Renting your home out for the summer – genius or madness?

Demand for staycations this year is absolutely unprecedented and it’s clear that it’s going to exceed supply not only in school holidays but probably beyond. If you’ve ever considered moving out and renting your home there will never be a better time, and if you have a second home that you normally keep for yourself then opportunity knocks!

Second Homes
Many clients don’t really need the money and their place is precious to them so why do they bother with the hassle? Some just like the idea that a few weeks’ rental can cover their annual expenses but for many it’s the concept of ‘free money’. This won’t make sense if you are an accountant but in their mind the money is in a different category so they can spend it on something they couldn’t normally justify to themselves – spectacular holiday, classic car, motorbike or jetski, you get a really big reward for minor inconvenience.

Main Residence
This is another level of challenge in that packing up and moving out of your own home is a major undertaking. You can put your stuff into a garage or spare room that’s locked up or rent some storage but don’t underestimate what a task this is! Of course circumstances vary – a single person in a large house may find it relatively easy, a family with three children rather less so. Several of our clients have said that part of the benefit was being forced to declutter and throw away things they never use and with a deep clean before and after the rental it was almost like therapy for their home!

Methods for the madness?
Broadly speaking there are three options to consider:

1. Do It Yourself
With platforms like Airbnb it’s certainly possible to get the bookings yourself, especially this year and if you’re just going to move locally and be around anyway it may be an option.


  • Lower fees than full agency (not as low as they seem as substantial fees are added to the price before the guest pays)
  • Cheaper cleaning and laundry cost if you employ a cleaner directly
  • Cheaper still if you do it yourself!
  • Allows for marketing as homeshare so less preparation


  • Dealing with guests from enquiry to arrival
  • Being on call 24/7 for potentially challenging guests
  • Less control over cancellation policy and other conditions
  • Income not certain until booked

2. Full service agency
Letting with a premium agency takes away all the work and worry, especially if you are planning to go away.


  • No need to interact with guests, do any work or deal with crises
  • Expert advice on pricing and presentation
  • Professional cleaning and linen supplied
  • Brand and existing client base for marketing


  • Commission may be higher
  • Cleaning & linen costs with vat
  • No connection with guests – you may enjoy delivering hospitality
  • Need a proper clear out and deep clean

3. Rent to an agency
Some agencies including ourselves will rent the house for the whole period at an agreed rate and take on the risk of voids and costs of cleaning, linen and guest services.


  • You know where you stand from the start and so can book that holiday
  • Hand over and forget without buying extra things needed
  • No risk of empty weeks or cancellation


  • Less income in the end if all weeks are sold

Think long and hard before making a commitment as you can’t back out at the last minute but also think about what you usually have to do to earn the money – it may be the easiest cash you ever made!

Simon Tolson owns Rumsey of Sandbanks.
Contact Simon on 01202 707357 or email

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