How To Turn Your Home Into a Guesthouse

Running a guesthouse can be rewarding and fun, not to mention a great way to make money from your property without having to sell it.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that running a guesthouse is a big commitment, and there are rules to follow and standards to meet.

Here are just some of the things you need to consider if you’re thinking of turning your home into a guesthouse.

Starting a guesthouse business

What do I need to legally open a guesthouse?

Before you can open your guesthouse, you’ll need to acquire the relevant permissions, so your first step should be to contact your local council to see what is legally required.

If you’ll be carrying out building work on the property, you may need to apply for planning permission. Regulations change frequently and vary depending on where your property is located, so be sure to check in with your local planning office.

Even if you aren’t making any structural changes to the property, you might need to complete a change of use application before you can open your home as a guesthouse. Again, ensure you check these details with your local council.

You’ll also need to comply with fire and gas safety legislations, as well as food standards if you’re planning on serving any meals on the premises.  Find out more by contacting your local environmental health department.

Finally, make sure you contact your mortgage provider and insurer. You may need to update your policy and will need to switch your existing mortgage to a commercial mortgage.

Fit out the rooms in the guesthouse

Once all the relevant permissions are in place, you’ll need to ensure that your property is up to the job of hosting visitors. That means properly furnished bedrooms with facilities including WiFi, TVs, storage space, and tea and coffee making facilities. Today, most guests will also expect their room to come with an en suite bathroom.

If you’re offering breakfast or other meals at your guesthouse, you’ll need a dining room where your guests can comfortably enjoy their meals.

Finishing touches such as bathrobes, slippers, and washing products can go a long way to ensuring your guests have a memorable experience.

How to market your guesthouse

If you want to promote your guesthouse effectively, a good website is essential – make sure it’s responsive on all devices, appealing, and optimised for search engines such as Google. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are also useful ways to market your guesthouse successfully.

Running your guesthouse

Running a guesthouse can be immensely enjoyable and rewarding, but you’ll also come up against several challenges.

One thing to always keep in mind is that this isn’t just a hobby, you’re running a business and it’s important to approach every aspect of your guesthouse with a business mind to ensure that it is a success.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have fun! Part of the attraction of running a guesthouse is the interaction with guests, building lasting friendships and ensuring visitors get the most out of their stay.

Running a guesthouse is flexible – you can choose when you want people to stay and when you’d rather have the space to yourself. But it’s important to set boundaries if you want to avoid working 24/7 and burning out. Have house policies in place, including setting out the times breakfast will be available and when reception service will be provided.

Get in touch

If you’re thinking of turning your home into a guesthouse, get in touch. We can help you find the most effective way to re-finance or release capital to launch your guesthouse.

Spotlight on Devon and Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall remain some of the most popular holiday destinations in the UK, offering some of the best coastline, countryside and varied towns and cities in the country.

Here we highlight below some great and varied places to stay in the region, all of which also just happen to have benefited from the expert advice of our specialist hospitality finance advice team at Stewart Hindley and Partners to put them on the road to success.


  • Torquay – famous for being the largest town on the “English Riviera” and a popular choice for thousands of visitors to Devon.

Blenheim House B&B in Torquay has everything proprietors Lee and Elaine Ratcliffe were looking for – a good location close to the seafront and train station and accommodation which had  just been recently refurbished (so wouldn’t need a lot of money spending on it) and a manageable 5 guest rooms.

From the start of their search they were in touch with us at Stewart Hindley & Partners and we were able to provide them with a judgement on whether their B&B finance application would be successful or not.  It was a pleasure to work with Lee & Elaine and to see their hopes and dreams come to fruition, they are now welcoming guests and starting to build the trade to its max.

  • Exeter – The Exeter Townhouse is a lovely boutique B&B is set in a quiet corner of Exeter city centre yet just a few minutes stroll from the Cathedral, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, the Quayside, shopping centres, restaurants, university and train stations.

The Grade II Listed property has been brought up to date with period and contemporary features offering 9 stylishly decorated rooms.  They were awarded a Certificate of Excellence by Trip Advisor in 2016 and 2017 and a 5 star rating from the Food Standards Agency – the highest possible food hygiene rating in the UK.

Guesthouse finance for The Exeter Townhouse was secured through us at Stewart Hindley & Partners.


  • Bude – Wyvern House Bed and Breakfast is located in the popular Cornish town of Bude and

is just a few minutes walk from the beach and town centre.  The property has 6 en-suite bedrooms and spread over 3 floors and has proved an ideal location for our clients, Paula & James, to set up their new bed and breakfast.

Paula & James had owned and operated a bed and breakfast business so had plenty of experience on which to build their new venture in Bude.  Having found their perfect property they soon realised the benefits of using a specialist finance broker to source the necessary funds to purchase it.  Having contacted us at Stewart Hindley & Partners we worked with them to secure the best B&B finance deal available to them and took them step by step through each stage.

Paula and James are now welcoming guests to Wyvern House and enjoying life in Cornwall. More info at

  • Looe

Penvith Barns has a 4 star rating on Trip Advisor, offering beautiful accommodation just outside Looe with access to lovely walks including the South West Coastal Path to Looe and Seaton Beach.  Guests can come and as they please and relax in the tranquil surroundings with views over superb countryside.  It’s also close to some of Cornwall’s best beaches and makes a great base for exploring Cornwall’s Attractions.

We are proud to have offered the B&B finance to put Penvith Barns on the map.

f you are looking to start up, or purchase an existing hospitality business, wherever that may be, then why not contact our friendly team of specialist advisors now for advice and information on the best hospitality finance packages available today.

How About A B&B In Skipton Or The Yorkshire Dales?

Once again, the Yorkshire Dales confirms its enduring appeal, with Skipton being newly  crowned the most desirable area in the country by The Sunday Times’s 101 Best Places to Live in Britain.

The Sunday Times judges put it in top spot for its ideal combination of low crime rates, “top class” schools, great transport links, “buzzing” high street, pretty and reasonably priced property and beautiful surrounding countryside.

“Skipton is a worthy winner,” said Sunday Times home editor Helen Davies. “We love it for its big-hearted, buzzy life.”

Second in the list was Newnham, a district of Cambridge, with Monmouth, third and Falmouth, fourth.

Each place was selected for offering the best quality of life to the widest number of people and combining desirable features such as a positive community spirit, good local shops, services and attractive outdoor spaces.

Locals proud

According to local paper, The Craven Herald:

  • Skipton MP Julian Smith said he was over the moon: “The judges described all the attributes we know Skipton has, whether it is access to the Dales, quality of its schooling or its high street. I am a very proud local MP.”

“It’s in the heart of Yorkshire and it’s the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales. It’s strong on tradition and it has a really excellent education system.

  • Councillor Chris Harbron, leader of Skipton Town Council, said: “This is a fantastic result for the town and is all the more valuable in that it is an independent survey based on a combination of hard data and research.

“It’s no accident that Skipton performs so well. It is a combination of the hard work of so many organisations – councils, schools, police and emergency services, shops and businesses, community groups and their support networks – they all come together to make Skipton what it is. I’m very proud to work and live in the town. We should sing this from the rooftops.”

  • Leader of Craven District Council, Coun Chris Knowles Fitton, said: “This accolade will further boost the area as a great place to live, work and visit and we shall all continue to work hard to maintain and enhance the town’s growing reputation.”

Where is your b&b? 

Yorkshire has more Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else in the country (apart from London), beautiful and varied countryside and grand old cities, making it a great place to run a b&b or guesthouse.

If you are looking at starting a bed and breakfast, or building up an existing guesthouse business; wherever it is, we can help.  At Stewart Hindley and Partners, we understand the hospitality business through and through.

We are long-established specialists in securing bed and breakfast and guesthouse mortgages.  Our experienced team will be able to offer you friendly and informative advice to help you get the best rates and business support.

Browse our site for case histories and more information about the process involved in securing b&b finance or call us now to speak to our team of experts.

Top tips to keep a family guesthouse business running smoothly

Many guesthouse businesses are run by partners and families, which means family conflicts can often arise. So, we have put together some useful tips, or guidelines, to help you avoid the most common family business blunders:
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The best B&B courses available for prospective owners

If you’ve dreamed of owning your own bed and breakfast or guest house for a while, you’ve no doubt read many wonderful books, blogs and guides on how to make it happen. However, you still haven’t taken that first step yet – perhaps your confidence is holding you back, or maybe you have questions you need answering.
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Britain’s favourite seaside destinations

Whether rain or shine, we love the seaside and in the UK, we’re fortunate to possess some real gems; the kinds of charming, stunning and exciting spots that attract scores of holidaymakers to B&Bs and guest houses by the coast.

We asked you what your favourite British seaside destinations were and here are your answers:

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12 places in the UK which will make you feel you are abroad

British staycations are on the rise, not purely for Brexit or financial reasons, either – many of us are (re)discovering the UK’s incredible landscape, beautiful beaches and exciting cities. Hence it could be a good time to go into the B&B, guesthouse or hotel business.
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9 questions to ask when buying a Bed & Breakfast or guest house

With news that increasing numbers of Brits are planning a staycation this year – especially in light of the potential price hikes that Brexit might unleash on foreign travel – those in the UK’s hospitality sector may experience some unexpected good fortune. It’s not a bad time, therefore, to get into the industry yourself.

If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve probably been toying with the idea for a while; still deciding when might be the right time to take the plunge. Perhaps you’ve even got your eye on a property already. As experts in Bed & Breakfast Finance, we always advise our clients to do thorough research and with that in mind, here’s our list of things you should consider when buying a B&B or guest house.

1) Is it in a good location?

Arguably the single most important factor, location has a strong bearing on your chances of success. When choosing it, you should determine whether you are looking for a business that will be busy year-round or only in peak seasons, and choose accordingly. For a consistent income, you’re best-advised to pick an area that’ll be popular come rain or shine; one that boasts sights and activities that could attract visitors in both heatwaves and snow storms.

2) What type of guests stay there?

Though this may not influence anything more than your décor or menu choices, it’s a good idea to understand your target audience so that you can take steps to continue to attract the right people. Find out who the business appeals to at the moment, as running a guest house for young families will be quite different to one which is patronised by retired couples.

3) Why are they selling?

There’ll be a reason why the current owners want to sell. It might be that they wish to retire or have a personal reason for moving on. Or it could be that the place is a millstone around their neck. Make sure you know what this reason is if you want to save your neck.

4) How do the room rates compare?

What to charge can be a big dilemma, and it depends on several factors: the amenities on offer, location, competition. Establish how the current rates compare by drawing up a list of all the B&Bs, guest houses and hotels in the area. Where might your revamped business realistically fit in the ‘hierarchy’ of accommodation? Would those rates be sufficient?

5) How big is the B&B or guest house?

Size is a big deal in the hospitality game and it should be high on your list of considerations. Is the property of a manageable size? Will you be able to operate with X rooms without help or will a larger place necessitate more staff – and therefore eat into your earnings?

b&b6) Does it have a good reputation?

It’s possible to turn some concerns around when under new management – especially if you make some significant changes – but ideally, you want your property to be well-regarded. To find out what people think, search for any existing reviews on sites such as Trip Advisor, Rooms Booked, Late Rooms, etc. That should give you a clearer picture of the job in hand.

7) How much work needs to be done?

Ensure you know whether the business requires any refurbishment or remodelling, so you can build this into your plans – both financially and time-wise. When you buy a B&B, a commercial survey is undertaken which will assess the value of the business.  If there are obvious structural problems, the surveyor may point them out and recommend a buildings survey be undertaken.  A commercial survey will not specifically look at the structural condition of the building.

8) Are there opportunities for growth?

While you may not be thinking about growth right now, it’s helpful to know whether there are opportunities to grow the trade in the future. For instance, is there room and/or planning permission for an extension? Are there any restrictions placed on the property or area that might prevent expansion? Are there spaces that could be converted into a tea lounge or bar, to attract passing trade?

9) What is your USP?

If the property is in a popular area, you need to work out what’s different about the B&B – or what could be if you took over – that will then make you stand out from the competition. You need to define your unique selling point and capitalise on it.

When you’ve made up your mind and found the property of your dreams, then the fun really starts. You could create a business and a lifestyle which far surpasses your expectations and brings you endless joy. We can help you get there with our B&B and guest house mortgage options.

Contact us on 0845 272 400 or via our online enquiry form to discuss making your dreams a reality.



Advice for buying a B&B or Guest House that isn’t making money

There comes a time when owners of a B&B or Guest House decide they want to retire or just change direction. This is often a decision that is taken over a couple of years, during which time they trade their business on a limited basis and to suit their lifestyle requirements. Consequently, it may not make as much money as it used to. Whilst this might suit the owners, it makes getting a commercial mortgage more challenging for potential buyers. Challenging, but not impossible.


How do B&B lenders decide how much to lend?

Lenders require the last three years of a commercial hospitality business’s trading accounts, so they can see how it has been operated and how profitable it is. If the business has not been traded to its full potential, the lender will view it as being a marginal or non-profitable concern.

Whilst the lender may understand the reasons for the B&B or Guest House’s decline in trade, there is no guarantee for them that you, as a new operator, can improve it – regardless of your business plan.  As a result, lenders examine the last three years’ trading accounts for a steer on trading profit when assessing the mortgage they can offer, in order to minimise their risk and exposure. What they lend will be a reflection of this.



What can you do?

Some lenders, although not all, will take into account a second income from one of the applicants.  This means that if one of them has a job which can practically be continued whilst the trade is built up, that income can be taken into consideration. This, in turn, helps with the debt service cover.

Obviously, once the business has improved and can sustain the loan repayments on its own, a second income will not be necessary and both parties can work in the B&B or Guest House.  Positioning of the loan application becomes even more important and at Stewart Hindley & Partners we have the experience and ability to work with you to get the deal across the line and you into your exciting new lifestyle.


Talk to Stewart Hindley & Partners about B&B or Guest House mortgages

If you find a business you want to buy and the turnover or profitability doesn’t look great, even if it’s making a loss, don’t immediately discount it.  We are more than happy to look at the accounts for you and to see if we can raise a mortgage to help with your purchase.  Get in touch and we can discuss your options.



Thinking of selling your B&B or Guest House business and retiring?

One of the reasons so many people buy a B&B or guesthouse is so they can use it as a nice way to earn an income as they start to wind down and think about retirement. It’s a wonderful lifestyle, for sure, but if you are a business owner who’s thinking about retiring from the hospitality trade, you must make sure you do it the right way.

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