I’m first of all going to tell you a very quick story and this is based on my experience as a long-term tenant in a property in Spain. I had a lovely professional relationship with the owners and we quite happily got along for the 18 months I spent in their villa.
It wasn’t without its problems and we had direct contact with the owner so, there were not too many issues when it came to getting things fixed. Now, I’m not talking about changing a light bulb, any person with half an ounce of intelligence would know to do this on their own. It was more serious issues like a leak or the heating wasn’t working.
However, due to the owner’s personal issues I eventually had to find somewhere-else. We kept in-touch afterwards but, what shocked me most was that this unsuspecting (and I have to say very genuine gentleman) was told by his new property management company that they had to pay for 50 replacement light bulbs throughout the villa!
Now, you should know the owner lived in England and rarely visited Spain so he had no way of knowing if this were true or not. Before you think I’ve got the numbers wrong, it was possible there were 50 light bulbs in the villa (they love outdoor lighting in Spain) BUT, it would have meant that pretty much every light in the house was not working. Of course, said property Management Company billed the owner for this which incensed me. To cut a long story short, I managed to get his money back.
This is what brings me on to the tips I want to offer anyone who owns a home in another country, cannot be there the whole time and needs someone to manage it for them:
Do Your Research
Make the effort to visit the area where you villa is and ask around about companies that offer management services. Sad as it may seem, don’t start with local ads in the paper. This is fine if you can visit regularly to check how things are being done but, that kind of negates the whole point.
You need to make sure you find a trustworthy company that has a good reputation and this can easily be done by checking the internet. There are loads of forums where people speak honestly about their experiences.
Don’t Place Too Much Emphasis on Cost
Yes, you may be a little shocked at how much it will cost you each month but, remember the garden needs tending, the swimming pool needs cleaning and the inside needs to be maintained properly when your property is empty. When you have tenants, the Management Company will need to make sure they pay their rent on time and look after your villa as if it were their own.
Finally, it’s not impossible to have a company to look after your holiday villa properly, just make sure you choose wisely.
Author: Julie Coburn