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French Holiday Homes: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Owners of rental properties often wonder how they can make theirs stand out from the rest. We have been renting holiday property for over 25 years and whilst some stand out for the best of reasons, others have stuck in our minds for all the wrong ones.

The best of the lot have always had swimming pools, not always big and seldom heated but they really are a bonus and can make a property far more attractive to holidaymakers and compensate for a property not being close to the sea. Games like table-tennis or snooker are also popular with families and even if there is no room indoors, a garage, barn or even car-port can be used. A collection of board games, jigsaws and books is always welcome and most people are happy to leave books behind that they have finished reading.

Most of your potential clients will have washing machines and dishwashers at home and may be reluctant to rent a house without the same home comforts. Remember to leave the instruction manuals handy, even if they are in French, to avoid damage caused by guess-work.

If your property is not air-conditioned a few free-standing fans will reassure people that they are not going to swelter. If there is room in the main bedroom a queen size or king size bed can give your property the edge over others especially if you provide linen and towels, even if you charge for the privilege. This year our rental came complete with towels for the beach and pool too, a real boon as we were flying and therefore limited in what we could pack. Other little touches included a hair-dryer, beach chairs, mats and sun umbrella and basic ingredients for cooking.

I am glad to say that I have far more good memories than bad, but my list of bugbears includes saggy beds, plastic under sheets, rock-hard bolster-style pillows, dingy rooms with no decent lighting to read by, insufficient amounts of crockery and cutlery, empty gas canisters for the barbecue, and kitchens devoid of basics like washing-up liquid.

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