Parentdish are campaigning against the higher cost of family holidays over the holiday periods. As a parent, and a grandparent, I am sympathetic. I cannot agree with parents who think it is OK to take children out of school in order to save a few hundred pounds -a decision which might affect their later examination results, career prospects etc. A decision to have a family should be taken in the clear knowledge that children are expensive -but are worth every penny.
I’d like to make few points from the perspective of a part-owner of a Furnished Holiday Let bungalow in Combe Martin, North Devon. My business partner is a lawyer; I’m an accountant; we were both keen walkers; we thought that we could create a little holiday-letting business in the fantastic walking area, close to Exmoor and the South West Coastal Path. Once the mortgage is paid off, the bungalow, (‘Carpenters’) , may contribute a small amount of income to our retirement pots.
In the meantime we still have the mortgage to pay – £7000 pa. Other costs (rates, light, heat, water, caretakers and cleaners, website, advertising and marketing, repairs, travel costs etc) total a further £6000 pa approximately. But for the fact that we handle our own bookings we would face the additional costs of agents fees. Then we have the capital costs of replacing furniture and equipment and keeping the property up to scratch. Visitors expect a couple of modern flat-screen televisions,etc. Last month we replaced the en-suite bathroom, put new carpets in the three bedrooms, replaced the bed in the double bedroom with a king sized bed, and replaced the tumble drier.
So we need letting income of approximately £13,000 pa minimum to cover the ‘revenue’ expenditure plus more lettings to cover the ‘capital’ costs. We’ve owned ‘Carpenters’ for twelve years and we expect to have to keep paying money into the business until the mortgage is repaid.
Sadly there are fifteen weeks or so in any year when people just do not want to visit North Devon. We use some of these dates to carry out maintenance etc. Just last week we experienced the spectacular, if (for some) devastating tides. Fortunately most of Combe Martin is nor affected by these freak events. Combe Martin is fantastic at any times of the year.
So we have to earn our income over – in a good year – thirty five weeks – which is not always achievable in view of the competition from other properties, hotels, caravan parks and holiday camps. Furthermore we know that there are only ten or so ‘banker’ weeks, when we have to earn almost half of our income.
Much as we’d like to charge £500 for this, the first week of February, we know that, in reality, anyone interested in booking ‘Carpenters’ would laugh at us.
Those are the facts of life. But do please have a look at our website (www.cottagesindevon.com) and our Facebook page and Twitter site. we need all the followers,friends and re-tweets that we can get