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Be My Guest – Making a Second Income from Your Home

Be My Guest – Making a Second Income from Your Home


It’s only sensible to make the most of what you’ve got and this applies to our finances and capital as much as anything else. Most people will shop around for mortgages and ensure their investments work hard for them but could your home be an under-exploited resource?


We explore three ways to derive a second income from your home – very handy for topping up pension pots, paying school fees and warding off rainy days.



The Stills and Film Location Property Market


This recent Location Scotland stills shoot for Bloomingdales demonstrates a demand for grand Scottish properties.


How much: Between £500 and £1500 a day.


What it involves: letting your home on a daily/weekly basis for photoshoots and filming.


Letting your home as a location for stills and film shoots can be a lucrative business. Founded in 2006, Location Scotland provide location scouting and full production co-ordination for stills and TV shoots throughout Scotland.


Marie Owen from Location Scotland says there is a growing demand for all types of property: “We’re on the look out for everything and anything. One week a client may request a retro 70’s style pink bathroom while another client is looking for a grand estate, another week it might be a bright modern interior… all locations are welcome.”


There are a number of factors fuelling demand in the sector; a rise in the number of high profile movies filmed in Scotland, i.e. World War Z, Cloud Atlas, Filth and Sunshine on Leith, an increase in Scottish based TV shows such as Outlander and high fashion trends for Scottish heritage fabrics such as tweed and tartan.


High fashion trends at Tatler juxstaposed against the Scottish Landscape and traditional interiors.


Roughly 60% of the Location Scotland’s clients are international. In the past year their clients included Vanity Fair, Karl Lagerfeld, Tatler, GQ, Anthropologie, Mint Velvet, General Electric and Guinness. They also produce all stills and TV ad campaigns for The Bank of Scotland.


When letting your home you can expect about ten people in your house for a stills shoot, more for filming. Marie says Location Scotland always look after the location home as if it were their own home, “Our reputation means a great deal to us, and we have never let a location owner down.”


More Info: Send pictures of your property to You will then receive a Location Owner Guidebook and Location Scotland will endeavor to send a location scout to your property to take more professional shots if required.



Welcoming Guests to Your Home


Bramley House

The highly profitable Bramley Guest House near St. Andrews.


How much: £75-90 per night for a double room, seasonal occupancy


What it involves: A Bed & Breakfast is a property with up to 3 guest bedrooms. You decide when you want to take guests, seasonally or year round. Good maintenance is critical.


Karen and Steven Hunter, and their four children, have lived the B&B life for 13 years. When their children were young they operated a 7 room Guest House that allowed them both the flexibility and income to stay at home full-time. Over the years they’ve moved property to suit their circumstances using the additional income to cover school fees, holidays and university costs. Currently they both work full-time and maintain a highly profitable 3 -5 room Bed & Breakfast, Bramley House, near St Andrews.


Bramley House is stylish and welcoming, there are signs everywhere that this is a home rather than a hotel, the bookshelves are bursting with books that guests are encouraged to browse, the flowers are picked from the south facing gardens, the jams and lemon curd are homemade and there are chickens scratching out back providing home-laid eggs.


Karen defines the feel they strive to create, “We want guests to feel at home and we love getting to know them. It helps to be naturally sociable. Best case scenario it feels like we’ve always got friends to stay.”


Steven adds his take on juggling the B&B and family, “It’s a great lifestyle for families, the children have grown up meeting people from all the over the world, they’ve helped out from a young age and consequently have developed a strong work ethic and great confidence.”



More info: The Bed & Breakfast Association can provide information and advice on starting, or buying a Guest House.  Bramley House is offered for sale at £550,000 Fixed Price, Rollo Davidson McFarlane.


Convert your Shed into a Bijou Retreat


Kate Comins, converted her Potting Shed into a quirky and successful holiday rental.


How much: from £275 per week, for an average of 28 weeks per year.


What it involves: Convert a shed, garage, or outbuilding into a haven for paying guests. Renovation costs will vary. Good maintenance is critical.


According to Emma Crabtree, of luxury holiday letting company Crabtree & Crabtree, quirky, romantic retreats for couples have the highest occupancy of all the properties on her books.


Kate Comins, lives with her husband and two children in the Gardener’s Cottage on Cowdenknowes Estate near Earlston, and her decision to convert the Potting Shed at the bottom of their garden into a delightful rural hideaway has rewarded her with a very attractive return on her investment.  Kate placed her property with Crabtree and Crabtree and states, ‘It’s covered its cost in two years.’


Holiday Lettings company Crabtree & Crabtree says Guests can’t seem to get enough of small, characterful conversions like The Folly.


Emma Crabtree has several quirky boltholes on her books for couples seeking to get away from it all in a rustic setting. The Boat House and The Folly are examples of two more properties that paying guests can’t seem to get enough of. But Emma cautions that in order for a property to appeal to this lucrative market they must be beautifully styled and maintained to the highest standards


How much: From £500 per week, for an average of 18 weeks per year.


What it involves: Convert a shed, garage, or outbuilding into a haven for paying guests. Renovation costs will vary.


More Info: Contact Crabtree & Crabtree,, or 01573 226711. See also feature article in The Sunday Times Property.



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