“I’m now looking to increase the quality of my portfolio, not the quantity”
Kevin, owner of Goosander Lake House, Moorhen Lake House, Kingfisher Lake House, Coot Lake House, Ruddy Duck Lake House.
Kevin lives and works in the Cotswolds lakes both letting his own 3 homes and acting as a managing agent for other owners. Initially, he started by letting his own house and this was such a success that he bought a second one and holiday let that too. Number 3 property swiftly followed and it was at that stage that one of his neighbours asked if he would be able to look after their house too. Word of mouth did the rest and he now manages quite a few for other owners, all within the lakes, a beautiful area close to Cirencester. At the same time, he has just bought another property himself. He does not plan to grow his portfolio anymore believing instead that the quality of what is on offer needs to increase - “I purely look at it as return on investment - if you spend that extra bit on improvements, you will get a better return.”
Kevin commented that there are quite a number of challenges with being part owner, part manager as to start with he has less control over the houses he manages than the ones he owns. The other owners invariably think their particular property is ‘amazing’ and Kevin struggles to get them to understand what the market is seeking. These absentee owners will visit just a couple of times a year and forget that with the excellent income they receive, they must also expect some wear and tear. At the same time, there needs to be an allowance each year for upgrades to the house, much as you would expect in your own home. He has found this quite a struggle to get across.
Kevin's view is very much that of a businessman ‘ the house is a commodity, the sofa is a commodity, it's there to make money and nothing should be left that has any sentimental or emotional value’. He absolutely understands that that is hard to achieve in a home from home but says its important if you are trying to maximise income.
Last year, one of his houses was burnt down and whilst insured caused a lot of heartache and hard work to resolve. His ambition now is to move away from the managing side of the houses and onto renovating and building, bringing his wealth of knowledge of what works in a holiday home to bear. He has already started working with a new owner, advising on what he has learned from his many years of experience - so this lucky owner will benefit from such gems as sinking the hot tub into the decking so you don't ruin the view across the spectacular lake.
Kevin’s motto is the customer knows best, always meeting and greeting his guests, helping them with places to visit and tips on the best pubs, a consummate professional with exciting plans for the future.