Being a property owner on the Ile de Ré, your personal needs concerning the equipment of your house are not necessarily the same as those of your future tenants.
If for example you are an "anti-tv" kind of person because you believe it's better to spend your time on the Ile de Re at the beach rather than watching TV, that's your point of view and it probably won't be shared by your tenants. Only if you decide to rent your house, you have to put yourself in your tenants place so that your property meets their expectations. If we go back to the example of the TV, it's more likely that the number of people who wish to watch TV (even if it's only for 30 minutes a day) is superior to the number of people who don't want to watch it at all.
Another point that deserves thinking about is the importance of not confusing luxury and good basic equipment. I have seen properties for rental on the Ile de Ré that are luxurious but badly equipped, and vice versa properties that are more modest but very well equipped. If we refere ourselves to a "normal" tenant, we can say he won't be looking to spend a holiday drinking out of Baccarat cristal glasses or eating out of Wedgwood china plates. That is luxury. However, a "normal" tenant won't want to spend a holiday for a week with 6 people sharing 8 chipped plates and drinking out of 6 old mustard pots in lieu of glasses. What a "normal" tenant really wants is 12 wine glasses, non-chipped of course, no matter if they are made out of luxury china or if they simply come from the famous swedish brand that we all know. That is what we call a good level of equipment.
Equipping your house properly nowadays is easy and rather inexpensive. Interior design shops are full of products that are attractive, practical and not too expensive that will allow you to offer to your tenants a good level of equipment and comfort that they are fully entitled to expect.
Here is a check list that goes through each room (I didn't mention the equipment that obviously can't be avoided in a property for rental on the Ile de Ré such as a fridge, a TV, an oven or a washing-machine):
IN THE KITCHEN
IN THE LIVING ROOM
- a Nespresso coffee machine as well as an ordinary coffee machine. Having a few extra caps is much appreciated by the tenants
- a high chair. Go for the Antilop one from Ikea: cheap, easy to clean and to fold away.
- an electric kettle (essential for our English tenants' tea-time)
- a toaster
- an oister knife (essential on the Ile de Ré!!!)
- a blender
- an oven that sized depending on the capacity of the house
- if your house is equipped with a gas cooker, always have a gas bottle there too
- a micro-wave is always much appreciated by young mother to heat their baby's bottle
- kitchen utensils (pans, frying pans etc...) adapted to the number of tenants, clean and in good state. Every year, this equipment must be checked and renewed if necessary.
- dishes that are adapted to the number of tenants
- don't forget wine glasses. That doesn't mean cristal wine glasses, but when you are on holiday on the Ile de Ré you want to drink good wine in a nice wine glass.
- table mats and oven mitts
- a cupboard with basic things like olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, washing liquid, and a new sponge. However, never leave behind open packets of food or drinks.
- a folder that contains the instructions of the main devices: washing machine, dish washer, dryer, fridge...
- One or several sofas adapted to the number of tenants and the size of your house. If your property is meant for 8 people, a sofa with 3 seats is not big enough. You will need to complete it with some armchairs or another sofa.
- a TV adapted to the size of the room... Grandma's old square TV is not acceptable!
- International TV channels (such as CNN, Sky News, ITV, BBC News...)
- a DVD player. You can put away VHS players that take up too much space and aren't very useful...
- Internet access if essential. A large majority of clients will refuse to rent a house that isn't equipped with the internet. Here is some key advice for the wifi password. The initial wifi password of the Internet box is always too long and too complicated. I advice you to change it with a shorter password that will be easier to remember. It will be a time-saver for you and for your tenants.
- an iPod dock that will give a modern aspect to your property. You can put your old CD player away.
- a few blankets for the sofa... Evenings can be chilly on the Ile de Ré!
- a folder that contains instructions for the main electronic devices: TV, DVD player, iPod speakers, wifi password...
IN THE BATHROOMS
IN THE UTILITY ROOM
- hairdryer: at least one, maybe two if the house is big
- some small bins (1 per bathroom)
- clean toilet brushes (that you must check at least once a year
- a dryer is necessary if there isn't enough room elsewhere in your property to dry your linen. But even even if you have a dryer, a washing line is desirable to hang out your beach towels. If possible, put it under a shelter.
- a hoover (that works of course!) and with some new bags to put in it. If you can, buy one that wroks without a bag.
- a broom to sweep the floor with, a dust pan and brush
- an iron and an ironing board
IN THE BEDROOMS
IN THE GARDEN
(cf chapter The bedding: think scalability, comfort and cleanliness)
- at least one baby bed or a cot. Remember to have a matress cover for the cot to make it more comfortable
- clean and suitable pillows. Dirty pillows full of stains are not acceptable! Most clients will want two pillows (that means 4 pillows for a double bed). If you only have one per person, make sure you have a few spare ones somewhere in the house.
- clean duvets and adapted to the weather (nore too thick or too thin). Because of a matter of hygiene, duvets are preferable to blankets.
- Make sure you have a few extra blankets for young children or people who are sensible to the cold.
- If there aren't any shutters, the curtains must be thick enough to not get any daylight in the bedrooms
- an extra TV in at least one of the bedrooms (generally in the parents' room) is a plus point if your house is big
The equipment of the garden is a very important aspect. Our tenants are mainly city dwellers and come to the Ile de Ré to spend some time outdoors:
- remember the BBQ, preferably a coal one. Go for a high quality BBQ (Weber if possible), or make sure you are able to change other BBQs regularly.
- Sun loungers and chairs to lie down comfortably in the garden when the sun is out. Make sure you have enough... for example, if your house is for 6 people, at least 4 sun loungers are necessary. If your house has a swimming pool, sun loungers are compulsory!
Finally, I would like to finish by saying that it is necessary to have a cupboard (or a room) that the tenants can't access but that you can easily open (and that the agency can also open) that contains:
- a few extra basics like light bulbs, matress covers, batteries for the remote-controles, hoover bags...
- a few food basics that will prove you know how to take care of your tenants. These can be:
- coffee caps and tea bags
- salt, pepper, vinegar, sugar
- loo paper, kitchen roll
- bin bags
- washing up liquid