by Dominique Lavigueur and Robert Chiasson
Shopping for a property in which to start up a B&B need not be a burdensome ordeal if you start by defining exactly what you want to do with your establishment. Is your goal to operate a lucrative, full-time business or to welcome guests on a part-time basis? What type of traveler would you like to cater to? How important is your B&B’s location or its architectural style? How much can you realistically afford to spend for a property and maintain a cash reserve for the three years it will likely take for your B&B to become profitable?
Next, retain the services of a real estate agent who has a proven track record in selling inns and B&B’s. His value lies in the fact that he can quickly find the properties that fall within the parameters you set out for him. More importantly, he can assist you with the many crucial aspects related to acquiring a lodging business: property valuation, building inspection, sources of financing, etc. To find a reputable agent, a good place to start is at The B&B and Country Inn MarketPlace.
Then, do your homework. Check facts for accuracy and completeness, make sure the numbers add up and seek the opinion of people you trust. Ideally, you should conduct a market survey and draft a business plan. An invaluable source of help in this area is a B&B consultant who knows exactly where to find the right information and can pinpoint potential problems. For example, it is often wrongly assumed that, because there is a B&B nearby, obtaining a B&B operating permit for the home under consideration will be a mere formality.
In some areas, a residence having three or more floors in height, when converted into a B&B, will be subject to stricter fire safety requirements than a property having fewer floors.
Ultimately, the responsibility for making the right purchase decision rests with you but, at least, by drawing on the knowledge of B&B specialists, the process is made easier and you reduce the risk implied by the expression caveat emptor or “let the buyer beware.”
Dominique Lavigueur and Robert Chiasson are award-winning hosts of Moka & Pyjama B&B in the Charlevoix region of Quebec. They also teach, write and speak about the many facets of operating a B&B to audiences across North America and, in their capacity as consultants, they provide a wide range of B&B-related services to government officials, reporters and individuals. They can be reached toll free at 866-863-6060 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please address article comments to: Claude or Mariette Gagne ~ The B&B and Country Inn MarketPlace
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