Put Your Holiday Home To Work For You

In the past few years the holiday rental industry has developed rapidly, it’s now easier then ever to rent out your holiday home. Whether you’d like to invest in real estate in Croatia to permanently convert it into a holiday rental, or just rent out your Croatian property for a few weeks while you’re not using it, there are many websites and services that will help you do so. While renting out your holiday home can be a great way to bring in extra money, there are some legal and practical issues to consider, such as taxes, permits, insurance, liability for guest injuries, housekeeping between guests, municipal restrictions etc. You will need to do some research and make smart, educated decisions to get the most out of your property and to get your holiday home to work for you.

Determine whether or not your property would make a suitable vacation rental.

Homeowners turn their second homes into holiday rentals for various reasons. Renting out your holiday home can yield significant financial benefits – but only if you do it right. Before  you invest a lot of time and money getting ready to rent, you should first ensure that your Croatian property is rentable.

If there are other well established vacation rentals in your area that is an excellent sign that your home is rentable. If you are going to rent out your holiday home while you are not using it check if the period (season) in which you’re planning to rent even attracts tourists. This way you can determine if it’s even worth going through the process and expense of getting the renting permit if your property will remain empty for most of the time.

Search an online site such as Airbnb or booking.com for listings in your area. Are there many listings in your area, maybe too many? Is there demand for rentals in your area? Is it in a desirable location? Is it near popular attractions? Does your home offer similar amenities? Does the home have any amenities or unique features that would make it particularly desirable?  Are you willing to add or upgrade amenities to make the home a desirable rental?

Apply for a rental permit.

In all parts of Croatia you need a rental permit, it is very important that you are familiar with the forms of regulation and that you give yourself plenty of time to get through the application process before your first guests arrive. Once you have determined the kind of rental you want to offer, contact your city or county government, in Croatia this is the County Administration Office (Ured državne uprave, služba za gospodarstvo/Odjel za turizam, info at: www.udusdz.hr/odjturizam.html) for specific instructions for getting the permits you need. You can also get a lot of information at your local tourist board (Turisticka Zajednica) or tourist agency but you will need to go to the County Office to apply. Be aware that in some areas, especially the popular tourist destinations, getting a rental permit can be an extensive process because it requires an inspection by the tourist inspection, several payments and authorizations to complete the process.

Consider using a tourist agent and/or property management company.

Property management companies manage your holiday home for you, they take away most of the tasks and stress upon themselves. But they also take a significant part of the profit; as much as 20 to 50% of the rental income goes to the company as commission. Therefor it is recommended that you take on at least some tasks, like to meet the renter at the property and let them in or maintenance and housekeeping. If you are not able to take on these tasks, for a smaller commission you can also hire someone to perform certain tasks for you. Get recommendations from friends, neighbors or online. If your property is located in an area with more rental homes it is likely that there already is a local property manager active in the area.

Most tourist agencies will advertise your property for free and charge commission for every booking confirmed trough their booking system. Most agencies require the owner only to confirm the bookings, they manage the rest of the booking process. Owners often get their own user account on the agencies website and can handle confirmations, view their bookings, payments etc. online, which makes this a very easy process that can be conducted from the comfort of your primary home. So if you are able to handle the housekeeping and maintenance duties yourself using just a tourist agency is a great way to get a lot of renters and keep management costs to a minimum.

Prepare your home to rent, inside and out.

Keep detailed records of the money and time you spend getting your home ready, this will come in handy as you set your rental rates. Set the rates so that you don’t lose renters to similar properties in your area just because you are slightly more expensive, or because your rental rates are not compatible at all with similar properties. But also don’t set your rates too low, when you deduct the cost and time you invested, you still need to make money. It’s the nice, well located, in good shape, properties that turn out to be the best rentals. Do not furnish your property with extremely expensive furniture, linens, towels, etc unless you are going for a very high-end rental.

You must take these three points into consideration when setting rental rates:

  • Competitors’ Rates – How much are similar properties in the area renting for?
  • Expenses – How much will it cost to rent the property? Cleaning fees, insurance, management fees, utilities, pool cleaning, maintenance, renovations, etc.
  • Time – How much time will it take renting out and maintaining the property?

The numbers.

Croatia’s economy grew in 2015 after several years of recession, with GDP growth of 1.6%, thanks to strong tourism on its Adriatic coast. The economy expanded by 2.1% in 2016 and is expected to reach the highest growth since 2007 this year, according to estimates. The Adriatic coast performed spectacularly in 2016, with a large increase in overnight stays by tourists and growing interest from international homebuyers.

Most coastal areas have a 4 month tourist season and the average rental price for a holiday villa, depending on capacity, location and amenities, is app 400-600€ per night or 2800-4200€ per week. Which means that if you rent it out to full capacity for 60 nights you can make around 25.000-35.000€ per tourist season. Average apartment prices vary from 20€ to 200€ per night, also depending on capacity, location and amenities. In most regions the season starts mid-May and lasts until mid-September. If you plan on using your vacation home yourself for this part of the year you should revise weather there are tourists in your area for the rest of the year or whether you are willing to plan your vacation time around the summer season? In most small towns on the coast and on the islands there isn’t much tourist activity during the winter months.