps later I’m heading back to the office with my precious cargo of images to be uploaded to our website. In just a few days, this gorgeous property will be available for booking and as the first families arrive, it will be wonderful to know that all the owner’s hard work has paid off.
It’s been another great day, with two great results. To be able to help so many owners achieve their dream of owning and running a holiday let is for me, a genuine privilege and so never really feels like work. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Perhaps I’ll be visiting you at your property and we can begin your journey to holiday letting.
If you’d like to book an appointment to speak with Melanie, why not take advantage of our virtual coffee mornings at a time to suit you by emailing us.
If you have a property you are considering to let as a holiday cottage, then please call our team of property experts who will be happy to provide you with a free, no-obligation pricing appraisal and discuss how holiday letting could work for you.
To book an appointment or request a ‘Let’s work together‘ brochure, contact our team on 01647 401799 (option 2) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Let Your Cottage page.
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