Kirazli rental property - studio living room

Making money from your rental property in Turkey

The studio of our rental property

The big developers that build the cookie cutter resorts that crawl across the Turkish hillsides, eating up olive groves and blasting terraces out of the ochre cliffs, are fond of bigging up the rental potential of their complexes. At the end of the day, when the glossy brochure promises have faded in the sunlight and the tapu is grudgingly handed over they tend to produce a lot less money in pocket for owners who were initially reeled in by the wildly optimistic rental projections and no mention of overheads. Why they tend to produce such poor returns is a whole different article and a negative one at that and I don’t like writing negative stuff so I’ll stick to the positive and write about actually making money from a rental property in Turkey.

We make money from our rental (shock, horror, gasp!) and we have fun doing it and because we have low overheads we have a high profit margin. More than that we think about it, we work at it and (I think) we understand the market we are working in and that last bit is really key.

If you need/want/wish your home in Turkey to generate an income you need to do your homework before you ever look at a property. It is really hard to reverse engineer rental income from a wildly unsuitable home no matter how bloody brilliant you are at conjuring up images of idyllic, carefree days in the sun or how much money you throw at your marketing. You have to do the boring number crunching and the tedious research into tourism statistics before you buy. When you have done that here are a few more suggestions to help you choose and then run a profitable rental home.

There is more than one market – Turkey is more than a bucket and spade destination, way, way, way, more. Long before Turkey became a cheap holiday in the sun for the package holiday maker it was part of the Grand Tour and it remains a firm favourite of independent travellers on the 21st century version and these are the people who make up the most vibrant, diverse and sustainable sector of the tourism market.

Turkey has the ancient sites of Ephesus and Heiropolis, Priene and Didyma. It has geological wonders in Pamukkale and Cappadocia. It has Istanbul, crossroads of the Byzantine world; it has Izmir, with its 3500 years of recorded history. I could go on but you get the picture…this is a huge, fascinating, soaked in history, peppered with artefacts, sculpted by Mother Nature, country and if you choose your rental property primarily to appeal to the family with 2.4 children and a desire to go red in the sun you are missing out massively.

The independent travellers ask more but give more in return; they are prepared to pay higher prices for individual properties and they come all year round, not just for the short summer season. By working with the independent travellers we extend our rental season to ten months of the year. So study what Turkey really offers travellers and choose a property that is close to one of Turkey’s prime attractions, has great and varied transport links and you will maximise your season and your bookings.

Rental studio and pool

Standing out in a crowded market – you need a unique selling point, every business (and renting is a business) does, and if you are one of hundreds of identical properties accessing the same facilities in the same location you are going to struggle to stand out. When travellers run their eyes down the thumbnail photos on the left hand side of a list of rental properties and read that headline to your advert it helps if something about you stands out from the crowd. If you are in a crowded market place then only price or picture will make a difference. Personally I prefer picture because being cheapest is not a good thing.

You need to keep your marketing fresh, new pictures, new written content, being individual without being bonkers, being responsive to what the competition is saying and showing without slavishly copying them (how lazy is that!), and assessing your enquiries, finding out what worked and what didn’t and building on that.

Obviously it is easier to stand out from the crowd if your rental property is indeed something out of the ordinary and whilst we can’t all buy converted windmills or build luxury tree houses in our gardens to make ourselves unique we can choose properties that have a certain quirkiness and visual appeal to them and then we can maximise that with our interior style.

One bedroom properties, an less crowded market

Sometimes it is about maths – One bedroom rentals in Turkey make up around 10% of the available properties listed on the big mainstream rental portals. That’s a surprisingly low number. You have to ask yourself, do couples make up only 10% of the people interested in renting a vacation home? I don’t think so, because worldwide small romantic cottages and pretty private rentals for just the two of us are a firm favourite of the holiday maker. I’ve rented out holiday homes in the UK, Mexico and Turkey and it is always the smaller properties that produce the best return.

Couples don’t want to be rattling around in three or four bedroom villas, they perceive that they are paying for rooms they won’t use and they want something that fits them and their needs and just by looking at the numbers you can see that there is room in the market here. Think about what people want, find which bit of the market is underserved and ask yourself why and if you firmly believe, on reflection, that you can fill a need here then choose a property that fills it. Sometimes the majority aren’t right!

More flexibility, more rentals – if you think that it isn’t worth changing the bed linen for a one, two or three night rental you are wrong. You honestly can’t afford to restrict yourself to week long rentals where changeover day is Saturday, those days are gone and in the independent traveller market they were never there to begin with because people touring a huge country like Turkey are invariably fitting in several locations. Making money from rentals is about meeting traveller’s needs and you massively restrict your market if you insist on minimum rental periods.

People are fair (yes I still believe that) and they understand that shorter term rentals will cost more and these days many owners charge a cleaning fee on top of the rental so the duration of rental becomes irrelevant. I don’t charge a cleaning fee but that is a personal choice of mine and I understand that for many owners it allows them to be flexible in their minimum rental period and it is now as accepted as damage deposits.

Rental bedroom

You aren’t doing people a favour; they are doing you one – You need the right attitude and approach to run a successful rental. I am always enormously chuffed when people choose us because I know how much choice is out there. For my part I furnish my rental with the best I can afford because I want to give people a nice environment to stay it, they deserve it and they have paid for it. I don’t choose furniture and fittings because they are cheap and easily replaced, that strikes me as treating guests like second class citizens when it is actually the other way around and apart from that it is a false economy as cheap stuff doesn’t last, shows the wear and makes your rental look shabby.

You absolutely need to respond to every enquiry you receive with the same enthusiasm as you did the first one (years ago) and the only way to do that is to truly be pleased that people are considering you, that sort of attitude shows and it can’t be faked and if you don’t feel that way then you won’t make the most of your rental home.

Note: I have noticed that we seem to have much less wear and tear on our property than those who work to the beach holiday market. We don’t suffer from the sand invasions and sun tan oil stains that are the bane of the beach rental owner’s life and with the majority of rentals lasting only three or four days we are cleaning and checking the property more often than weekly rentals. Our guests are incredibly considerate of the studio, they tend to be mature, sensible, considerate people who are experienced travellers and I often find the studio as clean and tidy on departure as it was on the arrival day.

For us there is an added bonus in being a successful rental property because it’s not just about the money, it’s about the lifestyle and hosting people makes our lives here better. We get to meet interesting people with new perspectives on Turkey and they share their experiences and give us new ideas and their enthusiasm for this country keeps us motivated and reminds us we are lucky. We’ve had members of the Royal Shakespeare company come and stay, we’ve had musicians, designers, pilots (hugs to Graham, see you soon we hope!), we’ve had joyfully squabbling girls from India who cooked for us, we’ve had brilliant photographers who showed us familiar places in a new light, we’ve made friends with a lovely woman who runs a hotel in the foothills of the Himalayas and we’ve talked Discworld and Doctor Who with an Australian couple who are so bitten by the travel bug they are infectious. They make this fun and that is as much a part of success as the rental income flowing in.

If you want to own a property in Turkey that actually generates real rental income please check out our property for sale advert – Stone Village House With Proven Income For Sale in Kirazli, Kusadasi, Aydin Turkey