5 Tips for Buying a Self-Catering Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


If you’re sitting on a nest egg and are looking to invest, you’ve probably considered buying a self-catering holiday cottage. It’s a fantastic way of using your savings whilst the extra income can go towards a pension pot or to supplement your current income.

Sally’s Cottages, the leading independent holiday cottage letting agency in the Lake District and Cumbria, shares 5 tips for buying your first self-catering property.

1. Location, location, location

The Lake District has a huge range of beautiful areas, and almost all of them are popular with tourists. However, there are certain places where you’re almost guaranteed year-round bookings, such as Keswick and Bowness-on-Windermere. Of course, because of this, houses are at a premium, so you will be spending more on the outset. If properties in your price range are in quieter areas, bookings will come in more slowly, but you won’t have such a large expense at the outset. 

2. Cost

A holiday cottage is an ongoing commitment and you should take plenty of time deciding on a budget that is suitable to you. You want to buy the best property you can afford without overstretching your savings. Remember that, once you’ve bought something, you will need to furnish it and perhaps do some decorative or structural work. It’s also important to consider ongoing costs such as cleaning charges, décor refreshes, management fees, gas and electricity, taxes, and so on. Do your research and make a comprehensive budget.

3. Marketing

Without some marketing, you won’t get any guests! Consider whether you have the time (and advertising budget) to market the property yourself or whether you would like to sign up with an agency. You should also think about the type of guests you want to attract. Are you providing budget accommodation for a family or a luxury pad for a couple? Is your property in the heart of the countryside or close to all the action in the centre of a town? Knowing this information will help you find the right guests who will love your property, tell their friends, and return again and again.

4. Utilities

In remote areas of the Lake District particularly, consider how you get your utilities. Whilst the main towns and larger villages may be supplied with mains gas, electricity, and water, other areas will be less ‘connected’. This can sometimes lead to higher running costs and may require regular maintenance. For example, septic tanks may need to be emptied or private water supplies will need monitored and treated. Check before buying a property so that you know what to expect.

5. Décor, furnishings and facilities

Is the property you’re buying a current holiday let that is good to go? Or do you need to do some work on it before you can begin welcoming guests? Everybody has their own tastes when it comes to style and décor, but in general you want comfortable and well-maintained furniture, uncluttered spaces, and fresh décor. Don’t try and squeeze in as many guests as possible, just because you can, but think realistically in terms of bathroom space, kitchen size and available seating. The more comfortable guests feel, the likelier they will say good things and return to your property!

If investing in a Lake District or Cumbrian holiday property is for you, or you would like to find out more, please feel free to get in touch with Olivia or Mike at Sally’s Cottages on 017687 80571 or newcottages@sallyscottages.co.uk. Our office is open from 8.30am to 9.00pm, 7 days a week.