Prepare your property for paying guests.jpg

Prepare your property for paying guests

SUNNY ALGARVE – the ideal holiday destination. You may have purchased a home in Portugal and are considering renting it to holidaymakers. With careful planning and consideration for your future guests, you could be on the way to a good source of income from your investment. This article aims to offer you guidance for preparing the property for the rental market.


Make it comfortable. Furnish the home with good quality, sturdy furniture and equipment that can be easily cleaned. Do not use delicate, high-maintenance items or anything that would cause you to be upset if it was broken. The rental rates you can charge will reflect the standard of your furnishings and equipment, so spend accordingly.


The kitchen must be fully equipped. A dishwasher is essential as no one wants to spend their holiday washing dishes. All appliances should be in good working order and serviced yearly. I would also suggest leaving clear instructions, in English and German, on how to use each appliance, thus preventing accidental damage.

Cutlery, glasses and china – you should provide at least twice the amount required for the maximum number of people the property accommodates, to allow for spares when in the dishwasher, and the inevitable breakages.


Bed bases, mattresses and sofa beds must be good quality and comfortable. Do not skimp on mattresses, as a poor night’s sleep will be remembered! This cannot be stressed enough, especially if repeat business is your aim. It is important to confirm mattresses are flame resistant, and it is well worth to invest in several changes of mattress protectors for each bed.

Linens – provide at least three sets of linen for every bed, as this allows for one on the bed, one in the laundry, and the other in the cupboard ready for the change. White is the recommended colour for bed linen, as it can be washed on a very hot wash, or bleached. White linen can be mixed in any of the bedrooms to cope with demand, plus new items will always match existing ones, and white always gives the sensation of fresh and clean. Polycotton is an advisable option for rental properties, as it is easy to maintain and very durable.

Remember to fold extra blankets and leave additional pillows in the wardrobes. It’s nice to offer plenty of pillows, as some people have physical conditions (shoulder problems, for example) that require extra support. Dacron or micro fibre pillows are always better for rental properties, as some people have allergies (no feathers!). Remember the pillow protectors.

In addition to a mirror in the bathroom, it’s always nice to have a mirror in the bedroom, and preferably a full-length one.

Bedside tables need to be large enough for a book, water glass, glasses and a lamp. Provide good-quality lighting within reach of the bed.

Storage – ample storage and hanging space with good quality hangers is a must.


Bathrooms MUST be spotless. Fewer things have greater impact on guests. Ensure a good supply of bath sheets and hand towels. Again, white is the colour for all your towels. It’s worth buying good-quality towels for your rental home – they last longer and make a good impression.

Ideally, you should name all linen and towel items to prevent them from being lost or mixed up at the laundry.

Extras – little baskets including a washcloth and some soap or bath salts are very appreciated goodies. It is not necessary to spend a fortune; it is simply the gesture that counts!


Flooring should be hardwearing and low maintenance. Tile floors in main living areas are ideal. However, keep safety uppermost in mind: put rug pads or non-skid adhesives under rugs. Tiled floors can be slippery when wet – choose a tile surface that provides a bit of traction. Also, place durable mats, or a hose for washing off mud and sand, in close proximity to entrances.

Little extras

Incidental items such as a selection of books, magazines and flowers (you can get very nice artificial ones these days) can make the property feel more like a home than a hotel room, but try not to clutter the rooms. Keep it simple yet functional, and leave room for the guests’ personal belongings too.

Allocate a storage area or cupboard where you can store your own personal items, sentimental objects or valuables, and keep it locked.

Do not display pictures of you or your family. Guests prefer to feel as if the home they are renting is their own private space – not like they are actually staying in someone else’s home.

You may consider providing guests with a safe to store their valuables.

Information packs and

inventory list

Your guests will appreciate an up-to-date guest information pack with names and directions to your recommended restaurants, shops, events and nightlife. Provide a map of the area and circle/highlight them if possible. It is also a must to leave important telephone numbers such as the local GNR station, emergency numbers, and also an English or German-speaking doctor. This will inevitably make your guests feel more relaxed and cared for.    

Also, place a copy of the inventory list in the pack – this document should list all of the furniture and equipment items in the property, and it is important to keep it up-to-date for insurance purposes.

And finally, the most important thing by far is that your property is spotlessly, beautifully clean. Every surface shining, every spot and cobweb banished. Nothing is more off-putting than someone else’s dirt.

I hope that with these tips you impress your paying guests so much that they will return year after year.

Happy renting!