Sorry I haven’t been as prolific at getting these blogs out in the last week or 2.
I’ve been busy.
A lady called me 2-3 weeks ago.
Someone I had no links to.
She was a landlord and lives away from Aberdeen.
And she did not think her agent, who was managing her Aberdeen property, had been overly proactive.
As a traditional landlord of over 15 years I never used an agent. I had heard so many bad stories about them and wanted to try it myself.
So understand the stresses that can be involved of managing a rental property!
Poacher turned gamekeeper.
So she saw something I’d shared on Facebook about our self catering homes.
And she was impressed about how I was trying different things in these trying times.
She’d seen one of the ways had pivoted and tried to help out key workers, folk in need when I tried to reach out to the many who still needed a place to stay during lockdown due to various reason.
I called hospitals to house medics, councils to help homeless/domestic victims, universities for stranded students and relocation companies for folk stranded without a place to stay.
A friend returning from overseas needed a place to stay due to his place not being habitable due to an accident.
And we managed to help several folk in tough times.
That said these were at hugely discounted rates so haven’t made much of a dent into my outgoings, but it still feels like an achievement.
I am proud to have achieved that so giving myself a cyber pat on the back right now.
Anyway, back to our landlord.
She was the 6th landlord to contact me in the last couple of years, after I’d already gained experience running my own self catering places for the previous 2-3 years, to see if we could help each other.
And we have. Each and every one.
It’s been win, win.
Owners get no empty periods, disrespectful tenants, damages, agents disproportionate charges; not maintaining or marketing their places well etc.
And we get a place to provide to our great guests; usually contractors, holiday makers or folk between house moves, etc.
We go in crunch the numbers using engineering judgement on the back of a fag packet, assess the place for our needs.
If we think it is a go-er, we propose a scheme of improvement works and a draw up a management agreement with the owner.
Works range from upgrades, to minor repairs, to me applying a fresh coat of paint which always makes huge difference.
Last summer, one of my brand new owners needed a full bathroom replacement due to the agent not rectifying a leak which ended up rotting the timber framing of the walls!
How not to manage a property!
I managed all of this on his behalf without even meeting him until months later as lives in KL!
I have become a dab hand with the brush since leaving engineering 5 years ago!
But this was summer 2020 and not 2019.
And these were different times.
A different world.
In the middle of a lockdown.
With no idea how long things would take to recover.
The Aberdeen property market took a huge dive, way before COVID hit.
The oil and gas industry went south in 2015 and has never recovered.
Many folk have moved out of the area, retired, etc. And properties are up for sale and rent. Couple this with a crazy rate of building new homes and hotels means supply massively exceeds demand now.
Many of the existing and new builds which cant be sold are being tried out for different uses.
Prior to that everyone was a landlord. It was easy.
But in the last few years everyone has become an “Airbnb expert” now so this industry I have fallen into is more competitive.
A lot more!
But I am confident that my proactive approach during lockdown, and before, will reap rewards once folk can start moving more in Scotland (which is TODAY! the 3rd July! YAY!!).
We are visible, people know of us.
I hate social media, hate having my photo taken.
But I know it is for the good of our business, our livelihood so I am doing it.
Us: The two other key team members are hiding behind the camera but I couldn’t manage without either of them. They both muck in when needed to earn their keep.
We have harnessed an amazing reputation.
Already past guests are calling me to return, new contractors, even agents are calling me, friends are recommending us to their friends.
And I appreciate very single enquiry, recommendation and referral from friends and ex-guests.
So after seeing the agents advert and photos and having a quick look at the place, with this confidence in our ability to bounce back I said yes to Lorraine!
It did need a bit of work to make it look lovely again.
To turn it back into the home it was for her, 20 years or so prior to an agent looking after it.
And my paint splattered legs prove it!
So for the past week or two I have been gathering furniture, making some repairs and improvements and fully redecorating it and in the final throes of making it look beautiful.
It may seem crazy to many to be expanding business in this situation given that hospitality has and still is taking a MASSIVE blow.
But our past guests, holiday makers, contractors, folk returning to the area know how well we look after our properties and them as guests.
And as you know I like a wee well calculated gamble!
So bring on the post lockdown period Aberdeen.
We all want to get back to some level of normality, get back to work, see friends n family again.
And Dwellcome Home is waiting for you.
In Aberdeen and South Shields.
The Jocks and the Geordies await with a warm smiles and hearts.
But I only have until Sunday to get this new places sorted as then Sonny and Lola return and we head on a holiday with my mam then back to South Shields!
So we might go a little quieter than usual on social media form then.
Who knows, thats maybe a good thing!
Better get back to this painting!
Have a great Friday folks X
Colin and team!