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How to make your Spanish property more energy efficient

In December Spain played host to the COP25 climate summit. The summit was held in Madrid and brought together over 25,000 delegates from around the world. El Pais announced that during the two week summit the nations have been looking to reach agreement on how to tackle the effects of global warming and keep it within manageable limits. Read the full article

Inspired by the summit and knowing that everyone needs to do their bit, we wanted to share some advice on how to make your home more energy efficient. This is good for the environment, but also good for you, as you will reduce your energy bills and can save a lot over the course of a year.

According to the Green Home Guide there’s a lot you can do to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Step 1 – Make sure your property is well insulated

Spanish properties are not made with insulation in mind and many have poorly fitting windows and no insulation in the walls. This can make it feel cold in the winter and encourage you, or your rental guests to put the heating on when it’s not really necessary. To stop this happening, you should do the following –

  1. Check your windows and look at whether they should be replaced. If they are old and leaky, you will be losing a lot of heat this way, so investing in double glazed windows can be a good idea. However, this is an expensive addition, so you could try adding some heavy curtains for use in the winter, as these can make a big difference.
  2. Use draft excluders under the doors to stop drafts entering and heat escaping
  3. Consider using rugs during the winter to stop the cold from the marble floors coming through. It makes the place look and feel more cosy.
  4. Plant trees and shrubs around the house to block the sun during the summer months and keep the house cooler, to reduce the need for air-conditioning

Step 2 – Look at the energy efficiency of your heating and lighting

Change your bulbs for low energy bulbs when they need changing, they cost a bit more, but last a lot longer, so it’s worth the investment.

Look at the energy efficiency of your heating and cooling system and check that the air conditioning system has been serviced and cleaned as this can significantly improve efficiency. If it is time to replace your system, try to get the most energy efficient replacement possible, as we all know that air conditioning and heating uses a lot of energy and significantly increases bills when you have holiday rental guests.

Consider installing a solar hot water tank. Here in Spain, a solar hot water tank will give you all the hot water you need for around 9 months a year, and can save you a lot on energy costs. Utilising the power of the hot Spanish sun makes a lot of sense and can reduce your bills and your impact on the environment.

Here’s some more information on how to cut home energy bills and reduce energy use.

If you are inspired to make some changes to make your property more energy efficient, we can help. Our Costa del Sol property maintenance team can implement any changes for you, as we are your on-the-ground support system for anything you need for your property here in Spain. We can source energy efficient alternatives and get them installed for you and make recommendations on improving your property. Contact us and ask us how we can support you to improve your rental property and increase your rental bookings with our property management and maintenance services.

Are you and your property ready for the winter?

Are you and your property ready for the winter?

The summer is over and although we are getting more off peak bookings this year than before, from October onwards the holiday rental market quietens right down and your property may be empty. If you will be locking up your property for the winter, make sure it is secure and ready for colder, wetter weather. If not, then you need to think how you can keep it full for the winter months, as well as during the summer.

This time of year is the perfect time for planning and preparations and here are three important questions you should ask yourself to make sure you’re ready for the winter season.

  1. Do I want to let my property sit empty?

This is obviously an important consideration, as an empty property isn’t generating any income, and can become damp. If the answer is no, then you have two viable options, one is to decide to come and use it more yourself over the winter months, or invite friends and family to use it for an off-peak holiday and the other is to look for a long-term rental. Demand is growing for long-term rental properties and supply is low, so this is an excellent option to generate income steadily throughout the year and never have your property empty. Of course you don’t earn as much per week with long-term rentals, but it is low stress, secure and over the year you could earn more because you don’t have months where you’re not earning. Here are five reasons to rent long term

  1. Could I get off-peak holiday rentals?

Not all properties are suitable for off-peak rentals, but if you have a cozy property with an open fire (or good heating) and a location which appeals to the winter tourists, then there is potential. For example, if you are on a golf course, then golfers are an excellent off peak target, or if you are close to some lovely hiking or mountain biking routes then this can also be a good draw. Talk to your property management company about how you can make your property appeal to these off-peak bookings and realistically how many rentals over the autumn and winter you can expect, so you can make a decision. We’ve put together some tips on attracting more off-peak bookings on our blog to help you prepare.

  1. Can I maintain my property over the winter or do I need some help?

Even though our winters here on the Costa del Sol are mild, they do take their toll on properties, as most were built for the summer and not for the colder months of the year. The properties were made to keep the heat out and this means they get very cold and often damp if they are not properly ventilated and heated. High winds and rain can also be a problem, causing damage and letting the water in and although this is no big deal if dealt with quickly it can cause big problems if you leave it for months. If you aren’t in Spain over the winter, we recommend having someone on the ground who can check your property regularly, air and heat it and keep any problems at bay. We’ve also put together 10 tips for maintaining your property in the winter to help you get prepared.

We are here to help with professional property management and maintenance services to support home owners whether the property is sat empty, or has rentals. If you want to rent out your property our long-term rental department can guide you through the process and make it easy for you, and our holiday rental team will work to get you as many bookings as possible throughout the year. Browse our website to find out what we can do, or request a quote.

Consider renting your property long term

As experts in property management on the Costa del Sol, we look after our owners’ properties whilst they are away and help them to capitalise on rental income by attracting holiday rentals and long term rentals. We market the properties through two dedicated website HolidyRentalontheWeb and HomeRentalontheWeb, through social media, partnerships with companies such as Novasol and traditional marketing and advertising.

Over the last year, we’ve been helping owners deal with the new holiday rental legislation and are now registering their properties with the police station and ensuring that they register all visitors’ passport details when they arrive. During this process, we have been speaking to a lot of owners about considering renting their property long term, as it is much easier to find tenants and there is less ongoing management of them.

Why rent long term?

Here are 5 great reasons to rent your property long term –

  1. There is a major lack of supply of quality long term rentals properties on the Costa del Sol and we’re seeing demand increasing all the time, which is pushing prices up.
  2. Renting your property long term offers you more security, as you get a regular income stream throughout the year, straight into your bank account.
  3. It’s much less hassle as you’re not having to provide cleaning, welcoming guests, worrying about keys etc, there’s just the initial set up of the contract and the occasional maintenance issue to fix, but mainly you can just sit back and watch the rental income coming in.
  4. Long-term rentals are a good option for people who rarely use their property themselves and have it sitting empty most of the time.
  5. We can take any stress out of the process of renting your property long term!

We can help you set-up your property for rentals, offer legal support such as checking references, preparing contracts, changing services etc., or offer an all-inclusive rentals management service package, where we just take care of it all. Find out more about our long term rental packages on our website.

Please consider long term rentals as a profitable and straightforward option, but if you love to use your property then holiday rentals may be better for you. Feel free to contact us to discuss all the options, what sector your property would appeal to and how much you could earn. Contact us today if you’d like to start renting out your property, either short or long term.

Get ready for the peak rental season

Get ready for the peak rental season

Are you prepared for the arrival of the crowds for Easter? This marks the start of the peak rental season and we’re expecting a great year, with plenty of early bookings coming in and predictions of another record tourist season. Is your property prepared to receive paying guests?

It’s vital to delight your guests, so they become repeat bookings and recommend you to their friends. A happy customer is your best calling card and can make you thousands in future bookings, so make sure your property doesn’t let you down.

As we mentioned last month, the winter rains have caused a lot of damage in some areas and even if you property wasn’t flooded, we would expect at least some damp in all properties which have been left empty over winter. Now is the time to deal with these problems, as properties take time to completely dry out and lose the tell-tale smell of damp which is so off-putting to holiday rental guests. Read our tips for dealing with flood damage or damp on our blog to know how to handle it and get the property opened up, heated and well ventilated in time for Easter.

Here are five ways to get ready for the rental season –

  1. Make sure your property is registered under the new holiday rental law and that you have registered at your local police station (link to the blog)
  2. Give your property a fresh coat of paint
  3. Check your furniture – Take a critical look at your sofas, chairs and tables and make sure they are in great condition. If sofas are looking a little tired, consider reupholstering, or using a nice throw or cushions to brighten it up. Replace any broken furniture, and consider how you can hide any damage and protect furniture, such as buying a nice tablecloth for the dining table. Make sure you check your outdoor furniture as well to make sure it’s in good condition, replacing cushions, or recovering them can give a lease of new life to your outdoor furniture.
  4. Deep clean – After a long, wet winter, you should get in there and do a very deep clean, air the property and heat it to make it clean, fresh and ready for your guests.
  5. Look at your marketing – The start of a new season is a good time to check how well your marketing is working for you and how many bookings you’re getting. Check your listings and photography and make sure they represent you well enough, see how many bookings are coming through a particular channel and look into other options if you don’t feel that you’re getting the visibility you should.

HomeCareontheWeb are Costa del Sol property management experts, with years of experience in rentals management and a large and well-oiled marketing machine behind us. We have a number of well ranking websites for short and long-term rentals, partnerships with rental giants such as Novasol and advertise online and offline to reach the maximum amount of holiday rental clients in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Northern Europe. Get in touch with us today if you need some help with getting more rental bookings in 2017.

What to do if your property was damaged in the floods?

Flood damage Costa del Sol

At the end of last year and again earlier this week, the Costa del Sol was badly affected by heavy rains and floods, which caused significant damage to property. Unlike December’s floods, last month’s flash floods were more localised around Malaga city, but it has raised more questions about what to do if your property is flooded and how to deal with any affects you may have had from the unusually wet winter.

One important thing to stress about this water damage, is that it’s very unusual to have heavy rains such as this. The rains in December were the heaviest for nearly 30 years and so you don’t need to worry about risk of flooding in general in this area, as it is very low. However, if you were flooded in December or last month, it’s important you know what to do about it and who is responsible for covering any damage to your property.

For floods and acts of god such as this, there is a “Consortium of Insurance Compensation”, which is responsible for paying out for some of the damage and then your insurance company who is responsible for others. It can be complicated, with the insurance company saying one thing and the consortium saying another, and it has left people at a loss at what to do.

The first thing to do is contact your insurance provider, explain what has happened and ask whether they can cover it. If they say no, take a look at the Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros website as it will hopefully be able to help you to see if they should cover you or not. There is an excellent article with the exact process of claiming through the consorcio de compensación de seguros from the Olive Press, which will give you lots of good advice. If that isn’t working for you, some lawyers are offering a service where they will deal with the consortium on your behalf to wade through the legaleeze and make sure you don’t fall into any loop holes.

We very much hope you haven’t had significant damage from these floods, but we are seeing a lot of low-level water damage in properties, from small leaks, or cracked paint work, causing damp in the rooms. If you haven’t visited your properties since December, please make sure you get someone to check it over, even if you aren’t located in the worst affected areas. Properties on the Costa del Sol are designed for heat and summer sunshine rather than rain, so damp is often a problem.

If you find damp, cleaning the area thoroughly with bleach, using anti-mould spray, heating and ventilating the property should do the trick. However, if it’s left unattended for a long time then it can turn into a more serious problem, so get someone to check your property and get it sorted.

We are checking all the properties we manage to make sure that the rain and high winds has not caused any damage. We particularly check the roof tiles, flat roofs and terraces, patios and gardens, look for cracks in the paint work outside and of course inside for any signs of damp.

Any properties we do find with damp or mould, we recommend that our cleaning team comes in and thoroughly cleans and ventilates the place and if required we leave a dehumidifier in the property to really dry it out. Once this unusual weather ends and the spring arrives, we will be advising all properties that did have damp over the winter to have the property painted. This gets rid of any lingering smell of damp, covers up any marks it might have left and also protects the house for the future.

If you would like us to come in and check your property and have our maintenance and cleaning division get it looking great again and minimise any long-term damage please let us know. Our comprehensive Costa del Sol property management packages include twice-monthly inspection visits to check the interior and exterior of your property. At each visit we thoroughly air all rooms, check for pests and vermin and recommend action, test all appliances and electrical equipment to make sure all are in good working order, examine all furniture and furnishings for wear and tear, check all sanitary equipment and plumbing and make sure all your security services and equipment are fully functional. If there are any issues, we will email you a report showing any damage, identify what needs to be done to solve these problems and organise repairs.

This is just one of the services we provide for our clients, others include creating an inventory of the property’s contents and giving you an account in our owners’ area where you can check on your property, book visits and cleaning and be aware of what we’re doing for you. We also have a Helpline, which you or your guests can call during office hours with any issues and an emergency service overnight, plus an emergency call-out facility with qualified staff. With these and many other property management services at your disposal, you know that your property is in safe hands and that it is in optimal condition, no matter what the weather might throw at us!

Make Your Property Appeal to – Groups

Costa del Sol Villa for Group

Large Costa del Sol villas, or properties with outbuildings and separate staff quarters are very popular with groups, as they can have their own personal space, amazing communal areas and can split the cost of a luxury villa to make it more affordable. However, many landlords are wary about groups, so it’s a case of deciding what groups you want, how you will cater for them and how you will safeguard your property.

There are a few different types of groups that we commonly have enquire, large families, weddings and younger groups celebrating birthdays, parties or hen and stag parties.

Families want playrooms and toys for the kids, safe pools, gardens, good kitchens with kiddie friendly cups, plates and cutlery and air-conditioned rooms where they know the kids will be safe and comfortable. They tend to spend more time at the villa, so leisure facilities like a pool table, computer games or a games room is also a real bonus. It’s great if you have separated living spaces so a large family made up of several groups can have some privacy, so annexes or basement “flats” are popular.

Wedding parties want large gardens where they can do the ceremony, large terraces or garden space for the wedding breakfast/evening meal and a big kitchen for the caterers. They also want as many rooms as possible so the wedding party can stay together, including a beautiful master bedroom for the happy couple.

Younger groups want great pools and leisure facilities, so games rooms, pool tables, BBQ areas and chill out zones are popular, as is a good sound system. They are interested in proximity to bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

It is true that groups are harder on the property than smaller parties, but if you have a very large property and want high occupancy, it’s something you should consider. Decide which groups you prefer and cater to their needs, then protect yourself by removing valuable items, covering favourite sofas with a throw and decluttering to make it easier for the groups to avoid damaging anything unintentionally. Also make sure you have the right insurance, so you know you are protected.

Speak to us about what our rental clients want and how we can help you cater for them whilst safeguarding your property and fixing any damages which may occur. Our property management and maintenance teams are here on the Costa del Sol to help with everything and to support you to maximise the income you can get from the property. Find out more about renting out your property on our website.

Care & Maintenance Tips for your Costa del Sol Garden

Beautiful-Garden

Following heavy rains in May, and the stunning June sunshine, everything is blooming on the Costa del Sol just in time for the arrival of the tourists.

For the hordes of holiday makers, the al fresco lifestyle on the Costa del Sol is one of the big draws of holidaying here. This means your outside space is a huge asset if you’re renting out your property as a holiday rental. The most popular category of accommodation we provide is villas with pools and a large and pretty garden is highly sought after. It’s particularly popular to have fruit trees where people can go and pick oranges, lemons and limes off their own tree, as it feels like they are really living the Mediterranean dream.

However, you need to make sure that those gardens and pools are cared for, as your guests don’t want to be watering and weeding, they just want everything to look its best. We have a team of trusted property maintenance experts, gardeners and pool cleaners who can take care of everything for you and your guests.

We have also been providing information to help you to best manage your pool and garden over the years via this blog, so we wanted to share some tips and tricks to help you create a stunning garden, and show you where some of our best resources are kept.

Making the most of your Spanish garden – The trick with keeping a beautiful, healthy garden, even when you’re not there, is to plan properly, plant well and make sure you have a good irrigation system in place. We’d advise that you choose local plant species which are drought tolerant so you don’t have to water too often. Also think about what are the best options if you need a low maintenance garden, for example using white stones rather than grass for a modern look which keeps away weeds and doesn’t need looking after. We have some more great tips for creating and maintaining a Spanish garden here.

Caring for fruit trees – As I mentioned before, fruit trees are a wonderful asset for any garden on the Costa del Sol, as they provide shade, look and smell great and of course supply you and your guests with delicious, ripe fruit. Here are our tips for orange trees; they need to be planted in spring, in a sunny spot with good drainage and it should be watered at least once a week particularly in the heat of the summer. Find out more about looking after orange trees

Caring for pools – You have three main things to focus on with your pool. The first is to make sure they are safe and legal and you’re complying with any local legislation that you need to follow. Secondly, you need to keep them clean and inviting for your guests by using the right dosing of chemicals and having someone to clean the pool once a week to make sure everything is OK. Finally, you need to have a strategy for looking after the pool over the winter, so that it is in the best shape for when the summer rolls around again. Read more about caring for pools in Spain

Remember we’re here to help you to care for your Costa del Sol property inside and out by providing top quality property management and property maintenance services. We are rental experts as well, so we can help you to get more rental bookings and generate a great income off that property too. Please speak to us if you need property management or rental management advice for your Costa del Sol property.

Preparing your Property for 2016

Preparing your Property for 2016According to the Guardian, and many other sources, Spain is due for another record breaking year in 2016, after the best year yet in 2015. Summer 2015 was amazing, with September also breaking records with a 3.6% increase on visitors through Malaga airport even off peak. Our holiday rental division had an increase of 18% compared to 2014, welcoming over 10,000 guests. But of course we want our clients to have even more rentals, so it’s brilliant to think that even more tourists are due to come to Spain this year.

The Guardian predicts that Spain will be the top destination for both Britons and Russians who are wary of Egypt and other, once popular, holiday hot spots due to the instability and terror attacks. Rather than decide not to travel at all in the face of these troubles, people seem to be determined to get their week in the sun, but are choosing safe places such as the Costa del Sol.

TravelSupermarket.com have reported that a third of searches on their site are for Spain and ABTA (the Association of British Travel Agents) claimed that Spain is set for a bumper year, with bookings for summer 2016 way ahead of previous years. Read the full article

In order to make the most of this fantastic increase in tourism, make sure that your property is looking good after the winter and that the photos that you have represent it in the best light. If it’s looking a little tired, a new coat of paint and some new linen, upholstery, soft furnishings and accessories can make a massive difference. Our trustworthy and professional team of property maintenance experts can get your property looking a million dollars, quickly and for less than you may think. For a limited time only, we’re offering special prices starting from 675€ to put a coat of paint on all the walls in your apartment. So take a critical look at your property before the peak season begins and let us help you to improve it, contact us for a quote.

When you’re preparing you property, remember that the hottest July on record threw everything into chaos last year and don’t get caught out without fans or working air-con before the hot weather arrives. Ensure the property is properly aired, heated and cleaned if it’s been empty for some time and that you wash linen which may be musty after a winter stored away. To find out more check out our tips for getting more rentals

Summer may feel like a long time away, but bear in mind that Easter is the official start of the peak season, and it’s really early this year – starting on 20th March! So we recommend that you get work done this month, so you can take new pictures and let us start marketing ready for the start of the season.

If you trust in HomeCareontheWeb to handle your rentals, we can take care of everything. As property management and maintenance specialists with over ten years of experience on the Costa del Sol, you know that your property is in safe hands. We have a dedicated rental department with powerful partnerships with holiday rental giant Novasol and so we can make sure your property gets noticed and handle all aspects of the bookings, so you can simply enjoy the rental income rolling in. We look forward to helping you to get more rentals this year!

Tips for maintaining your Costa del Sol property in the winter

maintaining your Costa del Sol property in the winterIf you’re lucky enough to own a Costa del Sol property, you probably think about it and visit it during the summer months, either because you’re renting it out for holiday rentals, or because you and your family are using it yourselves. However, ensuring your property remains in good condition over the winter is key to reducing the occurrence of problems and expensive maintenance issues.

Most Costa del Sol properties as designed and built for the glorious summer weather which we enjoy so often, with large windows, lush tropical gardens, large terraces equipped with furniture and large expanses of luxurious, cooling marble. These properties are amazing in the summer months, but can be problematic in the winter, getting very cold and damp and sometimes flooding.

The hot sun is tough on properties and so when the rains come, the water has a tendency to find its way in if the sun has weakened terrace joints or roofs. This is also the time when many properties sit empty, so if a small leak does occur it is not discovered for months, or until there’s a major problem and by then it’s a really costly problem to solve.

Here are some tips for ensuring your property stands up to the winter season –

  1. At the end of the summer season inspect your property carefully for any cracks or degradation of tiles or seals and get them fixed there and then
  2. Check gutters and drains for any leaves or anything which could block them and cause issues when the rains come
  3. Cover your pool if you can to keep it in good condition
  4. Check that your garden has adequate drainage which takes water away from the house and consider an automatic irrigation system for the dry winter days to make sure the garden is in great condition for next season
  5. Move all outdoor furniture inside and make sure it is clean and dry when you bring it in
  6. Clean your property thoroughly before closing it for any length of time, leaving fridges and freezers defrosted and with their doors open
  7. Have someone come and check the property at least once a month to identify any maintenance issues and air the property
  8. Consider heating the property sporadically to combat any damp
  9. Consider using the winter season for improvements such as a new coat of paint or improving tired bathrooms or replacing broken tiles etc. and ask builders to air the property and heat it when they are there to make sure it isn’t getting damp
  10. Check the property at least a month before any rental bookings to enable you to fix any issues, warm up the property and get rid of any damp smells

We offer comprehensive property management packages, where we come and check and air properties on the Costa del Sol on a regular basis and use our team of property maintenance experts to solve any issues quickly and efficiently. With over 10 years of experience and a great team behind us, you can trust HomeCareontheWeb to keep your property in tip top conditions for you or tenants next year.

Caring for pools and keeping guests safe

bigstock-Pool-Cleaner-5348730As holiday rental and Costa del Sol property management specialists, we get the biggest demand for villas with private pools, or apartments with communal gardens and good pools. Diving into a cool swimming pool in the hot Spanish weather is one of the things that many guests dream about and so it’s definitely a selling point.

However, it is crucial that swimming pools are clean, well-maintained and of course safe to use, so we wanted to give you a few tips for looking after them and your guests.

  1. Make sure they are safe and legal

Spanish law requires that communal pools for more than 20 properties are fenced off and for large urbanisations that the pool has a lifeguard. This has caused considerable issues for those on communities and there has been some opposition to it. However, it’s important to remember the reason for the regulations which is a high incidence of drownings amongst young children wandering out unnoticed and falling in. If your community hasn’t got their pool fenced off, we suggest you bring it up with your President, as there are hefty fines for not complying. This is a hugely important issue to consider in a private property as well, especially when you rent it out, and so we advise you to fence in the pool to protect yourself against the repercussions from accidents and of course keep guests safe. Fencing off your pool will make it easier to rent for families who are the most important holiday rental market, so it will be a benefit to you.

  1. Keep Pools Clean

Make sure that your pool has the correct dosing of chemicals such as chlorine to keep water clean and safe to be used. There are some great “green” alternatives to the traditional pool chemicals which do not smell or cause damage to clothes and hair, plus save you money. Check out ozone, UV and pool purifiers online, or speak to a swimming pool specialist to ask about the options.

We recommend that you have someone to clean the pool once a week, check the chemicals, give it a clean and make sure that everything is OK. Leave out a swimming pool net in an easy to access place so guests can clean it themselves during their stay as well, there’s nothing more unpleasant than flies, leaves and debris in there without being able to deal with it.

  1. Care for your pool during the winter

It’s not just about the summer, leaving a pool alone for months on end can give you a costly and difficult problem to deal with when you return, so it’s better to keep it regularly maintained and checked to avoid problems developing.

Our property maintenance service includes pool cleaning and maintenance with trustworthy workmen and we can help you to get holiday rentals and manage them during their stay. Please contact us for more information – + 34 952 83 95 95 or email info@homecareontheweb.com

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