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Make your holiday home in Turkey stand out from the crowd

Turkey has always attracted a certain breed of independent traveller. And while the country’s Mediterranean and Aegean coastlines are firmly established resort hotel destinations, the legacy of independent travel in Turkey lives on, and in fact, is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with demand for self-catering villa accommodation rising sharply in the last few years, and Turkish property buyers seeking to earn some additional income on their home are cashing in on the trend.

However, not every home is a potential holiday home. We give you a few tips that will help you choose the right property, and ensure its success as a holiday let.
What makes a home in Turkey special?
 

Choose wisely

Does your villa in Turkey have good travel links? How far is it from the airport? Is it near a prime attraction such as a lovely beach, a historic centre, an ancient site? There’s a lot to recommend about Turkey, but just buying a property and hoping that it’ll attract a steady stream of guests is not enough. See the end of the article for a brief rundown on Turkey’s best rental hotspots.

Swede Sylvie Olander has a rental villa in Kalkan. The mid-range, three bedroom property overlooks Kalkan harbour and Olander says she has had a steady stream of rentals for the last four years. “When I was looking for a rental property Kalkan holiday home and investment option jumped out at me because it’s an established resort, but not terribly touristy,” she says. “It has a beautiful waterfront and old town, and is within driving distance of some good historical and cultural attractions.” Kalkan is a good hour and a half from the closest airport, but Olander says in this case this is actually a draw for the town. “It means it will never have the mass tourist appeal of other Turkish towns, which - ironically -  is a draw for a lot of people wanting to visit a genuine Turkish centre.”
Holiday home with a sea view
 

Know your market

There are generally two types of holiday home renters. Those looking for a reasonably priced getaway where they can eat at home to keep costs down, and those seeking something a little more unique - and far removed from the impersonality of a hotel. The second guest is often prepared to pay a little more for the pleasure of staying somewhere they can make their own - if only for a week.

Target your market rather than taking a scattergun approach and trying to attract everyone. Work out who your property will appeal to, where you can find them and kit your house out accordingly.
Turkey is a big country - know your market
 

Great photos

Lettings sites confirm that properties with nine to 12 photos attract up to 40% more enquiries than properties with four or fewer. Take a number of good quality photos highlighting the special features of your home. If you don’t know one end of a camera from the other, ask a friend to help. Your photos are your shop front, so make sure you get them right.
Know how to use a camera
 

USPs

Every business needs a unique selling point, and a rental property is no exception to the rule. Potential renters will be faced with hundreds of descriptions and photos and will be looking for something that stands out. An excellent photo will help you no end. Choose your property’s best feature for the listing thumbnail - the swimming pool lit up attractively at night, the terrace overlooking the sea or another arresting image. A simple headline highlighting the property’s most attractive features will also catch the eye, such as: “Family villa with private pool near Oludeniz Beach”, or “Olive grove cottage overlooking Yalikavak Marina”.
What makes you unique?
 

Style it out

Obviously not every rental property is going to have the marketable quirkiness of a treehouse or a houseboat. But you can stamp your own mark on the interior.

Oleander recommends furnishing your rental with the best you can afford. “You want to give your guests a nice environment, because that’s what they are paying for. Don’t choose furniture and fittings with a view to thinking that they are cheap and replaceable, they will make your property look shabby. Our guests always tell us how lovely our home is and - with only one exception I can think of in four years - treat it with great care.”
Lovely furnished bedroom
 

Go boutique

The boutique market is showing no sign of slowing. Mark Durrant’s boutique villa in Fethiye Ovacik had a full bookings calendar this year and he says he is taking bookings for the next two years. Despite his villa costing £1,600 for a week-long stay at peak times people are willing to pay, reflecting the demand for this kind of high end accommodation.

Durrant says if you are serious about being a contender in the boutique business you will need to ensure the decor and contents of your property is absolutely tip top, and provide a few extras. “Fluffy bathrobes, good bed linen and quality bath products are a good starting point,” he says. “Keep furnishings classic, high quality and simple - no IKEA, that says ‘budget’ rather than ‘boutique’.”

“My guests are willing to pay for quality,” he says. “They want somewhere as good as - or even better than - their own home.”
 

Think carefully about care

If you live near your holiday home it’s easy to provide a good service. Durrant spends part of his year in an apartment near his rental villa, and makes sure he greets guests with cold drinks, a tour of the house and ensures there is milk, bread and a bottle of wine for new guests. If you can’t manage to meet and greet guests, find a reputable local company that will ensure continuity of service and cleanliness, and who will be on hand in the event of an emergency.
Welcome
 

Market wisely

There are more holiday let websites than you can poke a stick at. Some, like ownersdirect.co.uk, charge a fee in exchange for huge exposure. However, there are so many properties on these sites yours might get lost unless your property is unique.

Holidaylettings.co.uk have introduced a free listing model, where instead of charging you a set annual fee they take about 3% of each booking, as well as charging the guest a little. Guests can book instantly through the site, which means your bookings are secure but owners won’t receive their money until it is released at check in.

Other sites like airbnb.com or vrbo.com are free to the user but pass cost on to the guest.

A management agency will not only handle marketing, but also photos, booking enquiries, payments and maintenance - in exchange for a cut of your bookings. This can be a good option as the agency will work hard to market your property for you - as if they don’t they won’t get their commission.

Another option is creating your own website through one of the many free online hosts like blogger.com or wordpress.

If you’re unsure, dip your toe into the water with a free website - you’ve got nothing to lose.

Durrant recommends anyone new to the market dip their toe in the water with a free website. “You’ve got nothing to lose - and plenty to gain with the way the rental market is going here.”
Make sure you are seen online
 

Sit down, relax

A few touches to ensure guest relaxation really do work wonders. A hammock lends a feeling of holiday calm in online photos. Comfortable sofas, large beds with quality mattresses and bedroom curtains that block out the bright Turkish sunshine are essential. If you have an outside area make sure you have quality sun loungers and patio furniture with plenty of available shade.
A comfortable guest is a happy guest
 

Best areas for rental

It is not uncommon for Turkish holiday home owners to generate in excess of 7%pa in rental yields. We have seen income on holiday villas and apartments exceeding 10%, however, make no mistake – that’s not the norm. A handsome 6%pa is certainly achievable though. So, which areas should one have a closer look at when purchasing holiday homes in Turkey that will generate handsome rental income?
Zoom in on your Turkish investment
 

Ovacik, Fethiye

Close to the blue waters of the famous Oludeniz Beach, Ovacik is a pleasant area backed by mountains, with good travel links and Fethiye at its doorstep. Durrant’s boutique villa in Fethiye is constantly in demand. “We bought the house as an established rental seven years ago. Since then we’ve gone from taking bookings for six months of the year to eight,” he says.
 

Kalkan

Beautiful Kalkan is one of Turkey’s best spots for rental. Rentals tend to be upmarket, ranging from high end apartments to luxury waterfront homes with their own jetties. The general rule is that the more upmarket the home, the more in demand it will be in well-heeled Kalkan.
 

Yalikavak, Bodrum

Yalikavak’s new marina has heralded a new era of investment in this former fishing village. There is currently a shortage of marina rental properties in Yalikavak, which has sent rental prices skywards. Luxury penthouses and apartments are highly sought after, as are shoreline villas with private mooring.

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