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How to buy a BB

How to buy a B&B

Having sold their house to finance the acquisition, Christine Warbrick learnt how difficult reputations are to change

Christine Warbrick on raising finance to buy a B&B...

"We raised the finance by selling our house in Nottingham and we had a substantial amount left after we'd paid a small mortgage off, so we had a large deposit.

"To raise the rest of the money I found several of the building societies that I contacted, once I said what the business was and that I had 5 years accounts, they were only too willing to lend us the money. So we didn't really have a problem raising the money."

On the dangers of buying a B&B with a tarnished reputation...

"I had seen the B&B on The Hotel Inspector [TV show in which a celebrated hotelier visits a struggling British hotel and imparts advice to the owner], at the time [celebrated hotelier] Alex Polizzi wouldn't stay under the same roof at the previous owner."  

"At the time I thought 'what an idiot he is', so I remember it vaguely from then. When I said to my sister 'oh, there's a B&B for sale in Tewkesbury,' she said "that's the one that's been on The Hotel Inspector."

"I did think, naively, that it would be easy to get rid of the reputation, but it hasn't; it's been a lot of hard work."

"So I would say to anybody looking to buy a B&B: look into the seller's background, what people think about them locally, how they've dealt with people, because it can affect you - it can affect the way people perceive you. They think you're just the same."

"But we've worked at it and, fortunately, it's been quite successful. Unfortunately, it's still on the Living Channel from 2008!"

On other problems with the sale...

"When we got here stuff had gone missing - they'd taken it. He had already gone off to America. His wife lived in the cottage at the side of the bed and breakfast and was supposed to come in daily."

"She would say to me: 'I can't come in today, the chef can tell you how to do it.' She got up in the middle of the night and left us with the cat."

On what she would do differently were she to go through the sales process again...

"Ensure everything you have everything put into a contact, because you may think that the people you're buying the business from are the nicest people on earth but when it comes down to it, a lot of people aren't what they seem. It's like most things in life: you can plan it as well as you like but it doesn't mean it's going to go that way!"

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Paulyne Antoniou

About the author

Paulyne has devoted her educational life studying and working with film and media. After gaining a Diploma in Moving Image, Paulyne worked as an editor while simultaneously completing a part-time filmmaking course at the Metropolitan Film School.

@FranchiseSales_

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