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How Pebbles helped me turn my much-loved second home into successful holiday let

Having trusted Pebbles to look after her treasured South Devon second home for many years, when it came to making the move to letting it out for holiday makers, Sophie Cornish worked closely with Property Consultant Kim to make sure that it was done in a way that she was comfortable with.

What were you looking to achieve by letting your holiday home?

It was a combination of factors.  Firstly my husband Simon and I felt that we simply weren’t using it enough and it was a real shame for it to be empty when other people could have the chance to enjoy the house we love.  Secondly, we wanted to generate some revenue from the house in order to make sense of the overheads. 

However, the overriding principle for us was that we didn’t want it to change the way in which we used the house ourselves and how we experienced it.  I was really nervous of getting into arrangements with agents with high expectations and who wanted to make big changes that stopped it from feeling like my home.  I still wanted it to feel like ours and Kim really helped with that.

Why did you decide to work with Pebbles to make the move from private second home to holiday home?

It was something that Kim had mentioned once or twice, and it had really not occurred to me how much she could help with.  Had I realised then I think I would have made the decision sooner.  We had mentioned it a couple of times and, knowing the opportunity the property presented for us, she gently encouraged us; it was obvious that she had the experience to really help.  

When you talk to her you realise there’s nothing she hasn’t encountered; she thinks of everything and incredibly thorough.  It was obvious that working with her was the only way it was going to work for us.

What were the barriers to managing the process yourself?

The emotional involvement.  Although I didn’t want things to change in terms of my experience of the property, I knew there were things that needed to be done in order to make it right for other people to use, and I didn’t mind that, I just didn’t want to be too involved in that process.

Also, we live a long way from the house and so the sheer practicality of location also had an impact as well.  There were things to buy, some little bits of refurbishment to do and practicalities  like locks on doors and cupboards that needed to be added, as well as the fire safety report.  It all adds up and Kim did most of it for me, which was fantastic.

Where I did do things, like buy new items for the house, Kim arranged it so that I could have them sent to her at Pebbles, and then she took them to the house and got them set up - like building the high chair for example.  The fact that she could do all of that made the whole process so much easier.  

When we had meetings at the house to go through it all, I could walk away knowing what was happening but without a lot to do myself so I felt in control but never flooded with work.

Did you have your own ideas about letting agents?

I think I did but to an extent Kim changed my ideas for the better.  She’s not afraid to say what she thinks is the right thing to do, and in doing so she guided me and challenged my ideas to make my life easier.

What were the benefits of working with Pebbles? 

Kim was encouraging and positive about the whole process, and she took care of pretty much everything so we didn’t feel like anything had changed at the house, even though there were really a huge number of details that Kim organised to make it letting ready.  

It was clear she was very experienced, so everything I was worried about she had a solution for but in a way that never made me feel disrupted.  She also arranged to speak to the different agents for us, which was a massive plus as I felt a bit too attached to the house to deal with any changes they suggested, even though I recognised that some might be needed.  

Kim did a phenomenal amount of work talking to different letting agencies and then took us through everything that each of them had said, making recommendations accordingly.  She gave really good advice and we ended up going with an agent that I don’t think I would have considered before. It’s turned out to be brilliant for us because they really understood the house and why people would love it just as it is.

What were you particularly pleased with about the process?

The house is looking better than ever; the Pebbles refurbishment team did some building work, which they did beautifully.  It’s always stressful working with builders, but because I had Kim and Katherine Spencer, we were spared all the grief.  

I am really pleased with our decision to let the house; I feel like we’re in the right place with it.  We have quite a few bookings already but I am not flooded, which is what I wanted as it has allowed us to ease in, but it’s working and it’s paying off.  

More than anything I feel that even though I live four hours from the house I never have to worry about it because Kim and Pebbles are ahead of me.  They never give me problems; always solutions.  

Pebbles really makes you want to deal with their people - you never worry about picking up their call because you know whatever it is, they’ve got it covered.

They never give me problems; always solutions.  Pebbles really makes you want to deal with their people - you never worry about picking up their call because you know whatever it is, they’ve got it covered.
Sophie Cornish

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