1. Start by investigating your management options, legal obligations and insurance needs. You could hand over management to a local agent or do it yourself with the assistance of a holiday rental marketplace such as HomeAway, which also offers services like secure payment and liability insurance.
2. Now for the house. Clutter does not a relaxed holiday vibe make, so have a clear out. Bin things you no longer love, pop personal photos and knick-knacks (especially any valuable or delicate items) away in a lockable cupboard, and empty wardrobes and drawers so that your guests can unpack. Don’t go overboard – artwork, for example, will make your home feel like a home without impinging on guest space.
3. Décor can be dated, but never dirty, so have a thorough clean, not forgetting the oven, skirtings, windows, light-fittings and carpets. Where possible, paint out obvious marks on the walls – sample pots are good for this – and cover up grubby grout with a grout pen for a quick tile refresh.
4. If the décor is truly tired and needs a revamp, pick a neutral wall-colour in an easy-clean formulation, especially for high-traffic areas. On-trend matt finishes are increasingly washable so you needn’t compromise on style.
5. Check around for neglected maintenance tasks, like loose door-handles or missing light bulbs, and have them rectified.
6. Maximum funds tend to come from maximum guests, so if letting out your home is likely to be a regular thing, think about investing in flexible furniture, such as an extendable dining table; a set of stacking dining chairs to augment your existing ones; and twin long single beds (try Snooze, snooze.com.au) that can be pushed together to form a king-size version when needed.
7. Pack away the good china and supply plenty of easily replaceable crockery, cutlery and glassware instead; stores such as Target, Kmart and IKEA are a good source of inexpensive but elegant basic sets.
8. Find tough but pretty soft furnishings. Outdoor rugs can help protect your flooring indoors, all-weather fabric is a great choice for sofas and armchairs, and strategically placed doormats will deal with the worst of sandy or muddy feet incursions. If a carpet replacement is on the cards, consider hard-wearing wool or solution-dyed nylon.
9. Supply good-quality linen and towels. Silky cotton sateen sheets are a delight to slip into, while fluffy bath sheets will deliver a hotel-worthy experience that your guests will love.
10. Think about whom you are likely to be catering to. Families with very young children might need things like a travel cot and a safety gate for stairs, and if you’re allowing pets, make sure your fences are secure.
11. Gather together operating instructions for appliances, and offer board and garden games, books, local tourist brochures and personal recommendations on eateries, events and places to visit. Including Wi-Fi access will bring you extra guest points, but do remember to disable things such as your Netflix account before you hand over your keys.
12. Finally – practical supplies such as tea, coffee, milk in the fridge and extra loo paper will all be appreciated, while a welcome basket, with lovely soaps, cookies and wine, is a thoughtful addition that won’t cost much but will reap rewards in the guest reviews section. Happy letting!