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Holiday let as a pension - Investing in a Property for Retirement - Owner Case Study

Buying a holiday home for investment is a popular choice for many people, whether it be during retirement or as an additional income. In this post, Deb and Trevor Harris, owners of Church Farmhouse, in Somerset, share their story of running a successful holiday let business during their retirement.


How did you get into holiday letting?

Deb and Trevor Harris - Investing in a Property for Retirement - Owner Case Study

“Having worked as teachers for long careers in the South East, we were both ready for a change of location, lifestyle and a means of adding to our teacher’s pensions.

We had planned such a move for several years and had researched the area we wanted to live in, narrowing it down to the beautiful, hidden region where South Somerset, West Dorset and East Devon meet.”

For more information, read our guide on how to start a holiday let business.


Tell us about your early holiday letting experience

Church Farmhouse - Investing in a Property for Retirement - Owner Case Study

“In August 2014 we bought Church Farmhouse in Winsham, bowled over by its rustic charms, billowing cottage garden and stunning views over a forested valley. It cost us £440,000, which left us money for refurbishment and restoration of the farmhouse.”


What challenges did you face and how did Sykes help?

What challenges did you face - Investing in a Property for Retirement - Owner Case Study

“The first shock was that the roof needed entirely replacing and that many of the old floorboards had huge holes. We already knew that there was no proper heating and the windows were past their best…. and it all needed decorating!

While we were still feeling a little overwhelmed by the tasks ahead, a Property Consultant from Sykes paid us a visit and gave us a healthy helping of sensible, practical advice (from where to build our shed, to how to position the dining table), and left us feeling enthused and confident that the whole idea was going to work.

Getting the holiday let ready became a pleasure and we greatly enjoyed the interior decoration part of the project; sourcing the right kind of ‘vintage farmhouse’ furnishings, celebrating the history of the house with photographs and stories, and working through the list of ‘must-haves’ provided by Sykes. We were proud of what we had achieved both inside and out, to the extent that I wondered how I would feel about having strangers in there!”


How has your booking response and letting experience been?

How has your experience been - Investing in a Property for Retirement - Owner Case Study

“We received our first bookings almost the same day the property went live in December 2015 and hosted our first guests for Easter 2016. The bookings have far exceeded our expectations: to date, we have over 40 weeks booked for our first year and counting. The income to us has exceeded 18K, nearly twice as much as the 10k a year we aimed to make. We expect this to increase again next year.

As for the fears about people ‘invading our territory’, nothing could be further from the truth. Seeing the guest’s pleasure on arrival, their obvious enjoyment of the house and environment and getting some lovely feedback, has made the whole venture enormously enjoyable. Without exception, all our holiday guests have been delightful. Many of the families with children have wanted to play with our dogs and cats and feed our chickens, all of which has been great fun for us all.”

If you’re wondering how many bookings you may receive, try using our holiday let income calculator.


What’s it like working with Sykes?

“Working with Sykes has been a very positive experience all along. We really like the Owner Portal where checking on bookings, feedback and income are all instant and in one place. The customer care team has always been helpful and responsive to anything we have asked, from adding extra photos to managing the bookings.”


Would you recommend holiday letting?

“To other potential holiday let owners who, like us, would live on-site, I say – ‘Do you like people?’, ‘Are you proud of what you have to share in your property?’, ‘Would you like to make a healthy extra income?’, Then go for it!”


Let your property with Sykes and earn up to £125,000 per year*

  • Join over 15,000 holiday properties already working with Sykes Cottages
  • We welcome over 26 million web visitors a year
  • Many of our owners achieve more than 45 bookings a year
  • We specialise in turning your holiday property into a profitable year-round income for you

*Based on a 7 bedroom property in the Lake District with bookings between October 2017 to September 2018.

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