Urban Soul, Alum Chine Road


Every day many properties are sold or let under value either because the owner hasn’t optimised aesthetics and functionality or because the use of the property is unimaginative. The market is kind to the apartments that are well designed & thought out because many people just want to move into a lovely home without the hard work and they are willing to pay a premium for it. Short term lets work in a similar way and the advantage of having a well designed and well positioned apartment is that the price per night increases considerably as well as the occupancy rate.

The first few apartments we took on to manage we added the design and extra touches for our own benefit and in return we guaranteed the rent and bills paid. As we’ve grown the business we have learnt the VAT impacts of such a model and we have seen that owners unnecessarily lose out. Which is why we are now offering a design & management service as a percentage fee. The benefit to us is that we can grow easier (and therefore offer more value to more people) and the benefit to owners is the increase in income which is usually far beyond a standard letting/holiday let agency as well as increase in demand and sale value. The daily running of the business and the basic idea of managing guests/tenants isn’t really anything special in fact most of it can be automated but for us the magic is in the detail. The eye catching design, the added little touches and communication that goes beyond formality are the essential ingredients that turns a property into a remarkable product and service.


As our business grows so do the varying degrees of problems, the more we try and create value the harder it becomes to multiply. But this is how it should be, the only way it wouldn’t be is if we stopped trying to make what we offer better. We make mistakes, silly mistakes sometimes but the more we work with an open mind the more opportunity we are granted to become more specialised in the serviced apartment/corporate let industry. We aren’t where we want to be at the moment, we can still do more for our customers but we recognise this, we're aware we can do better and we have the fundamental understanding for how to do it.


Since the journey started in 2014 the contacts as well as the friends we have made, the experiences we have learnt and our growing humble attitude towards giving have been our most precious steps forward. One morning in the summer this year I remember we dropped off some fresh croissants for a guest staying at an apartment of ours just because we wanted too. It felt incredible and we were very grateful to afford to be able to be so generous for no reason. The demand as well as the income for some of our properties has certainly exceeded our initial expectations but money will always be secondary to relationships.


Long term lets are very common however if they are more specialised they can better suit tentants with a disposable income. They usually seek out places with high-end furnishings and the extra added perks such as a coffee machine/sky tv/fast broadband and so forth. How the property is marketed is also important such as targeting businesses who are looking for long term corporate accommodation.


This is one model we haven’t yet tried but we love the idea of creating a beautiful place for sharers to live who are not only paying to live in a well designed property but are paying for the service to find and manage tenants that would all enjoy living together. This kind of tenant matchmaking has started in London and is going rather well as its often overlooked how important it is to like who you live with.