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Renting out the place next door - maybe?
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 6095
Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject: Renting out the place next door - maybe? Reply with quote

While knee-deep in snow and fighting off requests for Christmas and New Year, we were talking to our next-door neighbours in Leysin, who were just about to return to Blighty for 10 days (pre-Christmas).

They're a Brit family, working at a local international school, and wouldn't dream of renting their family home; maybe like most of us. Home exchange is one thing, but renting an up-and-running home for a week or two? No-way.

But they're a family with kids, leaving a chocolate-box chalet for the peak week(s) of the year, surely another family (same size?) could just fit in there perfectly. No-nonsense with the snazzy gadgets and glam accessories we feel necessary to rent our place - just a comfortable, lived-in family home.

One's mind turns to who would be interested, and that's where Rocket Rab came to the rescue, valiantly volunteering to look after said home, for a very reasonable rent, and to feed owner's rabbits (who better?) and keep things running in between the occasional venture onto the ski slopes.

I'd like to think it was an almost perfect arrangement, and Rab has to say her bit, but on a wider scale, isn't it something to consider?

Most of us know our neighbours where our rental homes are, and many of these neighbours are away for a week or two a year. It needs a bit of chatting up on both sides, but surely we're in a position to do this?

Owners needs reassurance about who's staying, the renting family need convincing they're getting a comfortable home, and we're in a position to do both.

Food for thought?

MG

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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
Posts: 3579
Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice would be: don't do it. If I want to live in someone else's home on hoiliday, I'll do an exchange.

When I go on holiday, the last thing I want is someone else's home. When you live in a place, you can live with dirty corners you can't be bothered to clean, the old comfortable corkscrew that only OH can work, the bent springs in the sofa and the coffee stain in the rug which you plan to remove tomorrow but tomorrow never comes. And just think of all the things you never even notice because you live there. I want to stay on holiday in somewhere which is totally clean, with everything working and present in the correct numbers and as little trace of past occupancy as possible.

And then you have to cope with the owners as well - nightmare: persuading them to clean to other people's standards before they leave each time and then fielding their complaints about things not left by guests exactly as the owners left them or imagine they left them.

We could our own apartments and all the others in the street 20 times over for New Year, but no amount of money would compensate for the aggro. IMHO.
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting viewpoint, Margaret.

Several points come to mind, including the fact that it's recognised by both parties that it is a real home and not a sterilised commercial rental, that the renting family is well aware of how to leave a home in reasonable nick and a serious considerable financial advantage for both sides.

I have to admit, knowing both sides reasonably well, I couldn't see the potential for aggro.

MG

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Beanie



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
Posts: 579

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MG, I'm with Margaret and the 'don't do it' brigade.

Interestingly, we had our neighbours approach us this autumn to put a proposition to us and see if we'd be interested in acting as agents to rent their place out for them. They'd obviously seen that there's a business to be had there and as they're Americans, perhaps they felt it was time to boost their weak dollar pension income.

We didn't hesitate in declining, largely because we just wouldn't have the time - it's tough enough keeping up with the one place - but also we just didn't want to encourage the competition on our doorstep. Might sound mean but this is business and we need our rental income to maintain our Swiss dream and cannot do anything voluntarily to erode that.

Tread cautiously on those hooves !

Beanie
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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
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Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MG, speak from the heart, having done this. The other aspect I forgot to mention, and possibly the most important, is that guests simply don't understand that the quality is lower. If they have seen your site, complete with gizmos?, they will feel they have second best. There are a number of people out there who rented an apartment in a neighbour's house through us who are aware that they had second best, because it couldn't be avoided and I don't believe they saw it as an advantage or even acceptable. It is dangerous to dilute the brand which you have put so much effort into.
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beanie, I do see your point, but you're talking about a business arrangement.

By coincidence an American family have approached us (in Leysin, not Villars), with a 4-week potential deal in the summer when they go back to the States. I don't know them, nor their chalet (looks fantastic) and if we got involved it would be strictly business and a proper contract. It doesn't clash with our availability either, and it seems a pity to waste our overflow for that month.

MG
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guests simply don't understand that the quality is lower

Margaret, I don't think that comes into it. We're talking two different things entirely. One is a flash rental property to international standards (cough), the other is a comfortable, lived-in 365/24 family home. They're not competition in any market at all, they just happen to be (almost) next-door.

If the toaster breaks down in comfortable family home, you're on your own. In our place the replacement is flown in by a hit-squad and their 'copter.

Friends (not Joe Public) would understand the difference.

MG
(Rab, I need support here)
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Margaret



Joined: 16 Jul 2007
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Location: Bavaria and Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your faith in human nature is greater than mine. From experience I can only say that they DON'T understand the difference, in the same way that many don't read the directions for getting to your place or read other valuable information you provide them with. Or perhaps your guests really do read and understand every word you send them.... Very Happy
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My only rider to this would be that we've got good friends who could well trash a place (Hey, Goat, great last night, hog-whimpering hangover, no time to clean up, we're all puking on the ferry, is that OK?) and I wouldn't unleash on an owner to save my life, and, well, others who I would.

MG
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Rocket Rab



Joined: 18 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

...it's recognised by both parties that it is a real home and not a sterilised commercial rental, that the renting family is well aware of how to leave a home in reasonable nick and a serious considerable financial advantage for both sides

That, I think, is the key to an arrangement like this, surely? We knew we were walking into a cosy family chalet in a great ski location, and the host family knew they could rely on us to sing their rabbits to sleep in the evening and empty the dishwasher before leaving. We fully expected to stash our cartons of pasteurised milk up against their tubes of mayo in the fridge, and we weren't in the least put out that wardrobe space was slightly restricted. All we saw were the breathtaking views and the sun bouncing off a sparkling layer of powder snow. The delights of being entrusted with a family home also meant we enjoyed a superb Christmas tree and warm invitation to use anything we could lay our hands on...

Seriously, we could never aspire to the flash rental property lurking just down the road, Laughing, so this was a perfect (more than) solution for us and, we hope, for the chalet owners. Both sides, I think, looked on it very much as an arrangement between friends, with all that that implies, rather than as a business deal. It is true, however that owners need reassurance about who's staying, the renting family need convincing they're getting a comfortable home, and we couldn't have done it without MG's much appreciated help as an intermediary. We hope to be back, and have offered our vineyard pad to our new Swiss friends. Oh, and a bottle of wine for MG, Laughing, so no good looking to this as a second source of income....

Ski Leysin...Ours, all ours!


Yummo! This is what we really come for: Boxing day lunch on the slopes
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Giddy Goat



Joined: 12 Jun 2005
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Location: UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the "approach with caution" brigade. There's risk involved on both sides, and unless I knew both the property next door and its owners extremely well, and could vouch personally for the friends I was recommending, I wouldn't get involved as a third party. Home exchanges involve a similar risk but at least the arrangement is between both groups involved.

Delighted it worked out for RR and family and MG's neighbour though, and that a new friendship has been formed! Very Happy
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Beanie



Joined: 28 Aug 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mountain Goat wrote:
Beanie, I do see your point, but you're talking about a business arrangement.

MG


Ah, must've got the wrong end of the ski pole MG.

BTW, did you ever report on how your South African house-exchange went ? Was dying to hear.

Rab - I am now drooooooooling for a gorgeous croute ! They are the BEST ski-food as you feel you've thoroughly earnt the right to all that tasty, salty scruptious cheese Laughing (so bad, and yet so very good ....)

Is that you and family rabbits in the shot ? (If so, I can spot 2 helmets ...)

Glad you had such a fab time.

Beanie
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Mountain Goat



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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Location: Leysin, Alpes Vaudoises, Switzerland

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW, did you ever report on how your South African house-exchange went ?

I thought I did, Beanie, somewhere. It worked out fine, great trip, but we'd still prefer using rental income to choose a holiday without being tied to a particular owner/house. PM with more details en route.

MG
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Rocket Rab



Joined: 18 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rab - I am now drooooooooling for a gorgeous croute !

Ah, Beanie, you're obviously a skier who knows her croûte from her rösti! Über-delish, as you say.

Nope, not me in the photo..OH in orange and bobble hat. Rablets in helmets..
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Jimbo



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 3581
Location: Charente Maritime

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack Handy wrote:
Quote:
College administrators should encourage students to urinate on walls and bushes, because when students from another college come sniffing around, they'll know this is someone else's territory.

We have English friends who have a house not far from Perigueux. They live in the UK and visit regularly but used to rent during the high season, with the kindly French neighbour casting an eye over proceedings. Theirs wasn’t a full-blown gite, rather a beautifully furnished family home filled with many of their lovely (and expensive) possessions. And they weren’t professional renters like most of us but rather ‘hobbyists’ - in the nicest sense of the word.

However, they’ve stopped renting. Not because any of their guests behaved disrespectfully – rather the reverse – but because of a vague sense of unease and distaste that strangers had been staying in their ‘home’ and using their ‘things’. So, if you’re contemplating such an arrangement, don’t overlook your ‘territorial’ feelings (of which you may only be dimly aware).

Jim
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