There are those who just dream and then there are those who do…
Who hasn’t been on holiday here in Abruzzo and thought (at least for one fleeting moment) ‘I could live here and maybe run a small business…’?
David and Pauline Brenner – being practical sorts – followed that dream and opened a vacation rental business in Abruzzo in 2009. But it wasn’t necessarily their first choice. They had 6 different European countries on their initial short-list, finally settled on Italy and then after viewing a total of 97 (yes…ninety-seven) different properties, made the decision to move lock, stock & barrel to Abruzzo and open Villas For 2.
They’ve now been in business for 8 years (longer than most here in Abruzzo) and have encountered, and then happily overcome, pretty much every obstacle. ‘There’s a book in that’! you might interject and you’re right – that’s exactly what David has done.
Earlier this year he published How to Set Up & Run a Successful Holiday Rental – Anywhere as both a paperback and an e-book available from Amazon.
Their business is based in Abruzzo but many of the rules of thumb apply anywhere, and not only in Italy.
David, a retired journalist and TV presenter from the UK, and his wife Pauline – a former IT trainer – used all of their collective skills and nouse to follow the project through from conception to delivery. A daunting task even at home, but in Italy where the bureaucracy is legendary, there are delays ad nauseum plus a language barrier, this can seem like a near-impossible feat. But deliver they did and they’ve made it a roaring success.
The book covers a fair bit of background info but then is neatly segmented into themed chapters and subsections covering everything you need to know before you embark on your adventure: getting started, finding your property, starting your business and then finally running your business.
David & Pauline run Villas for 2 as their full-time business. For them, it’s not a sideline to supplement other income, or a separate business activity, or a way to cover costs on a family holiday home. Nevertheless, many of the lessons learnt are common across all business models. There is something here for everyone – those who have already opened their rental business, those who are deeply involved in the realisation of their project and those who are still dreaming. Whatever stage you’re at it really helps to hear first-hand from ‘one of us’.
This book is a light read – there’s not much about laws or permits as those will vary from country to country and indeed in Italy from region to region – with a few amusing anecdotes and heaps of personal insight. There are also a few clues about tackling the less tangible or obvious issues involved with moving abroad, opening a business and indeed working alongside your spouse!
Whilst it’s hard to get any hard data (we’ve tried…) to illustrate the market-share of vacation rentals, as a business model and as an alternative holiday option, they are particularly attractive. Given the fact that Abruzzo is still a relatively untapped market, with a glut of available properties of all sizes and shapes, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone – whatever your own personal dream.
So, if you are thinking of investing in a property here in Abruzzo, or already have a home which you rent out to guests, why not pick up a copy of David’s book? We’re sure you’ll learn something valuable.
As an aside, for those of you who will be in Abruzzo at the end of July 2017, why not come along to a Q&A featuring David Brenner and his wife Pauline, hosted by us in Sulmona? You can meet the couple, listen to a couple of short presentations and ask any questions you may have about your business ideas.