Retired vet Anthony Holmes and his wife Caroline, a former teacher, bought the flat below their Edinburgh mews home a few years ago, to renovate and let as a means to supplement their retirement income. "I wanted to rent it out as a long-term let," Anthony explains, "but my wife wanted it to be available for friends and family when they came to visit, so Airbnb seemed the best alternative."
The couple originally considered managing the property themselves, but a trial run was enough to convince them of the stress and time-saving aspects of using Houst. "I was keen to manage the property myself," Caroline says, "but all I had to do was prepare the flat for guests and I discovered that I was taking a long time ironing and getting things ready, and not really doing a very good job of it all, so I quite quickly realised how impractical it was. Until you try to do everything yourself, you don’t realise quite how much time and effort it takes." Anthony adds; "Our lets are usually for two or three days, which means two and a half hours’ cleaning time every couple of days, plus all the laundry, it’s a big investment of time. Using Houst frees our time up, it takes the stress away and gives us peace of mind."
The couple will greet guests on arrival when possible, to offer reassurance that they are around if any questions arise. "If we aren’t here when guests arrive, I make a point of knocking on the door to say ‘hello’ at some point. It’s always interesting meeting the people who are staying - we’ve had people here from all over the world," Anthony explains. "Remarkably, we had somebody come to stay who turned out to be the daughter of a lady I was teaching with in a primary school in Botswana years ago," Caroline says. "Another time we had a veterinary student staying, who was originally from America, who stayed here so that she could have peace and quiet to study for her exams, so we had a lot of veterinary chat with her."
"We don’t impose ourselves on guests, but we always leave a message on the noticeboard to welcome them and say that we are upstairs if they need anything," Anthony explains. "We’ve actually had very few people having to get in touch with us, which is very reassuring. You spend a lot of money and effort doing up a property,’ Caroline says, ‘And then other people use it and by the time you get to use it, it’s a bit worn out and not as appealing. Whereas, using Houst, the deterioration has really not happened - the property has been very well looked after."
At Houst we aren’t allowed any favorite clients but Anthony and Caroline do have a special place in our hearts as Katie Pedri, a Client Success Team Lead in Edinburgh, explains; "I first met Anthony and Caroline at their home, before they'd signed up, to talk to them about the company. They needed some reassurance and had quite a few questions about the model we offer. The second time I met them was to onboard their home. It was Christmas time and they'd prepared a welcome festive wreath on the door with my name written on it, it was such a lovely gesture."
Katie elaborates on their relationship; "It's always a pleasure speaking with Anthony and Caroline. They really care about the guests and go above and beyond by meeting them during their stay. They've put a lot of effort into the property, ensuring guests have everything they might need. As a result they continuously receive 5 star reviews and guests rarely have any issues."
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