Purchasing a Lake District Cottage?
If you do not yet own a property please note that we would be more than happy to advise or point you in the right direction. We have for many years worked closely alongside established Lake District estate agents such as Hackney & Leigh and Matthews Benjamin, whom many of our current owners have personally dealt with.
If you are looking to purchase a property we can recommend Cumberland Building Society for commercial buy to let loans. They have great experience in the tourism property market here in the Lake District.
Having successfully managed many properties for almost 30 years, it is our experience that there are around ten main criteria for successfully letting a holiday cottage here in the Lake District.
1. Well Known Location
Cottages situated in or near places people have actually “heard of” such as the famous Lake District lakes, mountains or villages will always let for higher prices, have greater occupancy and will be a better investment than those in alternative locations.
2. Local Character & Appealing Name
Customers associate the Lake District with older stone built or white washed cottages with traditional windows and internal exposed beams. They look for nostalgia and a feeling of their perception of the Lake District inside the cottage as well as outside.
Exposed stonework, traditional woodwork, unique features and local prints and photos are very useful in creating the right mood, as is an appealing name for the property. However the flight to quality has dominated the market over the last few years with guest’s expectations rising. An apparent attention to detail, high quality contemporary furnishings and presence of care throughout are highly in demand and those who have these attributes have produced very good returns.
Generally flats and apartments are not as highly sought after or desirable but if they are in a very good location with a fantastic views, they can be a great alternative.
3. Views & Access
Lake, mountain and countryside views from the cottage are most important, in the order stated.
A cottage without views will have a dramatically reduced income. Direct access to a lake shore, with boat mooring is an advantage, as are country or mountain walks and cycle routes right from the door.
4. Log Fires
The ability of a cottage to have a traditional log or coal fire, using either a fireplace or log burning stove is now virtually imperative. Despite the desire for log fires, guests now also expect fully controllable central heating in every room.
Oil and gas are current favourites but environmentally positive heat pumps and solar panels are also desirable.
5. Gardens, Sitting Out Area and Car Parking
A nice garden or sitting out area in character with the property has now become a basic expectation, with quality garden furniture, secure boundaries where possible and the opportunity for alfresco dining.
Car parking is also an important consideration with an appropriate number of parking spaces according to the size of the property. Larger properties are often used by groups of friends or extended families that may not all be travelling in the same car.
6. Walking Distance to a Pub or Restaurant
With the increase of eating out and changes to drink-driving laws, cottages fulfilling this criteria are greatly sought after especially by couples for short breaks.
Cottages without this facility can show lower incomes. It is interesting to note that though a property may be in walking distance of a pub the guests may not visit the pub but it is still important in the decision making process.
A property that fulfils all of the other criteria but is remotely situated can also be a good investment and be very attractive to visitors.
8. Pets Welcome
The huge growth in pet ownership, evidenced in the growth of “pet supermarkets” has resulted in many more people wishing to take their pets, especially dogs, on holiday. Most people who travel with dogs do not have badly behaved animals as these would probably destroy the owner’s vehicles!
We make an extra charge of £5 per dog per night and would point out that whilst very few pets do any damage, the fees go towards wear and tear, and redecoration costs incurred.
We recommend that carpets are shampooed regularly. We also point out that any real damage will be charged to the customer but we rarely have to do this. Customers are also quite happy if there are rules in place such as keeping dogs on a lead, or in certain rooms etc.
Cottages that do not accept pets can consequently achieve lower revenues.
9. Variable and Versatile Accommodation, and Larger Properties
Over the years starting with The Coppermines Mountain Cottages, we have enjoyed good incomes from group bookings. There are many “unknown or secret” groups of friends or family who assemble regularly, to celebrate anniversaries, reunions, birthdays, weddings and of course – even – stag and hen parties. This is a very lucrative market, which if a property is adapted in the right way can enhance its income dramatically. We would be pleased to advise you further if you have a larger property.
10. Environmental Responsibility
Today we along with our potential customers are very aware of “green” issues. We ourselves fully support The Lake District Tourism Conservation Partnership in helping to raise money for their “Fix The Fells” campaign.
Cottages which demonstrate they are tackling environmental issues through the use of low energy lighting and heating, waste recycling and encouraging cyclists and walkers, will in the future be more sought after.