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Spain receives a boost by being named the world’s healthiest nation

As experts in holiday rentals and long-term rentals on the Costa del Sol, we were very pleased to see Spain ranked number one in Bloomberg’s Healthiest Country Index 2019. This has been widely promoted around the world and brought more positive attention on Spain as a great place live for a healthy and long life.

We expect this to have a positive impact on people wanting to move over to Spain permanently, as the index showed how good the public health system was and how, as a result of public health policies, rates of heart disease and deaths from cancer has significantly dropped. It also praised the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet on life expectancy and judged the country on many different variables which lead to a healthy life. Spain is expected to overtake Japan as the country with the highest life expectancy in 2040, further reinforcing Spain’s position as a healthy place to live.

Having lived and worked in Spain ourselves for many years, we’d say that there are a number of other factors about life here which makes it healthier than other nations.

  1. Access to great sports facilities, with a climate and culture which encourages getting active
  2. A relaxed attitude to life, which really reduces stress
  3. A culture which encourages family time and supporting each other

Demand for long-term rentals increasing

This positive news and promotion of the lifestyle benefits of Spain is further fuelling demand for long-term rental properties. Long-term rental demand has been growing for a number of years now, while supply has been decreasing, and this is causing significant price increases in the market – a trend we expect to continue. While competition in the short term let sector is very high, in many popular areas the demand is so high for long-term rentals that you can pick and choose your tenants.

If this sounds appealing and you’d like to earn rental income from your property, but have been put off from renting short term by the new rental laws, or the hassle of renting your holiday home, please get in touch.

We are actively looking for more long-term rental properties on the Costa del Sol from September onwards. Our dedicated Costa del Sol long-term rental website attracts a high level of visitors and we really need more properties to meet the demand.

With HomeCareontheWeb on your side, renting out your property doesn’t need to be stressful

HomeCareontheWeb are experts in property management and pride ourselves on caring for your property as if it was our own. If you rent out your property with us, we can take care of everything, from inventories and contracts, to rent collection and regular checks of the property. We can deal with any maintenance issues for your tenants, in your absence, and keep you informed about everything via our online owners’ area.

Please contact us and find out how we can help you start renting out your property long-term

Preparing your home for rentals

Here at HomeCareontheWeb we are property management and rental experts, with more than 15 years’ experience caring for our clients’ homes as if they were our own. Some clients simply like us to keep an eye on the property and deal with any issues that may arise while they’re away. However, the majority of our owners also want our help with generating income by renting out their property.

So, we wanted to share a few steps you need to take to prepare yourself and your home before you can start to rent it out and generate rental income.

  1. Decide whether to go short or long term

The first step in preparing your home for rentals is to decide what kind of rentals you want to do – short term holiday rentals, or long-term rentals. The long-term rental market is really booming and there is a definite shortage of supply, which is pushing prices up. However, this is most suitable for owners who don’t want to use their properties and are simply using it as an investment. Some contracts have breaks for the summer months to allow owners to holiday there themselves, but tenants usually want a 12 month contract. To find out more about long-term rentals download our free guide Home Owners Tips for Long-Term Rentals

If you want to use your property, but aren’t here often and can be flexible as to when you holiday, then short term rental is a good idea. Although there is a lot of competition in this field, properties rent well over the peak summer months, but tend to be empty outside the season, so you can use the property yourself. There is now regulation in this industry and you need to register your property, inform the police station when guests arrive and pay tax on your rental income, but this is still a good way to maximise the investment in your property.

Download our Secrets of Successful Rentals Guide to learn more about renting out your property.

Once you’ve decided how you want to rent your property then you need to prepare your property for when guests arrive.

  1. Make sure guests are informed

Create an information pack which helps guests to enjoy their stay to the full. This includes contact information for you or your property management company, instructions on how to operate things like the air conditioning, washing machine and dishwasher and any rules and regulations you would like guests to abide by. This information pack should also contain information about the local area, so your tenants feel right at home and know everything they need to so that living in your property offers the best possible experience.

  1. Protect your valuables

Guests will look after your property to the best of their ability, but it’s best not to leave important things at risk. Pack away any items of value (sentimental or financial) and any delicate items you wouldn’t want broken and store them in a safe place. Many landlords buy new but easily replaced packs of cups, plates and glasses from Ikea so there’s no sentimental value and if things get broken it really doesn’t matter.

It’s also a good idea to remove any highly personal items such as photographs and keepsakes and make your property neutral, as this will help guests feel right at home.

  1. Clean, clear out and tidy

Clear your cupboards and fridge and make sure you have all the essential items for a short term or long term tenant. Then deep clean everywhere and perform any small maintenance tasks you may have been putting off to make sure everything is perfect for your guests’ arrival.

Organize cleaners who can handle the change over after guests leave and gardeners, if necessary, to keep your garden in good condition for guests and make sure the property is secure. Appoint someone to keep hold of your keys so that cleaners, gardeners and maintenance people can get access. Then you are ready to welcome your first guests and start generating income.

If this all sounds like too much work, call in the experts!

HomeCareontheWeb can take care of all of this for you. Our experience and multi-skilled team makes this easy, and we have processes in place to remove the stress from you. We are able to find you rental clients, taking bookings, handle payments and deposits and organize all the people needed to keep your property in great condition for you and your tenants.

Please browse our website to find out more about our property management packages and our rental management services, or contact our helpful team to find out more.

Spain’s General Election Run Down

While most of our clients don’t live in Spain, they own property here, renting it out and paying taxes, so it’s important to stay up to date with the political situation. Spaniards went to the polls on the 28th of April after a snap election was called by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party). In this post, we will summarise what happened and how the political landscape has changed.

There was a very high turnout, of nearly 76% and PSOE won the election, with a 28.7% share of the votes. PSOE defines itself as “social democratic, centre-left and progressive”. Pedro Sánchez is leading the party and is the acting Prime minister. However despite the strong performance, the party has not done enough to get an absolute majority, therefore will need to make an alliance with more parties to form a governing coalition.

In the election, the Popular Party (PP) lost a huge number of seats, down from 137 to just 66 – their worst result in history. PP is center-right and led from the 2011 elections until 2018 when a corruption case brought down the government with a no confidence vote. Pablo Casado was named leader in July 2018, and the party swung further to the right, the dismal result in the current elections has brought his leadership into question.

Far right Vox secured 10.26% of the votes, lower than polls suggested, they enter congress, but will not play a decisive roll in the formation of a new government.

Cuidadanos is a centre right political party, opposed to Catalan nationalism. They improved their position significantly, up from 32 to 57 representatives, but have refused to go into coalition with PSOE. Left wing Unidas Podemos lost 29 seats in the election, but is looking to go into a governing coalition with the socialists.

Now the politicians are negotiating to form coalitions and the PSOE is the only party able to build a governing majority. However, they are also preparing for the local and regional elections on May 26th and aren’t in a rush to finalise their alliances until these elections are complete and the votes are counted. El Pais predicts a “long power struggle” and how the final political landscape will look remains to be seen. We will keep you updated.

Find out more on the El Pais in English website –

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/29/inenglish/1556519911_184823.html

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/04/30/inenglish/1556608489_985863.html

Spring clean your home

Spring has sprung here in Spain and we’ve had some beautiful weather, with warm temperatures and sunny skies. This is the time of year that we always advise our property owners to have a bit of a spring clean and take a look if there are any maintenance tasks that need to be done.

Although winters in Spain are mild, when there aren’t people in the property and when it is cooler and wetter and the wind gets up, problems can develop. So either go down to the property and assess it, or get a property maintenance company such as HomeCareontheWeb to do it for you.

We start with an inspection, which checks windows, doors, paint work and shades outside the property. We check for signs of damp inside and out, as this can often develop over the winter. We then look for signs of wear and tear and things that need to be refreshed or replaced before you welcome new holiday makers. The key things we look at are the bedding and towels, the paintwork and the furniture inside and out. Then we will send a report over to the property owner and log all the details in the owners’ area on the website, with pictures and suggestions on what should be done.

One of the very common maintenance tasks, which many people overlook, is cleaning the filters on your air conditioning units. Under the new holiday rental regulation, air conditioning is essential if you are renting out your property and it’s something that rental clients really need. However for owners it can be expensive and troublesome, breaking down, not cooling as well as it should and using a lot of energy.

You will be very pleased to know, that by cleaning or replacing a dirty filter, you can reduce your air conditioner’s energy consumption by between five and fifteen percent. Cleaning the filters also improves the performance of the unit and so guests will need to have it on for less time, reducing those bills even further.

Air conditioning filters should be cleaned or replaced every year, depending on the model and how much you use it. Make sure it’s on your list of spring cleaning tasks to prepare your property for the summer season. Check out this home cooling infographic with energy saving tips on how you can help guests stay comfortable in your property this summer, while minimising the impact on the environment and your wallet.

The annual spring clean and routine maintenance is very important to keeping your property in good condition, getting to grips with any problems early and avoiding any nasty surprises. Our cleaning team can undertake an annual spring clean of the property, giving it a real deep clean, air it and get it ready for the first arrivals of the season.

By taking our property management and maintenance package, your property will be cared for and looked after by professionals who really care. Wherever you are, you can relax in the knowledge that we’ve got it covered! Contact us to find out more, or request a quote.

Advice for property owners from the UK

The whole world is talking about Brexit and many people are worried about where it will leave those of us from the UK who own properties here in Spain. Unfortunately, we don’t have a crystal ball to know how the renegotiations will go and whether we will leave with a deal on the 29th of March, but we’ve been reassured by the advice from the British Consulate and the clauses in the agreement which protect the rights of UK nationals living in Spain.

The British Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley spoke to Spanish paper El Pais in December about the agreement which was proposed by the EU and said “Citizens’ rights is a key part of the agreement, so this represents a big step forward in providing certainty for UK nationals living in Spain”. We know of course that this deal was rejected by MPs, but hopefully, these key points will also be included in any renegotiated deal as well.

The British Consulate did a series of events around the Costa del Sol last month, speaking to British expats there about Brexit and there is another Brexit talk in Manilva on the 6th of February. These talks were a great way for residents to ask their questions and the overwhelming message was don’t worry, but just make sure that you are legally registered to be living or owning property here in Spain. Make sure you have your Foreigners’ Identification Number (NIE) and are registered on the “padron”, which is like the council register for residents. Find out about the residency requirements on the Gov UK website.

It is expected that anyone living in Spain before March will be protected, but that moving to an EU country after that date may be more difficult. It is unlikely that holidaymakers will be effected by any rule changes, so tourism should continue to be strong, no matter what happens. The property market is already strong with non-EU citizens buying properties here, so while there may be a few additional barriers, it shouldn’t be a big issue.

The uncertainty seems to be around those retiring here who want state provided healthcare, which is covered by a reciprocal agreement, but may not be in the future.

There are people who are selling up and moving back to the UK to be on the safe side, but many more who are taking a wait and see approach and believing that both the UK and the Spanish government want to keep the positive relationship between the two countries and protect the rights of expats living in Spain. The Costa del Sol has been a popular destination for tourists and foreign residents since long before the UK joined the EU and we believe will continue to be for many years to come. Quite how the politicians will sort it out remains to be seen, but we are continuing to enjoy the wonderful way of life here and enjoy income from our rental properties and we hope you will continue to do the same.

Founder of HomeCareontheWeb Tony Sidebottom commented; “This on going situation is frustrating for all of us, as everyday the news tells us yet another situtaion or story, whilst we the public and businesses carry on regardless.

One thing is very clear is that no matter if Brexit happens, or even if it doesn’t, we at HomeCareontheWeb are here to ensure your property and guests are professionally taken care of.”

If you need support with registering yourself, making sure that you are legally protected and managing your property while you are in the UK, we can help. Our comprehensive property management and maintenance packages include lots of support and advice for our owners, so please feel free to contact us and make sure you are covered for any eventuality.

Make getting more rentals your New Year’s Resolution

Make getting more rentals your New Year’s Resolution

Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you are looking forward to an excellent year ahead.

What was your New Year’s Resolution? If you own a property on the Costa del Sol, then getting more rentals in 2019 should be right there alongside going to the gym, getting a new job, or spending more time with the family.

If you are only getting a few rentals each year, that’s thousands of Euros of lost revenue which is just passing you by! There are lots of ways to generate more income from your property, whether it’s improved marketing, maintenance to make the property more attractive to your target groups, or simply better images. Download our secrets of successful rentals guide for ideas and inspiration on how you can improve your performance.

Our job as property managers is of course to take care of our clients’ properties, but increasingly the demand is more to generate rental bookings and handle them for our clients too. To make this easy for owners and rental clients, we have developed a holiday rental website where holidaymakers can browse, book and pay online. You can monitor bookings through your owners’ area and we will handle everything that the guests need to have a great holiday, without bothering you.

We have developed partnerships with travel agents and tour operators in the UK and Ireland, as well as with Europe’s largest provider of privately owned holiday homes to drive bookings to our clients’ properties. Our large team of customer service, maintenance and management experts looks after the clients so they come back for more, generating valuable repeat bookings, and you don’t have to lift a finger!

So if your New Year’s Resolution was to get more rentals this year, you know what to do! Talk to the property management experts at HomeCareontheWeb, sign up for a property and rentals management package and start earning more rental income from your property.

Making the Costa del Sol more accessible to foreign residents

Making the Costa del Sol more accessible to foreign residents

Foreigners have been moving to the Costa del Sol since the 1960s and services have grown to meet their needs; private clinics and hospitals with multi-lingual staff, international schools and services and businesses which cater to particular nationalities, languages and cultures.

The government knows that they also need to accommodate foreigners who may not speak the language, as this is a boost to the economy. Each Town Hall has a Foreign Residents Department, which is dedicated to their needs and is an excellent first point of call for any new resident. In recent years, these services have expanded and new offices are often opening. For example, a large new foreign residents office opened in Torremolinos in 2017 and added more support services this summer, responding to the increasing need.

Medical centres and hospitals in the most popular areas for expats have volunteer translators to help patients and there are many services springing up offering support to navigate the healthcare system in general.

One area which foreign residents often find difficult is supporting their children in the state schooling system if they have limited Spanish themselves. Luckily, in some areas there are bilingual schools being set up within the state system and other schools are taking the initiative to set up a support system for non-Spanish speakers.

Estepona Town Hall has just announced that they are creating a pioneering service which offers interpreters for parents in their public schools. This will offer an interpreter to accompany foreign parents to meetings with teachers to help their children to integrate better and perform to their best ability within the Spanish school system. They offer this service in ten languages including English, French, Russian, Norwegian and even Arabic!

All of these facilities and services make the Costa del Sol more popular to foreign residents and what is called residential tourism – people that come for part of the year and live there for extended periods of time. These people offer excellent opportunities for property owners who rent out their property to secure rentals outside of the peak summer period. Many Scandinavians for example will come for the winter only and then return home for the summer. If you are open to reducing your prices for longer term lets, this offers an amazing extra revenue stream, while still allowing you to rent to tourists over the peak summer months.

The many foreign residents who live here all year round, also offer excellent options to rent out your property long-term. This is a major growth area and there is a lack of supply to meet demand. Prices are increasing as a result of the shortage and so we’re encouraging owners who don’t use their property to consider this sector. It is a lot easier to find tenants for long-term rentals, than for the highly competitive short-term rental sector and the strict legislation which has been brought in to regulate holiday rentals, does not apply to long-term rentals, so it’s a lot easier to set up and manage.

Our Property Management specialists offer long-term rentals management packages which can help you with the set up and day-to-day running of your long-term rental property. We can offer all inclusive packages, or just a few services to take away the stress. Contact us to find out more.

Promoting the Costa del Sol to boost tourism

Promoting the Costa del Sol to boost tourism

If you own a Costa del Sol property and you rely on holiday rentals to generate income, you will be pleased to hear that the local authorities are working hard to promote the Costa del Sol and expand the tourism sector. It would be easy to rest on its laurels, as one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, but they know that the competition from other holiday areas is fierce and they need to keep exploring different markets to remain current and keep popularity high.

Following a summer packed with attractive events to draw in tourists to the area, there were a number of high profile events in September too, which aimed to extend the traditional tourist season and appeal to a different type of traveller.

Malaga Fashion Week created the longest haute couture catwalk in Europe, by converting the important shopping street Calle Larios into a fashion mecca. The two-day event attracted designers from around the world and around 15,000 fashionistas watched the shows each day.

Gibraltar also attracted the crowds on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of September with the MTV Gibraltar Music Festival. This amazing event brought nearly 30 music groups to Gibraltar, with internationally renowned artists such as Stormzy, Two Door Cinema Club, Rita Ora, Chase & Status, Sister Sledge, Suzi Quatro and The Boomtown Rats. This attracted lots of tourists to stay on the Western Costa del Sol, to enjoy a sunshine holiday and then take advantage of the buses to go to and fro the festival each day.

To increase tourism from the United States, Marbella Town Hall has been contacting luxury travel organizations and in September signed an agreement with Virtuoso, the largest network of luxury travel agencies in the States. This should boost the number of luxury travellers coming over with big budgets to spend. Find out more

The Andalusian Council, the Junta de Andalucia, is also looking for ways to reach new audiences and to extend the season. They have budgeted nearly €10 million to promoting and developing tourism inland, with a focus on cultural and off-peak tourism. This will be a real boost to inland areas such as our stunning white villages, which have underdeveloped tourism sectors. Find out more

The tourist boards for each area and the local Town Halls will also start the rounds of tourism fairs that promote the destination amongst tourism professionals and encourages them to send their clients to the Costa del Sol. One of the new initiatives they are preparing to present at the most important Spanish Tourism Fair in January, is a platform to help tourists visit the places where popular films and TV series have been filmed.

All of these activities will boost tourism throughout the year and help property owners benefit from the lucrative holiday rental market and earn rental income. This is where our professional property management and rentals team come in. We can take the stress out of renting out your property, market it to maximise your bookings and manage every step of the process, so you don’t have to. Get in touch with us today, if you want to rent out your property for the next season, or need some support to increase your current bookings and make it easier for you

Take advantage of the long-term rental off-peak market

Take advantage of the long-term rental off-peak market

September is here and this marks the end of the high season and the start of the quieter off-peak season. Although September is getting more popular for holidaymakers and it is slightly extending the traditional summer season, there’s no doubt that by the end of the month there won’t be as many holiday rental clients to go around.

If you like to use your property over autumn and winter, then this will suit you fine, but if it is just sitting empty and you want to maximise your income, then you need to think differently. Long-term rentals are in high demand in September, as families are trying to settle kids into school and work opportunities pick up after the summer lull. It’s a great time of year, as many long-term renters will have been frustrated by the holiday season, won’t have been able to see properties and are now desperate to find a place to call their own.

We have a lot of long-term rental clients and not enough quality properties to fill their needs. This means landlords are in a very good position. Competition is low, especially for the non-Spanish market, who can’t use the long-term property rental sites here due to the language. These foreign residents are often willing to spend more than their Spanish counterparts and will sometimes even accept a shorter contract, allowing you to have the option to still rent out your property in the summer months, as some people return to their home country over summer.

Long-term rentals may not bring in the same per week as a holiday rental, but because your season is all year round and tenants tend to stay for years if they are well looked after, it’s a steady, predictable income stream. You don’t have to compete with thousands of other properties, so it’s easier to find tenants and because supply is limited, prices are on the rise.

Long-term rentals are also not governed by the rentals laws that have been making things more complicated for short-term rentals. Plus, there’s not much to do – no key holding or meet and greet, no cleaning at the end of each week. Once you have your contract signed and the tenants are in, you’re simply collecting rent each month and occasionally dealing with issues as and when they arise.

We have a range of long-term rental management packages available. These start from the most basic, where we offer advice and one year of keyholding, plus marketing your property to get you a tenant, up to the most comprehensive. With our all-inclusive rentals management service package we can help you set up the property, handle all the tenant’s requirements throughout the tenancy and offer legal support for contracts and changing over utilities, so you don’t have to do a thing.

We’ve condensed all our years of experience into a guide to help you decide if renting long term is right for you and offering tips on how to make the most from this style of renting. Download the guide for free – Home Owners Tips for Long Term Rentals or contact us to find out how we can help you start renting your property long-term.

Summer 2018 Property Owners’ Update

 

Summer 2018 Property Owners Update

The busiest part of the summer is upon us and according to the Minister of Tourism this year is on track to break records once again. Predictions are that Spain will receive over 30 million tourists between July and September. Many of these will be heading to Andalusia, which is the 4th most visited area in Spain for tourism (behind Catalonia, the Balearics and Canary Islands). Malaga Airport has already welcomed 1,930,866 people in June alone, a 1.2% increase on last year’s figure.  We hope that you are noticing an increase on last year’s rentals to reflect this rise and also the growing popularity in holiday rental properties.

If you are renting out your property, there are some changes in laws which can impact on your renters that we wanted to share with you.

First and foremost is the anti-social behaviour rules, which are now in place in Marbella. It is not permitted to walk around the town without shirts on, drink in the streets, or act in an anti-social manner. Tourists who are breaking these rules will first be warned, but then can be fined up to 750€ if they do not comply. Find out more

There have been weather warnings for a heatwave during August with temperatures climbing over 40°C in many places. It looks like the Costa del Sol will be protected from the highest temperatures, but please bear this in mind and make sure that your air conditioning and/or fans are working and you have clear instructions for use for tenants so they can be comfortable during their stay.

Recently there have been some large forest fires and the fire fighter’s representatives have released a map which shows that the Costa del Sol is at high risk of forest fires. It is important that tourists understand that they need to take great care with barbeques and fires during this time and that there are fines of 200€ for throwing cigarette butts out of car windows, as these can easily cause a fire.

Finally, if your tenants are hiring cars, they should be aware of the Spanish regulations on car seats for children. Children less than 135cm must be in seats which are suitable for their height and weight and may not ride in the front seat unless there are very special circumstances. Advise tenants that they need to request seats from the hire car company in advance, as they can be in short supply during the school holidays.

They should also be aware that drink drive limits are very strict here and that police often do spot checks on the main roundabouts during summer months, both in the evenings and first thing in the morning. The limits are 0.5mg of alcohol per ml of blood, this means in practice 2 small glasses of wine, or 2 small beers maximum for women and 3 each for men, so you need to take care.

For more information and advice on renting out your property browse our website and read our blog. Remember that if you need support with rentals management we are here to help you every step of the way with our comprehensive property management service.

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