If you have access to finance, now could be the best chance for a long time to become a buy to let investor. But how should you go about it?
So, those with access to cash are in a strong purchasing position, and while the market may have changed the basics remain largely the same. If you are planning to buy to let, ask yourself the following questions:
Will the location give you the best return for your money? In other words, compare all your costs - from mortgage, maintenance and insurance, to household bills against the rental yield.
Will the location be attractive to renters? Are there facilities nearby, such as transport links, shops, gyms and cinemas? Is there a teaching hospital, a university campus or a really good school down the road? All of these will attract people for different reasons - many of whom will need to rent.
You've found the right area, but is it suitable for the kind of people who live there? For instance, there's little point in investing in a family home if the homes in the area are mostly let out to singles, students or couples.
Buying a property that is already let should ensure instant income, assuming you can find a lender who will give you the money. You will need an assured shorthold tenancy agreement in this case, and should be very careful when apppointing a solicitor to check over the sitting tenancy agreement. Try to find out why the current owner is selling and talk to the tenant, too, to find out if there are any problems you don't know about.
If you are approaching a renovation with a mind to letting the property out afterwards, there are lots of factors to consider.
First, you need to think about what your future tenants will need in terms of facilities. Then you need to check that your plans will be passed by building regulations with letting in mind. Once that's done, you can weigh up whether the finances work.
Bear in mind that while it's worthwhile investing in very solid basics - a broken roof should be mended, an old boiler replaced, double glazing fitted if windows need replacing - there's really no point in over-doing the interior details. So, approach your renovation practically - put down washable flooring wherever you can, don't spend a fortune on light fittings and curtains, and buy a good-looking but inexpensive kitchen. Keep things low maintenance, too. Plant shrubs that need no more than a couple of trims a year and replace a lawn with decking in a small space to keep the garden looking neat.
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