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Invest for success: how to create the perfect holiday house

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Before you purchase the perfect holiday house and plan to lease it, ask yourself where should you buy, and what will it look like?

Location, location, location

When buying a property with leasing in mind, location is key.

Researching specific regions where short-term leasing is popular, i.e. beach suburbs or metro areas, can be a good guide to where you can reap the most rewards.

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In NSW, the wine region of Cessnock has one of the highest returns for a short-term lease agreement with the average property charging $471 per night during low season, and up to $517 at peak times.

On the Central Coast, where holiday makers are spoiled with spectacular beaches, top surf conditions and local attractions, the average property reaps $572 per night in high season.

Simply styling

Once you get the location right, the next step is making sure the property looks the part.

While expensive additions, such as a pool, will no doubt add value, you don't have to spend a lot of money upfront to get your house holiday-lease ready.

Sydney-based interior designer and stylist Lisa Koehler says the first place to start is to pick a concept and go with it.

"Don't try and make the property something it's not," says Koehler. "Use the home's location - such as the beach - or the architectural style, as your inspiration."

Remember you're styling the home to lease, not to live in, so leave your eclectic taste at the door and stay neutral.

"If you really love a lot of colour then choose one really playful piece of artwork that can be a focal point, but keep everything else neutral," she adds.

Starting from scratch and investing in new cutlery, glassware and furniture also helps to create the right impression.

"Mismatched items feel cheap and thrown together," says Koehler. Same goes for linens, pillows and towels.

"Some of the most important items are those you can't see, but how you experience them," she says. "A bad night's sleep can affect the whole holiday. If guests are comfortable, they're more likely to come back."

Other small luxuries that help make guests feel special might be blackout blinds - who doesn't like an afternoon nap on holiday? - free wi-fi and a Bluetooth speaker.

And the most important thing?

"The property has to feel, smell and look clean," says Koehler. "No one wants to have to clean a glass before they use it."

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Top tips for styling success

Aside from cleanliness - which is a must - comfort is everything, so investing in high quality pillows, sheets and towels will ensure guests sleep well and feel good.

Avoid overly perfumed candles or air fresheners and opt for subtle or fragrance-free varieties.

A personalised welcome basket, filled with local produce, wine and some information on the area will help guests feel at home in the local community.

The case for investment

Investing money to increase income isn't exactly a new concept. From stocks and shares, to art and antiques, investing in smart assets allows you to see your wealth grow with very little effort on your part.

Leasing a property you own as a short-term holiday home has become one way for property owners to get ahead.

There are of course considerations such as taxes (and tax deductions) on holiday houses, as well as regular maintenance costs, and you're encouraged to speak to a financial adviser to know more about what you can achieve.

If executed properly, a holiday property can be a double win. Buy right, and you have a great investment. Buy right, then lease the property out, and you get a higher return on the same asset.

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