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How to Rent property in Bansko

 

Like so many previously emerging property markets, Bansko suffered a immediate post construction lull whereby the physical properties were present but the marketing to fill them was not, hence it became known as a town uninhabited new-builds. For years after the credit crisis, optimistic and possibly deluded developers focussed their marketing budgets on selling units rather than filling them, however since that has long proven unsuccessful many of those same companies now redirect their efforts and their marketing money to the rental market. The results are encouraging, although the local government can be criticised for not effectively delivering any meaningful holistic marketing strategy, the collective effort of active private firms jockeying for position has delivered improved international awareness and set Bansko firmly on the map for budget skiers and cash strapped party-goers alike.

 

Safe, fun, lively, relatively inexpensive and without pretence, there is a niche within European skiing that Bansko has certainly filled. Perhaps not your cup of tea if you seek the glamour, prestige, charisma and allure of the Alps’ long established ski culture, but then again not everyone’s pockets are not deep enough for that anyway.

 

So, you own a property in Bansko, you thought about selling it but absolutely won’t be at today’s values, deciding to keep it you naturally want to get the most out of it until prices recover: here’s all you need to know about renting property in Bansko.

 

 

 

How can I get bookings?

If you want to maximise your returns then you need to be ready to be involved by email and over the phone, to actively administer your available dates and readily instruct third parties to clean, welcome guests, change linen, collect payment etc. If you have found the local capacity to do these tasks it will be your most efficient route and will result in the most income for you. No need to be exclusive with any one company, list with as many online booking portals as possible (typical costing 10-15% per booking). If you are without local help on standby then you can opt for a fully managed rental service from a smaller choice of companies and should expect them to charge around 30% per booking, they will need exclusivity and full access to the property for the season. Do try to combine your own self-managed bookings when under management with an exclusive agency, multiple key holders combined with last minute bookings will only ever result in double bookings, frustrated clients and costs you will be ultimately be liable for.

 

Opting for fully management is the simplest and easiest route, but owners must be sure they are dealing with professional companies who offer transparent payment and booking services and are truly fully accountable. Never sign a seasonal agreement without any ability to check bookings throughout the season, be sure you can view your rental balance at any time, such structures are fraught with deception and open to abuse by anyone in the chain who has access to your keys. Avoid agencies or reception based services who only supply an after the event seasonal statement, you will never be sure your income is in accordance with actual usage and will always question why the figures are so low or conveniently marginally above that season’s overheads.

 

Where should I market my offer?


Whichever route you choose, be sure that you have representation in the key Bulgarian market (more than half of Bansko’s visitors are now from Bulgaria and not abroad), Russian, Romania, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia. Neighbouring countries all lack ski resorts of Bansko’s size and modern facilities, there is a huge draw to Bulgaria and you must ensure your offer is present there. The most common mistake is listing only with UK companies aimed squarely at the.co.uk and .com English speaking markets only. These websites might be the biggest globally and may well deliver you some results, but you will be missing out on the bulk of demand for Bansko specifically as Russian tourists have never heard of and cannot commonly read the major brands you might know as an English speaker.

 

What are the pitfalls to know and avoid?

 

Like any market where revenue is scarce and insufficient, many Bansko complexes commonly suffer failed management and divided ownership committees causing power cuts, minimal staffing, closed facilities and lack of heating in common areas. Even under these circumstances rental is possible, after all the majority of visitors are young people seeking only a ‘crash pad’ so there is demand for such properties and their respectively lower prices. The problems start with the heating.

 

Being the only warm apartment in an otherwise disused building in a sub-zero ski resort is expensive. Throw into the mix a lack of central heating and apply only wall hung electric ‘plugged in’ radiators, often the least expensive models with the most inefficient consumption, you have everything required to generate a whopping electricity bill. In a nutshell, heating bills can outweigh rental income when your property has to raise the ambient temperature of all those around it, made worse if your tenants are inconsiderate and leave the heating on maximum all day and open a window to cool down. The worst part is that this is not something you or your agency can control effectively. If your neighbours are active you will all share the cost of collective heating and really this is the only solution, but you will never know before you take bookings and so this risk must be considered before you proceed.

 

Should I get insurance?

 

Absolutely yes. Although an annoying annual cost we’d all prefer to ignore when the investment isn’t performing, you might be surprised to learn that a fully comprehensive policy that will cover you from lost rental income as well as damage by tenants is commonly only 100-125 Euros / year. For peace of mind alone it is worth it. Should you have tenants in place and there is a problem that forces them out into the cold on New Year Eve or a flood from several floors above from an owner you haven’t any contact with, then at least you have your insurer to back you up. Policies are available from most agencies (for an instant quote click here) be sure to insure as a landlord’s policy, most holiday home policies do not provide cover when rented to paying guests.

 

How much can I expect?

 

Unlike most ski resorts, the peak season for owners to generate rental income in Bansko is not the typical peak ski period but actually approximately early December to early January, which is due to a hugely popular annual festival in the first weekend of December and enormous demand from Bulgarians over the two week Christmas and New Year period. Of course February’s half term and the longer sunny days of March still bring plenty of tourists, but unlike in the Alps it is not the first half of March that sees demand peak.

 

Prices can range considerably according to type of property, level of facilities and location. Typically the price of a 1 bedroom apartment within walking distance of the ski gondola is around 30 Euros / night off peak and 40 Euros / night peak season. Some complexes with a high level of onsite facilities and prime location such as Royal Bansko Towers, MPM Sports Hotel or Cedar Lodge 4 etc can achieve nearly 100% occupancy throughout the season and up to 55-60 Euros / night on average. Naturally, apartments in smaller buildings further out or without operational facilities will rent for less.

 

Generally, most Bansko apartments cover their annual running costs in a winter season, but it is heavily dependent on skiing conditions and other factors beyond your control. With good snow from December to April and with an average level of cancellations or no-shows, you can expect an average 1 bedroom apartment without facilities in a secondary location to generate around 1,000 Euros of income, a similar property in a prime location with facilities will achieve around 2,250 Euros. Figures above this are simply not realistic for Bansko in the current market so heed caution if an agency quotes more impressive figures, especially if they have any upfront listing fees or fixed annual costs.

 

Be ready for high heating bills, especially if your complex isn’t well used or your neighbours haven’t furnished their properties. Naturally if there are heating bills then there also paying occupants, in the worst case scenario you’ll need a season to learn your monthly running costs and adjust your price accordingly. A good agent will do this for you.

 

If you are interested in renting your ski proeprty this coming season, contact us via our dedictaed rental portal:


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